Review of The Killer Film
David Fincher film about a professional killer, The Killer Film is a meticulous procedural about the desperate measures a hitman must take as his well planned life begins to fall apart. Fincher plays on his image as a precise—almost obsessive—filmmaker through depicting the narrative character as a lethal perfectionist who uses mantras like “Forbid Empathy” to ground himself. Although “The Killer” was inspired by Alexis “Matz” Nolent’s graphic book, it is clear that Fincher treated the project as his most intimate picture to date.
Naturally, it’s helpful when you have an important character who has shown he can convincingly portray soulless monsters previously, and Michael Fassbender adds some of the same qualities he displayed in his role as David in “Prometheus” to Fincher’s unnamed protagonist. The first scene of “The Killer” is a long voiceover scenario in which we follow the killer on a stakeout throughout many days in Paris. Nearly a dozen tunes from the seminal band provide a fantastic soundtrack and contribute to the the movie’s deadpan humour as he watches the café below, runs out to McDonald’s for protein, and listening to The Smiths on loop.
But he makes an effort to conceal his true identity, explaining that he decided to pose as a German visitor since the French tend to shun them. Fincher and screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker Seven establish the tone for the rest of the film with this character-defining prologue. This is a calculated look inside the mind of a killer, someone who rationalises his crimes by counting the number of new lives and deaths every day and concluding that his own deeds are unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
The Killer’s intended victim shows up at the apartment down the avenue after just a few days in Paris. The “hero” of the film suddenly does an act that has never occurred to him before: he misses his target and accidentally kills a bystander. The implications are not lost on him, and he quickly returns to the Dominican Republic, where he finds his companion fighting for her life. The cleanup company has arrived, and they’ve taken both of them away. The Killer virtually violates his own rules at this point.
He has hidden away a sufficient sum in foreign institutions and secured storage facilities in many locations. He was able to run. But the guy who warned himself to never take things personally or wing them instead tries to burn the people who worked in his home and the people who hired them. Although it has a supporting cast that includes Arliss Howard, Charles Parnell, and Tilda Swinton, “Cold Pursuit” is really just a vehicle for Michael Caine.
Fincher’s longstanding interests in themes like perfectionism, obsession, and power are all on full display here. Having Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross on board to compose the soundtrack and having worked with cameraman Erik Messerschmidt (Gone Girl) and editors Kirk Baxter (The Social Network) certainly helps. Because of the talent of those involved, “The Killer” is technically superior to most other films of its kind made in the last several years. A sense of meticulousness and attention to detail, like that of the renowned director, is rewarded in a production of this kind. It’s not the kind of movie that benefits from sloppy editing; instead, it works because it’s as precise as every one of the Killer’s operations.
Fincher and Walker don’t avoid the obvious issue of why we’re seeing an immoral monster strive to rescue himself. I thought “The Killer” may attempt to humanise its protagonist, but in the end, it’s clear that he’s a heartless killer. The crowd at the film festival gasped as he severed the neck of one of the victims, as if they had been expecting mercy. He doesn’t have anything like that in his kit, and his cynical and methodical approach to murder may not be to everyone’s taste.
It isn’t a tale of second chances; rather, it’s a study in what happens when even one of the world’s most exacting individuals makes a mistake. The last act is rushed by Fincher and Walker, notably the most brief postscript ever, but I think this will become less of a problem on subsequent viewings since it matches the no-nonsense nature of the protagonist.
While this may make “The Killer” seem like a drag, it is really one of David Fincher’s funniest flicks. There’s a wonderful running line about the assassin’s bogus identities. And there is a whole slew of well-known companies represented, from Starbucks to Amazon to WeWork to Wordle; it’s a commentary on how the world has become so commercialised and indifferent that a murderer may go undetected while everyone’s preoccupied with their phones. He is depending on that to carry it out.
Last but not least, “The Killer” has that unmistakable Fincher vibe. There’s more going on here than just a director revisiting his biggest successes with an A-list cast. This is not just a piece of a creator who recycles ideas; rather, it is an example of an artist who takes familiar subjects and transforms them into something bold and original. Ultimately, it questions whether or not persons like The Killer are able to isolate themselves in order to get what needs to be accomplished.