A Short Film About Killing

1988 [POLISH]

Crime / Drama

IMDb Rating 8.1 10 16845

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 12, 2020 at 05:36 AM


720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
789.67 MB
Polish 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 26 min
P/S 5 / 24
1.43 GB
Polish 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 26 min
P/S 6 / 31

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by jameskinsman 10 / 10

One of the best films of the last 20 years

A Short Film About Killing is Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski's feature length adaptation of the hour long piece belonging to the Dekalog series, a collection of modern representations of the ten commandments set in a socio-realist Warsaw in Poland. This film, 'thou shalt not kill', is a film essentially about two separate 'murders'. Jacek, a young adolescent, kills an innocent taxi driver in a seemingly motiveless crime for which he is tried and executed at the hands of the state.

Inherently simple in terms of its plot, A Short Film About Killing is a complex indictment on all forms of killing, whether in the form of an act of brutal murder, or an organised and legal murder wrapped in the arms of the law. Kieslowski, clearly inspired by the human-issues documentary movement in the 70's, has presented the film as a bleak and depressing reality. Filmed on location, the run down post-cold war communist Warsaw in Poland provides a cold and melancholic back drop to the film. The documentary feel of the film is intensified by the way it is filmed, with no tracking or dolly shots, just an observing camera placing us, the undiscerning viewer right in the thick of it. This can make the affect of the scenes in the film somewhat sickening at times, however it was clearly intended by Kieslowski, who wanted to show how disgusting murder is. The subtle green filter used on the camera, gives the celluloid a dreary appearance, pertaining to the bleak mood of the film. This minimalistic photography allows us to focus on the detailed reactions and actions of the characters in the film, which come to a horrifying climax during both murder sequences, probably two of the most superbly executed murder sequences ever committed to film.

Kieslowski doesn't try to explain Jacek's murder because he clearly wants to avoid condoning it with motives that might make the audience feel sorry for him. Instead, Kieslowski simply presents Jacek's execution as a counterpoint to the murder of the taxi driver, thus forcing us to compare the the horrific nature of both acts, revealing the crux of the film. The first murder in the back of the taxi is with out a doubt horrific, but the execution is just as unforgivable, illustrating that although legal, capital punishment is devoid of humanity and veracity, in all the same ways as cold blooded murder itself. It is a brilliant illustration of the failings and contradictory nature of capital punishment, which replicate the actions of a murderer instead of upholding justice.

It was clearly the intention of Kieslowski to underline this in his film. He believed, like many others, that capital punishment has no place in the 20th century. I wouldn't be surprised if many who start this film as pro capital punishment, end up strongly against it by the time the credits roll. If this sounds too presumptuous, then consider the fact that A Short Film About Killing led to the suspension of capital Punishment in Poland. This surely proves the power of the film.

Reviewed by two-rivers 10 / 10

Three killings and one derailment

Twenty-year-old Jacek is roaming about in the grey dreariness of the Warsaw City Center. The only impulse that drives him is destructiveness, but his actions are aimless and accidental: He finds a stone on a bridge, pushes it forward so that it falls down and smashes the windscreen of one of the passing cars. He shoves a posh-looking young man into a urinal without any word of explanation. And he pulls out of his pocket that long cord and keeps fiddling around with it, until he finally commits the murder he planned: the senseless killing of a cab driver completely unknown to him, a man who just had the bad luck of taking him and not one of the other passengers who were waiting at the taxi rank.

Explanations will only follow very much later, after Jacek is sentenced to be hanged. But even in the first part of the movie the audience may find some hints which make them stop short in their condemnation of Jacek's actions. There is, for instance, the scene in the photographic shop, when he takes out an old and slightly damaged first Communion photo of a little girl and asks for an enlargement. Can you tell from a picture if a person that is on it is still alive? Such a question seems abnormal to the shop assistant. But only a little while later Jacek proves that he is perfectly capable of normal human reactions, when he merrily starts visual contact with two little girls he can see from a cafeteria.

However, we also notice the spatial distance produced by the thick window pane of the cafeteria, in which lonely Jacek consumes his piece of cake. A direct communication does no longer seem possible. He became estranged from the human beings that surround him when an awful thing happened in his life, five years ago, a fatal incident that he finally reveals to his defence counsel, just a few moments before his execution: After a booze-up he went inside a tractor, driven by a pal; there was that little girl right at the side of the road, Jacek's twelve-year-old sister; the pal failed to see her and knocked her down.

Jacek never got over this senselessly caused death of a beloved sister, and therefore this accident may be seen as the origin of Jacek's embitterment. Like a train that is derailed by an unexpected obstacle, Jacek's life got thrown off the track. The equally senseless death of the cab driver is just a logical consequence resulting from the preceding accident. And the causal chain reaction does even go further. For Jacek's death by hanging in the end is nothing more than a consistent continuation of a disastrous move of fate committed at some point of the past.

Reviewed by the_crock 10 / 10

Dark doesn't mean ugly...

I am sure this is not the most depressing film ever made, I am sure that somewhere, some time, some one has made a more distressing and emotionally powerful look at humans in all there glory. I'm sure people have endeavoured to make a film that makes a city (in this case Warsaw) look bleaker and darker. And I'm sure that this isn't the most painful spiral downhill voyage any character has ever made on celluloid. I'm also sure that this movie is the darkest movie on every level I have ever seen.

The director uses dark filters at time to make this movie almost black, but all that is does is replicate the feel of the material. Which was essentially an anti capital punishment movie. We follow a young man's trip to the dark side, troubled by an unnamed past this movie is a lot like The Machinist or Requiem for A Dream, we can see this man faltering and we feel helpless. The movie is compelling the same way a car wreck is.

You shouldn't be able to watch a movie this black, from the start with a cat in a terrible position to the end with a human in a terrible position, this is only a film that could have been made in Europe. Humans are painted in a despicable way, but it's the city of Warsaw that looks like it's about to grab you at any moment.

This is a very visual way of telling a story, words are almost not necessary throughout the whole film, except a brilliant conversation between lawyer and client. And another brilliant thing about this movie is there is not a "the capital punishment law is wrong" speech by a lawyer to be seen, the movie tells you what it wants you to know without a lawyer ramming in down your throat.

Subtle is best. And in this case a picture does tell a thousand words.

This is a slow burning painfully beautiful look at killing, and if you can sit through its 80 minutes of bleakness, you may never forget its imagery.

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