After a string of movies that were either misses or bombs and a three-year hiatus from acting, Michael Fassbender is finally back with a riveting, intriguing, and, sometimes, very amusing movie courtesy of director David Fincher. Based on the French comic book series by Alexis “Matz” Nolent and Luc Jacamon, The Killer gives the beloved and acclaimed actor the ability to shine brightly, as he deserves, in a character-driven thriller that presents the life and work of a paid hitman. The film offers David Fincher the opportunity to scale things down and deliver a more intimate film that delves deep into the methodology and ideology of a skilled and highly disciplined assassin. Though the movie will eventually be available for streaming on Netflix, I feel Fincher and Fassbender deserve to be experienced on the big screen.
Fassbender stars as “The Killer” without a name. Though I am sure he has a name, the film never reveals it. The unnamed hitman narrates the story, taking the audience into his mental process as he works on his latest contract kill. Just as we’re getting into the protagonist’s mindset and habits, his job goes wrong, forcing him to flee the scene before being caught or identified.
After meticulously covering his tracks with great care and attention to detail, Fassbender’s character heads home to his hideaway in the Dominican Republic. However, he soon discovers that other hired killers have already struck his residence and attacked someone very near and dear to him. Immediately, the assassin goes into work mode and seeks out the ones hunting him. Though he continuously lies to himself that the mission is not personal, we already know his motivation is revenge.
Though The Killer is probably David Fincher’s most straightforward film, I still found it engaging, entertaining, shocking, and disturbing. Fincher just knows how to take a simple portrait of a methodical killer, his fundamental vengeance mission, and make the whole affair absolutely enthralling. There are no surprises here–no multiple personalities or no vile twists. Everything plays out as expected, but Fincher and screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker make the experience so damn entertaining!
Of course, this movie would only have soared as well, with Michael Fassbender in the lead role. This role is Fassbender’s comeback. He finally is in a very satisfying film that allows him to reacquaint audiences with his range of talents. His charisma, deadpan narration, and tremendous presence are all in full effect here. Though the character is barely human(e), he simply makes the killer likable and respectable.
It truly makes me happy to see Fincher bring back Michael Fassbender with a great showcase of his acting chops in a sleek, gritty movie. Though the killer character delves into filthy lucre, he always knows how to clean up after himself and move on to the next job. I hope that this movie leads to at least one more installment. I would love to see Fincher, Walker, and Fassbender serve another intriguing adventure for the protagonist, as long as it remains firmly rooted in reality, like this movie. That task will require much restraint and discipline like the killer usually has, or at least tries to have.