Jacek climbs into the taxi driven by Waldemar, tells him to drive to a remote location, then brutally kills him, seemingly without motive. Soon arrested, he has one ally: his defense attorney, Piotr. Defending his client, Piotr throws himself into the trial, but the outcome is never in doubt…
A stunning success at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival, Kieślowski’s A Short Film About Killing sets out to explore the origins and manifestations of evil in late-Communist Poland. A staggering portrayal of both victim and perpetrator, the film is an extended take on his TV episode Decalogue: Five.
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.
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.
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.
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.