“The Killer” is the best revenge film set to a killer score that you’ll ever see. It sets up his character with exceptional visuals and superb cinematography. The story isn’t trying to tell the same tale in the same fashion. It’s more unique. The Killer says that being a hitman is physically exhausting and not for everyone. He has a lot to say about a lot of things, actually. But indulge me a moment and allow me to suggest that what I would like to say is that this movie is for everyone. Everyone who digs this genre.
The movie comes out today, and it’ll be on Netflix on the tenth, but I suggest you see it on the big screen. It’ll offer much more for you as far as the flawless sound design and Michael Fassbender’s (Shame, X-Men: Days of Future Past) impeccable ability to carry a film practically expressionless. He and David Fincher (Se7en, Gone Girl) should work together more often.
The Killer is aloof and with excessive but wonderful style, Fincher has him using voice-over, telling us what and how he thinks and what he believes in. It’s used all through the film. On occasion, he’ll say something amusing, but most of the time, he’s reminding himself and informing us of his biggest beliefs when it comes to doing a job.
Fassbender is an unnamed assassin who has a series of sacred words he chants. A mantra of sorts. Some of what he repeats is to stick to the plan, never improvise and empathy is forbidden. “Empathy makes you weak and leaves you vulnerable.” Okay.
He likes listening to music before and during a job because it keeps his mind from wandering. He can’t afford to have opinions about the job he’s hired to do. Feelings could get in the way of a task. We learn this while he’s giving us his spiel. He’s also doing yoga, making sure his body is as clear, able and as strong as his mind.
Fincher wants to keep this crime mystery dark so, all the better for us, it takes a while before the killer has his target in his sights. When he finally is, to the Killer’s surprise, he’s not alone. Though the Killer is exceedingly prepared for any situation, he isn’t happy when things catch him off guard. With the change, he assesses the situation and makes the decision to shoot the mark anyway. While looking through the scope of his long-range assault riffle, he notices a working girl is dressed appropriately to give the mark the time of his life. No matter. He has the shot, but possibly being distracted by the scantily clad woman, he shoots about half a second too late and hits her instead. You see this coming, of course.
The apathetic man now turns the story about getting to know him into an exciting escape from getting caught. Much of the enjoyment of the film is watching him make his escapes and seeing what he has acquired over the years to break away from any and everyone possible.
Regardless of the situation he’s involved in with the security team who want to find him, he now has a conflict with those who hired him. They didn’t pay for a near-miss. When word gets out that he didn’t complete the job, they go after him. When he’s not at his home, they attack his lover. Not considering why he’s hired, they are now at the top of his list of things to do. He probably should be running, but he’s headed toward them instead. He listens as they try to get him to accept why they did what they did.
The scene with “The Expert,” played by Tilda Swinton (Adaptation. and Avengers: Endgame), gives us a dirty joke that we’ll be repeating for the rest of our lives. She wonders why he’s taking the risk by being there. He isn’t concerned. The Expert is an eccentric character who knows the situation she’s in and warns him she’ll haunt him someday. Swinton is perfect, looking across at a blank-faced Fassbender. They were wonderful and looked good together in this scene.
The film is told in chapters that tell us where the Killer is going. Pay attention to the names of the man aliases he has. They’re quite humorous if you know who they all are. I’ll give you a few of them… Lou Grant and Sam Malone. He’s nothing like the names he uses. He’s cold and calculating and even though it’s his error that has him in the circumstances in which he finds himself, he’ll go to the end of the earth and does, to make sure that the boss knows he’s not and never will be safe.
The only negative about the movie is it’s a bit too long, but the ideal script for Fassbender to make a return to the screen. As I said, try to attend it at your local theater right away. Here in Phoenix, it’ll be at Harkins Camelview Fashion Square.
Director: David Fincher
Writer: Andrew Kevin Walker
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Charles Parnell, Arliss Howard, Sophie Charlotte and Tilda Swinton
*Based on the graphic novel series “The Killer” written by Alexis Nolent (a.k.a Matz) and illustrated by Luc Jacamon, originally published in the French language by Editions Casterman
Rating: R (Strong Violence|Language|Brief Sexuality)
Genres: Mystery & thriller, Action, Adventure, Crime
Runtime: 1h 58m
Producer: Ceán Chaffin
Production Co: Archaia Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Boom! Studios, Plan B Entertainment, Panic Pictures (II)
Distributed by: Netflix
Release Date (Theaters): Oct 27, 2023 Limited
Release Date (Streaming): Nov 10, 2023