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  • Writer's picturePatrick Mooty

FILM REVIEW: The Killer

Admirable and interesting but leaves you feeling cold

David Fincher is one of the most meticulous directors working today and his films are pretty much the blueprint for pristine, intricate filmmaking. In that, his latest effort, The Killer, based on a French graphic novel, is a match made in heaven, about an assassin who is precise, will withstand boredom, and will remain in the same spot for hours, days even, to get the job done. But when he miscalculates a hit and ends up killing the wrong person, a globe-trotting manhunt begins. Just goes to show that no one is perfect, and neither is Fincher’s latest effort.


Technically brilliant in its craftsmanship and delivery, The Killer is an interesting watch if nothing else. Essentially a more realistic depiction of the James Bond lifestyle - without the glamour, the gadgets, or the girls - this shows a solitary man, travelling to humble locations to do a vicious job, and leaving without anyone noticing him. Michael Fassbender plays our unnamed protagonist (if he can be called a protagonist) and, often alone, carries the film on his shoulders. Through his determined yet soulless expressions, Fassbender sells himself as a real-life killer - a professional, someone not having fun but just doing a job.


Apart from a constant narration in which our eponymous character explains his methods, how to dress, how to get in places, how to avoid detection, Fassbender is mostly silent throughout, keeping the viewer at arm’s length as much as possible. This makes for a very cold experience, fitting of a killer but not if you’re looking to connect to the character. If this film was just an exercise in showing a day in the life of a true killer, glamorous trappings aside, that would’ve been fine. But the ending message of the film that tries to relate itself to the audience makes it hard to take on board.


There is a story and motivation in The Killer, but they are secondary to the inner workings of the lead. The interesting part is seeing how the job gets done, while the story is left to gather dust, to the point that it is unclear why Fassbender is in a new location hunting a new target.


The Killer is an admirable effort from David Fincher and, if nothing else, an interesting experiment. But the cold approach may leave audiences wanting more of a connection.


Rating: 6/10

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