A disaffected young man murders a taxi driver and is put on trial by the state. Though defended by an idealistic lawyer, he is finally sentenced to death by hanging for his crime. An expansion of an episode of the director’s Dekalog.
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So effectively horrifying that Polish authorities removed the death penalty from legislation as a result of Kieslowski's polemical cinematic activism. Two gratuitous strangling scenes bring the reality of murder to home. Without spectacle and razzmatazz, the bleak reality of death repels even the most hardened of spectators.
One of Kieslowski's masterpieces, this longer version of episode 5 in the Decalogue, brims with a hate-bleached yellowish atmosphere that pushes a young delinquent into an unspeakably cruel murder. As a meditation of sin both in terms of the act of killing and of the system's retribution, this is gripping and astute. Marvellously acted it is an uncomfortable and mesmerizing moral treatise.
The characters, and the film itself, are enveloped in darkness, like shadows on the minds of the players. Dark patches appear in almost every shot, and there's a vignette quality to the images that leaves an ominous, oppressive mood hanging over a film already wrapped up in fear and darkness, perfectly highlighting the characters states of mind and motives, and creating startling cinematic effect.
Dreary cinematography and bleak shots of a depressed city perfectly complement this historically relevant film, which blatantly demonstrates the indistinguishable horror and injustice of murders committed not only by aberrant individuals but also the State.
Feature-length expansion of an already grippingly moralistic TV episode. More development and better pacing. Kieślowski's stunningly minimalistic direction radiates with underlying complexities and raises extremely thought-provoking questions.
Who was it that said directing is just observing and reporting? Anyway, Kieslowski does this in its purity and creates moving experiences one after the other. I mainly wanted to watch this movie hoping for a death scene that wasn't just shock or trivial entertainment. I wasn't disappointed at all.