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In an award-winning performance (Best Actor, Venice Film Festival), Vincent Gallo (Buffalo '66) plays Mohammed, a Taliban fighter captured by the US military in Afghanistan after a violent desert attack goes awry. While being transported to a secret detention center in Europe, the vehicle crashes and he suddenly finds himself free. But his newfound freedom quickly disappears as he is relentlessly pursued in a snow-blanketed forest by an army that does not "officially" exist.
A critically acclaimed, thinking-man's action thriller from director Jerzy Skolimowski (The Shout), ESSENTIAL KILLING tells the story of one man's struggle for survival, where morality has no place as he confronts the necessity to kill in order to survive.
- Interview with Director Jerzy Skolimowski, presented by American Express
"It's pure action!" --Roger Ebert
Top Customer Reviews
The film begins with Gallo evading unsuspecting American soldiers within the desert caverns of Afghanistan. When he forces a confrontation, he is caught and detained. The rest of the film unravels from Gallo's perspective as he is transported to an unknown European location and has no way to communicate with his captors. He must navigate his harsh winter surroundings in an attempt to survive, but there appears to be nowhere to go. There are a few firefights and one-on-one confrontations, but he has just as much to fear from the elements as he does from his enemy. As his journey progresses, Gallo experiences fear, desperation, and confusion and conveys it all succinctly through expression only. It's a bold and unusual choice.Read more ›
Also, amazing acting by 2 leads, stunning direction and photography, Skolimowski gets better with age.
In Essential Killing we are reminded of our shared humanity, our shared anguish over separation from our loved ones, and our struggle to survive and to return home. We are reminded that, as we dehumanize others, we need to gaze into the mirror of both our individual and national consciousness to see both the human and the beast within each of them.
The director --- no doubt and in part out of deference to anti-Muslim and Zionist sensibilities in the West -- plays down the political implications of this masterpiece. One wishes he could have been a bit bolder on this front; to bring more of the protagonist's roots, culture, and spirituality into the forefront of the drama. But those implications are inescapable, and the dynamic imagination can fill in the blanks.
Yes, the pace of the film is not of a Hollywood standard , but this does not affect the intensity of the story. Some reviewers call this gripping film slow (when did that become a bad word?) : a man runs for his life in a snow-covered landscape in a country unknown to him while being chased by a large number of soldiers who want him dead ; to survive he has to kill several people , sleep in the hay in a trough for deer, eat hallucinogenic berries and compete with a baby for his mother's milk. All of this in less than 48 hrs. Of course, there's a thunderous lack of explosions and dialogue. I guess in a world where we get served our daily dose of decapitations , and where the citizens of any mid-western town in America have to look into the barrels of police machineguns, films like these are just too tame.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Maybe I wasn't in the mood for it but I just couldn't get into this film. Vincent Gallo is an amazing actor but this just didn't do it for me.Published 4 months ago by Jessica Hewitt
It was definitely not what I was used to in a thriller, but I have to say for a movie that had maybe 10 minutes of dialogue
the story line was a psychological thriller at... Read more
If you enjoyed buffalo 66 you'll definitely love this flick starring Vincent Gallo. Arrives in a timely fashion to boot.Published 15 months ago by Kevin Rivers
The film begins with U.S. troops attempting to kill or capture Taliban. The troops seem to act like juveniles thrown into a pointless war. Read morePublished 15 months ago by KHENSE
Well, it was like watching a national geographic documentary
with some action, and even less talking (even less from
the protagonist than Stalone in Rambo I). Read more
Interesting that its set in Poland. Sort of a story for the sake of telling a story about modern war. Read morePublished on November 24, 2013 by Ignatius Malibu
I have been a Vincent Gallo fan since the movie Buffalo 66 which i still argue is one of my favorite Love Stories. Read morePublished on October 1, 2013 by Maria P. Mason
No plot, no screen-play, sound-track gave me a headache.
Why did he make this film?
Had to watch it to the end to see if it got going. Do not waste your time!