David Fincher’s ‘The Killer’ offers a chilling glimpse into the mind of an assassin, portrayed with meticulous brilliance by Michael Fassbender. Guided by the mantra of “Stick to the plan, trust no one,” the film unfolds as a brooding action thriller, delving into the neo-noir landscape crafted from the pages of French comic books by Matz and Luc Jacamon.
The Killer adheres to a steady pace, mirroring its titular character’s calculated and disciplined nature. Fassbender’s portrayal of the unnamed hitman is marked by precision and caution, defining him as a lethal force in the corporate world’s shadows. The assassin’s life, as depicted by Fincher, blends seamlessly into the modern landscape—a German tourist with a bucket hat shopping on Amazon and driving an unremarkable white Avis rental van.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross contribute to the film’s atmosphere with a downtempo score that prowls through each frame, setting the tone for the protagonist’s relentless pursuit of his next victim. As the killer embarks on a mission that spans locations like Paris, The Dominican Republic, New Orleans, Florida, New York and Chicago, cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt captures the journey with striking visuals in Super 35.
The film’s narrative, divided into six chapters, takes an unexpected turn when the assassin transforms into a detective following an attempt on his girlfriend’s life. While introducing a shade of John Wick, this twist aligns with the movie’s noir roots.
Fassbender’s monotone voice-over narration becomes a key element, offering a mix of professional tips, nihilistic reflections, and sincere self-awareness. As the assassin grapples with a hit gone awry, the film explores his reaction to the unexpected turmoil, injecting elements of existentialism into the narrative.
The film’s proficiency is evident in its execution of violent sequences, particularly a frenzied fight scene in Florida that stands out for its grueling yet skillfully choreographed nature. Charles Parnell as Hodges, the killer’s handler, and Arliss Howard as the billionaire client add depth to the supporting cast.
Despite its calculated perfection and Fincher’s cool finesse, ‘The Killer’ falls slightly short of hitting its mark. Much like its protagonist, the movie operates in a vacuum, withholding emotion and leaving viewers yearning for a deeper connection. While the film’s existential theme aligns with its nihilistic tone, it ultimately leaves the audience questioning the depth and purpose within its stylish yet empty vessel.
Ultimately, “The Killer,” a Netflix release, emerges as a proficient B-movie with moments of brilliance but slightly fails to transcend its meticulously crafted exterior to offer a more profound cinematic experience. Rated R for intense violence, language, and brief sexuality, the film runs for 118 minutes, earning four stars out of five.