Essential Killing

Film, Drama
4 out of 5 stars
Essential Killing

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars
Maintaining the quality of 2008’s sadly unreleased ‘Four Nights with Anna’ –  which marked the return to filmmaking of Polish maverick Jerzy Skolimowski after a 17-year sabbatical as a painter – ‘Essential Killing’ is a ruthless, darkly funny survival movie charged with provocative political undertones. Vincent Gallo delivers a career-best performance (helped no end by the fact he is silent throughout) as a nameless, petrified Jihadi soldier who is captured by American troops, subjected to torture and who then escapes into a snowy wilderness while being rendered across country. The film asks how low would you go to preserve your own life, as Gallo’s encroaching delirium leads him to plumb ever more base depths. Delivering an absolute minimum of context, the film dares us to forge our own reasons for rooting for or despising this savage. Also, the way in which Gallo’s suffering is translated through a cascade of sound and images makes ‘Essential Killing’ a film to utter in the same breath as Elem Klimov’s sense-battering 1985 World War II film, ‘Come and See’.



Release details

Release date:
Friday April 1 2011
83 mins

Cast and crew

Jerzy Skolimowski
Jerzy Skolimowski
Vincent Gallo
Emmanuelle Seigner
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