Director David Fincher’s perfectionism can lead to his films feeling cold and clinical, which some viewers may find off-putting. I feel that it generally suits the material he is covering, as in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl, Seven, and The Social Network, and so it should be no surprise that I found it equally apt for this tale of a nihilistic assassin, played with icy menace by Michael Fassbender.
When we first meet our unnamed “protagonist” he is holed up in an abandoned WeWork facility across the street from a luxurious Parisian hotel awaiting the arrival of his target. When the job goes wrong, he flees back to his hideout in the Dominican Republic only to find that his girlfriend was viciously attacked by someone looking for him in retribution for his mistake. Enraged, he sets out to get revenge on those responsible, with little regard for anyone who gets in his way.
It’s an interesting concept, and a tricky one to pull off. The Killer is most definitely not a good person, and yet we are being led to root for his success. In spite of the ongoing philosophizing in his head that seems designed to appeal exclusively to jaded young men, it’s hard not to get invested in his pursuit of “justice”, a testament to Fassbender’s skills as an actor and Fincher’s as a director. As is typical of his films, The Killer is meticulously framed and staged, maintaining suspense throughout, no doubt also partially due to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s eerie electronic score. The ending winds up feeling a little anticlimactic, but the journey is so enjoyably well-executed its sins are easily forgiven. ★★★★
rated r for strong violence, language, and brief sexuality.
★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor