Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Short Film About Killing

In Krzysztof Kieslowski's "A Short Film About Killing," it is evident that the main purpose is to make the viewer take a step back and re-assess his views on capital punishment. Throughout the movie we follow the lives of two strangers that seemingly have no connection, except for the fact that they both seem to be extremely inconsiderate of others around them. Both of these men, to be quite blunt, are bastards. It seems as though everything they do is intended to hurt or negatively impact someone around them, whether it is throwing rocks on cars from an overpass or scaring people and their pets as they pass in front of your car, it seems as though both of these men get an immense amount of enjoyment from being inconsiderate to others. To no surprise, when these two men finally do meet up their ruthlessness continues and one eventually ends up dead. In the end Jacek ends up ruthlessly killing the cab driver, but justice seems quick to follow in the hands of the law. Within a very short period of time Jacek is convicted of his crimes and sentenced to death, however, the producer makes a twist in the plot and somehow makes the viewer almost feel remorseful for Jacek and his impending execution. By presenting a new, caring side of Jacek in which he pleads with his attorney and remorsefully talks about his sister, the viewer now becomes attached to him and feels compassionate for his inevitable future. Even more compelling is the scene that Jacek puts on just minutes before his execution. His fit of madness and sorrow really pulls at the viewer and makes him realize how realistic death actually is, especially under capital punishment. I believe the unorthodox way Kieslowski portrays the harshness of murder is quite effective in triggering the viewer to question his beliefs. Instead of the long, drawn out depictions of saddened inmates awaiting their executions we are typically used to, Kieslowski takes a different approach and shows just how quick death really is. By taking the character of Jacek from an unruly teen to a remorseful young adult in such a short period of time the viewer gets an amazing sense of the finality of death, especially in the way Jacek's actions change when he realizes his unavoidable punishment.

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