The Killer
David Fincher delivers a slow-paced and methodical look inside the mind of an assassin, which is elevated greatly by an emotionless performance by Michael Fassbender.

The Killer

Release Date: October 27, 2023
Runtime: 01:58
After a fateful near-miss, an assassin battles his employers, and himself, on an international manhunt he insists isn’t personal.

An assassin goes to tie up loose ends after a botched job in . Waiting from an empty office in Paris, The Killer () patiently waits for the opportunity to eliminate his target. However, as fate would have it, The Killer misses his shot, and his employers now make him the target. As such, The Killer goes on a manhunt to eliminate all loose ends, tracking down The Lawyer, Hodges (), The Expert (), and finally, The Client, Claybourne ().

The Killer Synopsis

The Killer is a thriller directed by David Fincher (Gone Girl, Mank), based on the French graphic novel series of the same name by Alexis “Matz” Nolent. The film stars Michael Fassbender as the titular killer, identified only by his many pseudonyms over the course of the film. The Killer lives by a persona mantra he recites multiple times, instructing him to focus on the target and avoid empathy at all costs. However, The Killer misses his latest target and there's quick retaliation at his home in the Dominican Republic, resulting in the hospitalization of The Killer's girlfriend. This results in The Killer deciding to make his employers the newest target.

My Thoughts on The Killer

Those who expected David Fincher to deliver a film akin to Se7en for Fight Club might be disappointed when they see that it is slow-paced and methodical. However, this makes The Killer a better film, elevated greatly by an emotionless performance by Michael Fassbender. Fassbender's inner monologue dominates the plot of The Killer as he explains his process of performing perfectly planned kills while also trying to remain anonymous.

The plot of The Killer is told in six chapters, each focusing on a different loose end for The Killer to eliminate. This includes Tilda Swinton making a single-scene appearance as The Expert, who has a battle of wits with The Killer in a New York restaurant. Switon's appearance in the film is ultimately more memorable than Arliss Howard's final chapter appearance as The Client, especially since the encounter turns out to be somewhat anticlimactic.

The Killer marks David Fincher's fifth feature film collaboration with Oscar-winning composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Social Network), with the Nine Inch Nails members delivering a fast-based techno score. However, arguably, the more memorable musical contribution to The Killer is that the titular assassin has a habit of listening to The Smiths. This includes using the band's 1984 hit “How Soon is Now?” during the opening assassination attempt, which will probably be one of the most memorable record drops this year.

The Killer is ultimately a fascinating film looking into the mind of an assassin. Just don't expect the film to be a high-action film like John Wick. In fact, I would argue that Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai would make a better companion film.

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Trailer for The Killer

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.