7 January 2012

ESSENTIAL KILLING (Dir. Jerzy Skolimowski, 2010, Poland/Norway/Ireland/Hungary)

Essential Killing is an impressionistic masterpiece which has a silent protagonist or should I say cypher who journeys across a wintry landscape to achieve a transient spiritual death. Claimed as an apolitical film, which seems mightily impossible, the episodic narrative imitates an odyssey of sorts that plots an existential trajectory while referencing a recognisable post 9-11 political context of nightmarish imperialism. Like Klimov's Come and See, this is a visceral and very physical film that revolves around the actions and reactions of Vincent Gallo's ideologically symbolic protagonist. Such a film is dependent solely on the visual image and returns cinema back to its purist silent origins and argues for a simplicity which is curiously scoffed at today by much of the mainstream. What Jerzy Skolimowski demonstrates is that all you really need to make a great film is an actor, scenario, dedicated crew and of course Jeremy Thomas. In many ways, by humanising 'the other', the film observes without passing any kind of moral or ethical judgement.


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