Nick’s review published on Letterboxd:
I'm usually okay with movies with an agenda, as long as it's for the good cause. However, In A Short Film About Killing, director Krzysztof Kieślowski, in his rather in-the-nose attempt to protest against capital punishment, mysteriously tried to pass off one of the most deplorable characters of his as the ultimate martyr and system crasher, only for the huge potentials of this movie to die down completely in its didactic last minutes.
Thankfully, A Short Film About Killing is style wise impeccable with its yellowish color palette and a stark cinematography, and has a somewhat tense, at times cerebral first half that chronicles the unknowingly intertwined lives of three Polish men whose existence is more symbolic than flesh and blood. The astonishing depiction of an emotionally lost, visually diseased Polish society coupled with its equally aimless citizens only segues into an almost painstaking, slack second half. Kieślowski's was manipulative enough with the selection of materials and soundtracks so as to raise as much sympathy as possible, yet the nature of the specific crime ultimately renders the whole narrative unsustainable any way you see it.
Personally the whole argument of A Short Film About Killing falls short mainly because of the specific character Kieślowski's chosen for his plea. It's perfectly natural to sympathize with someone like Bjork in Dancers in the Dark, but for someone, no, an animal, like Jacek, it's simply far too difficult to conjure up any sympathy.