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A Short Film About Killing

A Short Film About Killing (1988)


No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 1



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Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 5,571

My Rating

Movie Info

This disturbing and violent feature opens with a scene of a dead rat and a lifeless cat hanging by the neck. As the plot unfolds, Yatzek (Miroslaw Baka) is a 20-year-old drifter who murders a testy taxi driver (Jan Tesarz) in a gut-wrenching scene of excessive violence. Tension continues to build as a newly licensed young attorney (Krzysztof Globisz is chosen to represent Yatzek in court. Much anticipated and well-received at Cannes, the film won the European Film Academy Award for "Best

May 11, 2004

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All Critics (13) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (2) | DVD (3)

The film forces the audience to confront the most vile aspects of life, without offering enough intellectual substance to justify sitting through such brutality.

August 30, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comment (1)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Kieslowski movingly demonstrates the unexpected connections that strangers make, and ponders the metaphysical forces that not only bind us, but also redeem us.

May 29, 2004 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Thou Shalt Not Miss

September 1, 2009 Full Review Source: City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul

One of the ugliest movies ever made, and that's just exactly the way it should be: it takes place in an irredeemably ugly world.

August 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Not for the squeamish.

September 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Far more effective in its longer version.

September 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Kieslowski and screenwriter Krzysztof Piesiewicz refuse to stack the deck: There are no cardboard villains here, only flawed, fully imagined human beings.

May 29, 2004 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

One of the most horrific films you're likely to see -- and one of the most oddly didactic.

May 29, 2004 Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco Examiner

This is one of a preeminent filmmaker's most vital films.

April 19, 2004 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Exudes a cosmic foreboding.

March 26, 2004 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for A Short Film About Killing

While not sufficiently short, I did get its sense of killing (in terms of length as well as its content). Its graphic violent scenes are said to be highly effective. While not shocking, they're boring enough to end up as an avoidable drag (if it's the same movie I watched). Apparently, I'm at loss for my shortsightedness to savor this acclaimed masterpiece. All the same, I did find it engaging in parts, and appreciate its uncomplicated storyline. If only it was equally interesting..... Hope you face no problems enjoying it to its fullest.
September 11, 2012

Super Reviewer

Grim, uncompromising, opaque: these are the first words that come to mind when viewing Kieslowski's "A Short Film About Killing."
One of two full length films to emerge from his famous "Decalogue", this film focuses on the dark side of human nature. No attempt is made to balance the scales with any glimmer of hope and Kieslowski is relentless in achieving his goal.
The film is about 3 polish men and how their fates are intertwined. The murders, one the cause of spontaneous violent desire and the other a calculated act of the state, are both agonizing to watch. The audience is given no heroes to root for or villains to wish ill upon. Instead, Kieslowski wishes to show the senselessness of these acts and that killing perpetuates killing.
While the films subject matter wades heavily in the macabre, the images themselves are rendered in a way that makes the image very dark and foreboding. There are no brilliant or bright colors here and some of the characters appear to be surrounded by an encroaching circle of darkness. In one of the murder scenes, the screen almost goes to black when killer realizes his victim is actually dead.
July 4, 2011
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

From a slow starting film to a realisticly, disturbing, impact of a story. This film is created with the intention to demand your attention. It's lack of explation or motive adds to the authentic feeling, it could almost be a fly on the wall documentary.
March 25, 2011

Super Reviewer

Kieslowski's artful and unusual expression of despair.
June 12, 2009
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Ein kurzer Film über das Töten (DE)
  • A Short Film About Killing (Krotki film o zabijaniu) (UK)
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