A Short Film About Killing (1988)
Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski
Written by Krzysztof Kieslowski & Krzysztof Piesiewicz
This was my first Kieslowski and it was not really anything what I was expecting. I honestly did not know what to expect from it, but the somewhat unfinished look of the film threw me at first. I say at first because, honestly, a film does not have to look perfect, I understand certain things are made on certain budgets and certain directors film things the way they want to. I do not know which one this was, but I accepted it. I found it strange how some of the shots were framed, focusing in on certain parts of the shot, namely the characters, in a certain pinhole kind of way. The rest of the background would either be in black or some faded color scheme. I am still unsure as to the intention of this, but again, I accepted it as it was.
The film follows three separate, seemingly unconnected characters, but as everything must, the characters soon become intertwined and connected. One is a taxi driver, and a crabby one at that. He does not like cats, he drives off after washing his taxi, leaving a couple behind who had been waiting for his services, he honks at animals to scare them, he is kind of a crappy guy. Then there is Jacek, a roaming nomad type. I do not know what his deal was. He just walked around the city, scaring pigeons away from mr. feeding pigeons, dropping rocks off overpasses and causing wreaks, and lying to a couple who need a taxi and going to the same place as he just so he can have the cab to himself. Again, kind of a crappy guy. The third character is a lawyer. We see him, nervous as he enters his exam after a four year internship with a firm. He has ideals and, despite the public hatred of lawyers, seems to be a nice guy. He passes his exam and begins to try law. Without spoiling the film, I will say that there is obviously killing involved, but much less than expected. Two people die, and in very different ways. I will not say who it is or why, but I will say that one death in particular is somewhat disturbing, but what I think the film was going for was that the second was just as disturbing.
I truly see what Kieslowski was going for, and I think he achieved it. The ending is somewhat perfect I would even say, certainly very fitting. The impact, despite the players involved is still heavy. I think the characters were the most important part of this. If each person was not depicted the way they were the effect would not have been the same. Maybe the feelings and reactions would be, but the questions that are raised as a result of the film and the actions that take place are what is important and certainly what Kieslowski was going for. Despite my relative dislike with the general look of the film, as I mentioned I was not hampered by it, and it certainly lived up to its name of being a short film, which was neither this nor that, but the message is one that will stick with me. The proceedings seemed somewhat boring at times, however, but I suspect this might be something that gets better while sitting on it and probably with repeat viewings, but for now I stand in the very good, not quite great corner of things.***