Essential Killing

Watch Essential Killing

"Run to live... kill to survive."
  • R
  • 2010
  • 1 hr 23 min
  • 6.1  (8,024)

In the 2010 film Essential Killing, Vincent Gallo stars as a Taliban fighter who is captured by American troops in Afghanistan. The movie explores the brutal journey the character goes through as he is transported to an unknown location, interrogated and tortured by the Americans, and eventually escapes into a vast, snowy wilderness.

Throughout the movie, Gallo's character is stripped of his identity and all forms of communication. He must rely solely on his survival instincts as he faces hunger, thirst, and extreme weather conditions. The film is an intense, almost wordless exploration of human endurance and the psychological toll of war.

The story takes place in a series of vignettes, each chapter depicting a particular moment in the character's journey. Some scenes are reminiscent of a survivalist adventure story, with Gallo's character killing animals and scavenging for food. Others are deeply psychological, highlighting the trauma and isolation he faces as a result of his captivity.

Emmanuelle Seigner plays a woman who comes into contact with Gallo's character later in the film, and Zach Cohen plays an American soldier. Both actors give strong, nuanced performances that add depth to the story.

Director Jerzy Skolimowski creates a haunting, almost dreamlike atmosphere throughout the film. The snowy wilderness provides an otherworldly setting that heightens the character's sense of isolation and desperation. The camera work is often shaky and disorienting, adding to the sense of unease and tension.

At its core, Essential Killing is a meditation on the dehumanizing effects of war. The character Gallo plays is initially portrayed as a faceless enemy combatant, but as the story unfolds we see him as a human being with desires and emotions, and who must fight to retain his individuality and sense of self.

The movie is not an easy watch, but it is a highly impactful and thought-provoking one. It raises important questions about the morality of war, the treatment of prisoners, and the role of the individual in times of crisis.

Overall, Essential Killing is a masterful piece of filmmaking that explores complex themes with ruthless honesty. Gallo's commanding performance drives the story forward, and Skolimowski's direction creates an unforgettable atmosphere that lingers long after the credits roll.

Essential Killing is a 2010 thriller with a runtime of 1 hour and 23 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.1.

Essential Killing
Where to Watch Essential Killing
Essential Killing is available to watch free on Plex, Pluto TV, Tubi TV and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Essential Killing for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 23 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.1  (8,024)