I've just got back from watching Jerzy Skolimowski's Essential Killing and wondered if anyone else had seen it. Throughout the film there is almost no dialogue (only a few lines at the very beginning of the film) as we follow an escaped terrorist, deafened by an explosion, trying to evade re-capture. Even the music score is very minimal and doesn't feature heavily.

It's a very bold attempt to make a movie with no dialogue. The story (obviously told by only image, and music/ambiances/sfx/foley) did manage to keep me interested from start to finish. But I feel that the sound design kind of played it a bit too safe. Don't get me wrong, it was good but I would have loved to see some more experimental stuff going on. Seems like a great opportunity to really push the limits when there is no dialogue and very little music dominating the soundtrack.

Anyone else seen it? What did you think?


  • I would love to find the soundtrack for this movie.. particularly the song/s that are playing in the 4WD when he jumps in and shoots the two soldiers. (the heavy metal music). Any info please would be appreciated.
    – user3747
    Apr 5, 2012 at 2:38

2 Answers 2


This type of movie can be every sound designer's dream or worst nightmare.

I personally would love to work on a challenge like this.

Thanks for posting this - I'll have to check it out.

  • Just to clarify, I'm not critisising the work that was done on the film. I'm just wondering what other people think. Maybe the safer route in terms of sound design is actually better for this type of situation. I'd love to hear what you think when you get a chance to watch it. May 6, 2011 at 20:18
  • Hey np. Will do. I'll check it out soon and let you know!
    – Utopia
    May 6, 2011 at 20:34

I felt similar...I didn't love the movie to begin with (had high expectation going into it though). For a sound designer, this SHOULD be a dream scenario. One where the sound crew can be extremely creative in the mix, recording and the edit. You're creativity can be minimized if the director has a clear vision for the sound of the movie and is active in the process. But it's always nice to work with a director who is aware of the importance in sound. Nevertheless, there is always room for creativity and experimentation on a project. It just happens to be in Essential Killing, there is a very small amount. The simplicity does however convey the story in a good manner and fits the emotions of the character as well as the environment.


  • I agree, the final sound of the film is primarily dependent on the director. Who knows what was tried during sound editorial & during mixing, but you can be sure they didnt arrive at the final mix by accident. It would have been directed to be that way.
    – user49
    May 7, 2011 at 6:09

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