'The Killer' Teases David Fincher's Return To Psychological Thrillers
By Sal LoCicero | October 28, 2023
Director David Fincher and screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker reunite after more than two decades (their first collaboration in 1995 with ‘Se7en) and now they have created a feature adaptation of Alexis Nolent’s French graphic novel, with the same name. ‘The Killer’ shows Michael Fassbender in the lead role as an elite assassin whose job is to kill people. One day after an unexpected incident occurs, The Killer goes out on a manhunt to take down the people who wronged him.
Inspired by 1967’s ‘Le Samouraï’ directed by Jean-Pierre Melville, ‘The Killer’ borrows some similarities to that movie (especially one of the outfits that Fassbender wears in a few scenes) but the majority of it sticks to its own story and style, and while this is not as good as Melville’s technicolor noir, it still is intriguing and highly intense.
After Fincher’s previous film ‘Mank’, he has returned to making psychological thrillers and ‘The Killer’ is a 1 hour and 58 minute announcement from the director that he is back which Fincher makes use of his report by giving us a decent feature.
Michael Fassbender is outstanding, this role is sure to get him back on his feet. He is frightening, within every frame you can see just how deep he is in the role. Fassbender’s narration is where we get inside of his mind, as he shares his thoughts and daily routine. The character’s narration makes him look (and sound) psychotic, there is even some slight dark humor that comes into play, which is all for the better.
The cinematography by Erik Messerschmidt is much better here than it was in ‘Mank’, but it would’ve been helped if Fincher took some of the cinematographers on his other projects to make it look more gritty. There are moments where the main character is in different cities and the picture has more smoothness and clarity, which is to fit the setting of the scenes, but during a lot of the night sequences it would have helped to have had Darius Khondji, who also worked on ‘Se7en’ as cinematographer.
David Fincher hasn’t lost his directing charm at all and he still knows how to handle psychological thrillers (and neo-noir). There is one fight sequence that is directed with such intensity that it will have your chest pumping with anxiety, Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross’ score increases the fierce energy of the scene.
Since this is from the same writer as Se7en (Andrew Kevin Walker), ‘The Killer’ does come off as disappointing, given that the storytelling is not as strong as ‘Se7en’. There is no pervasive shock value, the story is simple, and the ending is a bit underwhelming. But it’s the director (and Michael Fassbender) that keep the movie afloat.
‘The Killer’ includes an amazing performance from Michael Fassbender and it teases more thrillers, like this one, to come from David Fincher.
What are your thoughts?