David Fincher’s first film in three years continues his collaboration with Netflix, following the Oscar-winning success of 2020’s Mank. In The Killer Michael Fassbender stars as an assassin dedicated to his process, until a botched hit leads to his employers trying to take him out.
A new Fincher movie is an exciting moment, however this piece finds the filmmaker in familiar territory. A detached male protagonist narrating his own thought processes, sticking to a strict code that, of course, is broken. Reteaming with screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker for the first time since 1995’s Se7en, the script has darkly funny moments to break up the fatalistic tone.
The path of the movie might be familiar Fincher seems keen to celebrate the process of storytelling rather than racing to a finish line. Fassbender has been away from the screen since 2019’s Marvel disaster Dark Phoenix, and appears happy to delve into something more complex. The Killer’s need to remain as nondescript as possible allows the actor to shed the glamour of the sexy assassin and opt for a quirkier performance, practising yoga and listening to The Smiths while he waits for his moment to strike.
Of the people he encounters, the always-interesting Tilda Swinton is a standout as a fellow assassin with an interesting philosophy on the job. The Killer won’t be remembered alongside David Fincher’s best, but that speaks more to the quality of his past work than the failings of this film. Fans love it, with the film receiving a Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes just like almost all of Fincher’s other films have. Atmospheric and at times shocking, it shows that both director and star have more to give.
The Killer is available on Netflix now