The Killer is a solid enough spy thriller that falls short of what we know the involved talent can deliver, due largely in part to a script that never picks up steam. It’s never a good sign when general audiences aren’t aware of a new David Fincher film, let alone a Michael Fassbender starring David Fincher film. This is the guy who brought us The Social Network, Zodiac, Seven, Gone Girl, and Fight Club and yet Netflix has been slow rolling any marketing for it. This should be a must watch for any fan of film, though I do caution you temper your expectations and keep in mind that Fincher didn’t write the film.
While working a job in Paris, The Killer (Michael Fassbender) finds himself in a unique scenario after missing a major mark and screwing things up in the process. A trained individual who knows how to disappear, The Killer expertly avoids law enforcement and other spies as he seeks to uncover who hired him in the first place. In this 21st century world, we’ve never had more accessibility to technology than we do now and the ways in which it can be exploited for The Killer’s gain will become apparent to those who doubt him.
Netflix won big with film fans after it was announced David Fincher would be directing The Killer for them with Michael Fassbender at the helm. This was especially great news for fans of Fincher’s Netflix show Mindhunters, as it seemed a show of good faith between the partners. I wasn’t familiar with the French comic book that inspired the story, but the super spy story is one I’ve always enjoyed which made my reaction to this film even more puzzling. On top of moving at a snail’s pace for much of the story, I found the excessive narration tedious, and the film becomes over-reliant on it to move the slow-burning story along. Some narration is fine, but when you’re past 20 minutes of telling me about every thought in your head, it really takes away from the impact of the film.
There are some brilliant bursts of action and violence in this film that are a testimony to the level of work Fincher can perform at, blending outstanding sound design with the use of shadows in a fight. These moments of kinetic chaos are enthralling, drawing you back in at a moment’s notice and helping you forget how long it took to arrive at a moment like this. The story feels overloaded with pop culture references and the use of covid and changes to our lifestyles could have been presented in a less on the nose fashion. It’s odd, because I enjoyed The Killer more than I didn’t, but I have a hard time reconciling with the fact that I left feeling like this was one of the weaker entries from both men.
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