Essential Killing won't be to everyone's tastes, but I found it absorbing. The films features no dialogue and follows one man as he tries to escape the US military.
Vincent Gallo puts in an extraordinary performance as a man (we never actually find out if he is a jihadist or not) who break free from captivity against the backdrop of Extraordinary Rendition.
Finding himself, bare foot, alone and unarmed in a harsh winter environment which is a world away from the familiar heat of the desert he knows, we watch as one one tries to evade capture and fight for both his survival and sanity.
The stark white winter scenery makes for some beautiful shots and scenery and the lack of dialogue drives a performance which is riveting to watch.
This film is simple and basic in the extreme - but you really don't need anything else if you have a brilliant idea. This is demonstrated perfectly in what is pretty much a master class in the basics of film making.
The extras too are simple, but far better than most which appear on other 'block busters'. There's a short film showing how they did the special effect at the start and an excellent and enlightening interview with writer/director Jerzy Skolimowski.
Essential Killing will not appeal to young audiences or those seeking thrills, spills, action and adventure. If you appreciate film as 'art' though (on all its different levels) you will find much about this film you like.
The story itself should have you thinking and ask questions of both it and yourself; wondering how far you too would go to survive if you found yourself in the same situation.
It takes no political stance and gives no detail about the men involved, concentrating solely on a the triumph of the human spirit as well as its darkness.