The Killer Movie Review
David Fincher, Mank aside, has been not only a reliably consistent director but a master when it comes to compelling, can’t-look-away thrillers. The Killer follows a similar mold, though the movie unfortunately leaves you as cold as its unnamed protagonist.
Michael Fassbender stars as the frustrating “killer,” who narrates his days of patience, boredom, and solitude as he prepares for an assassination that he proceeds to fuck up royally, setting off an expected chain of events. He’s frustrating because from start to finish he’s the same guy, a cold-hearted killer who largely sticks to his mantra and never deviates into the unpredictable. He’s not unlikable per se, but Fassbender, like the movie itself, never really lets you into his inner workings. It’s hard to really care, even if Fincher’s machinations are all otherwise on point.
There are several well-staged sequences with solid choreography, a moody score, and all the other trademarks you expect from the storied director. A brutal fight sequence is especially cool—except Fincher shoots it so dark you can’t see the damn thing. And for a while the whole thing sucks you in—with the promise of something explosive to come.
But the third act is largely unmemorable. The movie just peters out without much of a spark, seemingly yet another commitment to the titular character’s overly stoic demeanor.
Fincher’s best crime movies—Seven, Zodiac, Fight Club, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl—all pair his stellar direction with an unbridled emotion—rage, obsession, lust—and The Killer is absolutely lacking in that regard.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.