That hand has already suggested nihilistic abandon when it tosses a stone onto a passing car from a bridge, or pushes a man to the ground in a public toilet without provocation. Throughout A Short Film About Killing's first act, Kieslowski unexpectedly exposes the spitefulness of both Jacek and his victim, Waldemar (Jan Tesarz). The latter delights in pulling away from the most needy of fares, and letching over a young woman. These actions all compound the overwhelming senselessness of the crimes to follow and occur within a thickly oppressive and alienating milieu that forebodes the shocks to come slowly tightens knots in the stomach. The build-up to both deaths are laced with tension and horror - through sheer atmosphere in the first act, and through the knowledge of what is to come in the second.
As Jacek confides in his defence attorney prior to his execution - Piotr (Krzysztof Globisz) whose legal career and opposition to corporal punishment have been interspersed throughout - light is cast on this young man who wonders whether the loss of his 12-year-old sister set him on his disastrous course. Kieslowski ekes out every ounce of pathos before the deed is done, and when it does, it traumatises as much as the grisly mess of his crime. That is Kieslowski's underlying point; that each death is a morally repugnant as the other - and A Short Film About Killing tackles that subject with gloomy poetry and undeniable power.