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Driven by a uniquely stark mood and propulsive direction, Essential Killing excels due to an unrelentingly visceral performance from Vincent Gallo. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

A Taliban soldier (Vincent Gallo) struggles to survive after he escapes his captors and flees into the Polish countryside.

Cast & Crew

Zach Cohen
American Contractor 1
Iftach Ophir
American Contractor 2
Nicolai Cleve Broch
Helicopter Pilot 1
Stig Frode Henriksen
Helicopter Pilot 2
David Price
Interrogation Officer
Tracy Spencer Shipp
Young Soldier in SUV
Phillip Goss
Military Doctor
Andrew Lowe
Executive Producer
Jeremy Thomas
Executive Producer
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Critic Reviews for Essential Killing

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (40) | Rotten (12)

  • It's great screen acting, as [Vincent] Gallo expressively uses his body to make it part of the film's overall design.

    May 5, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Essential Killing goes so far out of its way to avoid political commentary that the commentary that remains is slim, reduced to a familiar, though occasionally striking, statement on man's animal nature.

    May 5, 2020 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
  • The religious-themed inserts are incongruous in a project that so studiously sidesteps political markers and prove an unwanted distraction in the cinema.

    May 5, 2020 | Full Review…
  • The violent perversity of some of the man's actions throws things off to an extent and, ultimately, [Jerzy] Skolimowski's bag of narrative tricks is not ample enough to fill out even the brief running time.

    May 5, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Despite skillful assemblage, the script's plausibility issues increasingly undermine engagement, even with the generous argument that the pic is a parable and operates according to more poetic laws of realism.

    May 5, 2020 | Full Review…
  • At times engrossing and not without palpable suspense, it nonetheless amounts to a provocative doodle.

    May 5, 2020 | Full Review…

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