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Essential Killing [DVD]

Vincent Gallo , Emmanuelle Seigner , Jerzy Skolimowski    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: £3.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Essential Killing [DVD] + Tetro [DVD]
Price For Both: £13.99

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Product details

  • Actors: Vincent Gallo, Emmanuelle Seigner, Zach Cohen, David Price
  • Directors: Jerzy Skolimowski
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 11 July 2011
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004XWLDL6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,948 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Captured by the US military in Afghanistan, Mohammed (Vincent Gallo) is transported to a secret detention centre in Europe. When the vehicle he is riding in crashes, he finds himself suddenly free and on the run in a snow-blanketed forest, a world away from the desert home he knew. Relentlessly pursued by an army that does not officially exist, Mohammed must confront the necessity to kill in order to survive.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very dark and absorbing 10 Nov 2011
This is not an action film by any stretch of the imagination. It's a grim and wintry look at the progress of a Taliban soldier on the run, starting with him being shot at by a helicopter and then killing 3 US soldiers with an RPG. It's a tale of survival, with the least dialogue of any film I've seen in a long time.

Vincent Gallo is convincing in a very difficult role. There are some scenes of survival which seem to be pushing the envelope for the sake of it, and my 4 star rating is based on the unusual but successful style of storytelling here. I'd reiterate, this is not an action film but a dark look at a Taliban soldier on the run. Far from pleasant, but very interesting.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
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.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential viewing. 7 July 2011
By Mr. K. Arts TOP 1000 REVIEWER
An unnamed taliban soldier is apprehended after killing three us soldiers, detained, tortured and then transported to an unnamed wintery location somewhere in eastern Europe (hearing the accents most likely somewhere in poland). After a crash the insurgent escapes and must attempt to cross the harsh winter terrain to freedom.
Anyone looking for somthing a little different is well advised to check out this film. Essentialy its a chase film, where the 'hero' must use every tool at his disposal to stay alive and free against insurmountable odds. In essential killing the chase gives way to a much stranger and surreal journey for the central character that is often strange and disturbing. The film bravely makes the character an afghani insurgent and the enemy the americans subverting the normal roles found in most western variations on this kind of movie.
Director Jerzy Skolimowski has made a film that is virtually dialouge free relying on the supurb locations and vincent gallos excellent central performance to convey the story. Hats off to Gallo, who makes his unnamed character sympathetic, while at the same time clearly very dangerous and morrally ambiguous. The film runs at around 80 minutes and never outstays its welcome and looks genuineley breathtaking.As the film progresses and the characters state of mind begins to unravel the film sticks with our characters point of view and has some genuinelly strange and intreaguing sequences.On the downside there are some plot points that feel a little contrived but honestly it didn't effect my enjoyment of the film one bit. I came to this film expecting just another chase movie and got a lot more and for that essential killing is a film i'm happy to reccomend. The film comes with a special effects featturette, an interview with the director and a trailer.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rendition 27 Jan 2012
This is a grim escape tale of a Taliban fighter transported to a wintry (and unnamed, but it's Norway) Western country where circumstances free him to try to survive in an alien land. Although he shows a good deal of skill and is an efficient killer our "hero" is never going to be Jason Bourne. This is arthouse rather than action film, and is both slow and moody; if you enjoy some good Ramboesque action you should not watch this one. Although low budget (wrong weapons, dude) it is very effective at transmitting the cold and the lonlieness of the escapee.

This is a film for a particular audience who will enjoy it, not for the casual viewer.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit dreary... 1 Feb 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
One of my lesser favourites from the UK Artificial Eye bluray collection. Story is ok, just a bit boring. Vincent Gallo was average but I feel any half decent actor could have spent an hour and a half running through the snow hardly saying anything. He has a huge ego and he's certainly not as talented as he likes to think he is, and he's been in some real stinkers. Check him out in the US bluray release of 'Tetro' which is decent. (Avoid 'Tetro' UK disc- terrible pic quality). Along with 'elles' and 'Zidane:21st Century Portrait', this title is my least favourite bluray from AE so far. Rent it.
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