Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Fincher & Fassbender hit the mark in The Killer

Three-time Academy Award nominee director David Fincher continues his successful relationship with streaming giant Netflix for his thirteenth feature film, The Killer. Fincher reunites with Andrew Kevin Walker, his script writer from Se7en, who adapts Alexis “Matz” Nolent same titled graphic novel for the screenplay.

The plot for The Killer is one we’ve seen before. A gifted assassin (Michael Fassbender) is on a mission, and something goes wrong. However, this is David Fincher behind the lens, and fans of his work know it will go a lot deeper. Fincher opens his latest film with a lengthy voiceover sequence, showing the audience that our protagonist is methodical in his planning and can blend into the crowd but keep his eyes on the prize. The voiceover helps to build suspense and create a sense of anticipation as the protagonist waits for his target to appear.

We see scenes of the killer hitting the Golden Arches for the first meal of the day and grooving to his favorite band on repeat. After a few days in the city of lights, his target finally appears in the penthouse across the street. However, the sharpshooter misses the intended victim and hits an innocent bystander instead, causing a calamity. 

Knowing that he’s in some deep muck, The Killer heads home, where he discovers that his main squeezer is on the verge of death, as a sweeper team has come to collect on the debt for his error. Consumed by an overwhelming anger, he throws caution to the wind and disregards his long-held beliefs of always sticking to the plan and avoiding emotional entanglements. He embarks on a mission of vengeance against his former employers.

The Killer introduces its audience to unique characters with intriguing monikers. Viewers will immediately notice that most characters have adjectives as their names. The characters include other hitmen, such as The Brute, portrayed by Sala Baker, known for his brute strength, and The Expert, played by Tilda Swinton, a specialist in her craft. The Killer’s handler is known as The Lawyer, played by Charles Parnell. The person who hires him is The Client, played by Arliss Howard. The characters’ names are not only memorable, but they also add to the movie’s overall aesthetic.

I want to let the audience know that the movie does not rely heavily on gun battles, car chases, or fights. Instead, the creators, Fincher and Walker, have produced a clever action movie. Visually, “The Killer” is a feast for the eyes. The cinematography is stylish and atmospheric, perfectly capturing the seedy underworld where our protagonist operates. The limited assassination scenes are skillfully choreographed, making them a treat to watch.

While The Killer is a highly enjoyable thriller, it does rely on some familiar tropes of the genre. Certain plot elements may feel predictable to seasoned viewers, but the film compensates for this with its strong execution and character development.

From the solid performance by Fassbender to the visually stunning direction by one of the best directors in the industry, I was captivated by the film from start to finish.

Final Grade: B

The Killer is in limited theaters now and will be available to stream on Netflix on November 10th.

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