The Killer Review

The Killer
The Killer
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This time around, David Fincher’s new film The Killer recalls the director’s adaptation of Fight Club to let the viewers in on what an unnamed lead character is thinking about. In plain voice-over, this title killer (Michael Fassbender – his first feature since 2019’s Dark Phoenix), gives thoughts ranging from sayings to work strategies and thoughts that guide him through it all. “Stick to the plan. Trust no one. Anticipate, don’t improvise. Fight only battles you are paid for.” He refers to what he calls “the void of life” and how seeing it makes him different: not among many but rather among a few.

However, in some untouchable ways, he belongs to an even more select group than any other person: no one has ever been able to understand this thing well enough that chance could not break it at any moment. For Fincher, however, The Killer brings us back to tradition; these kinds of stories have been snacks for him before but now he uses it as a tool of deconstructing invincibility through emotions and sometimes such people turn into seekers for any kind of redemption which may be tragic.

Fassbender’s character is incredibly talented at his job; he is so precise in all the ways necessary for someone who can segregate their emotions well enough thus becoming a top class assassin. Even though being a destroyer of worlds; at least the killer thinks true things and this endears him as a complex hero to spectators. We see him meticulously keeping watch while performing Patrick Bateman-style yoga in a derelict hideout made up to look like a Parisian WeWork office space. When an average mission starts going south, he needs to readjust quickly devise an escape plan from death and deliver that fulfilling revenge using his only method.

Andrew Kevin Walker wrote the script based on the French graphic novel series by Alexis “Matz” Nolent– and it gets it just right by showing the killer’s insides as well as his urge to stay on top of things. Walker even added little hints within the killer’s speeches that give us a sense of humanity existing within such a character – tiny moments where we see his emotions are like ours.

Fassbender plays the role smartly and classily, giving a muted but powerful performance that leans into the solitary predator requirements of this sick line of work. At some points, he comes across as someone who we could take a liking to if we met him in real life; in others, he is ruthlessly brutal. Tilda Swinton has a small part in the film, but it’s nevertheless a pivotal one, and she perfectly embodies the qualities of wise and seasoned yet resigned.

To say more about her character would be revealing too much about the plot, still, it is delightful to find her making an appearance in this story even if only for one scene. In addition to this, another slight but important role played in The Killer derives from BBC journalist Fiona Bruce: strange casting perhaps but good all the same. She gives a very natural performance with nuance during those few moments we have with her.

Of course, the movie is full of murders but wait till they actually get mean, and in Florida (of all places)…the big fight scene at the end is fun. This might sound grim, however, this specific sequence has been done so perfectly that it cannot be ignored. The violence is captivating – which might say a lot about society, but Fincher capitalizes on our proclivities, even the bloody ones, in a similar fashion to the way he did in Fight Club.

At the end of Fincher’s thunderous journey of self-discovery or self-annihilation or whatever it was all really about? The killer finally tells us something. If we too can see the void then maybe we’re all actually just one of the many – and maybe, just maybe, we’re like him. It’s a poignant closing moment and a reversal of his original philosophy that tells us something crucial about this character: He ultimately always wanted to be one of the many—one who could shed their skin and live inside an empty space where there are no boundaries anymore.

With what looks like an ending more satisfying than anyone could have ever imagined for The Killer given by Fincher and Walker; full of satisfaction and prescient calm after the storm, appears as if he may have gotten his wish. As for me? I still keep repeating his mantras, dissecting his work, and can’t help myself from itching to press replay on this damn whole affair.


David Fincher’s twelfth feature film since its release in 1992 came out with The Killer was a return to form for directorial legend David Fincher who stripped away how emotions corrupt invulnerability and transformed it into an impetus for revenge. Combine Andrew Kevin Walker’s tight & effective script with great performances from Michael Fassbender as well as Tilda Swinton along with sharp editing and you’ll have an assassin odyssey that will warrant multiple viewings.

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