The Killer (2023)

The Killer (2023)

A perfectly pitched crime thriller that's David Fincher's best film in a decade

The Very Best

8.4

Movie

United States of America
English, French, Spanish
Crime, Thriller
2023
DAVID FINCHER
Arliss Howard, Bernard Bygott, Brandon Morales
118 min

TLDR

Assassin Fassbender AND a Smiths needle drop? Yes, yes, and yes.

What it's about

A highly-skilled assassin (Michael Fassbender) is tasked with a straightforward mission; how great can the cost of a mishap be anyway?

The take

David Fincher's return to form almost ten years after Gone Girl turns the eponymous French graphic novel series into a stone-cold stunner. The Killer can be described as a crime thriller and a neo noir, but it's perfectly Fincherian in the ways it withholds information from the viewer, building up suspense in a masterful rhythm. The film opens on the inside of a construction site—a WeWork office to-be—where our Killer stalks his pray across the street. A rather static beginning, where nothing much happens: one may question the thriller qualities of the film during its first act for similar reasons, but just give it time; that's exactly what The Killer would say. But little does he know that time is something he doesn't have much of...

What stands out

Unsurprisingly, Michael Fassbender is the perfect lead for such a subdued, violent piece. An actor whose emotional range has been challenged in quieter roles such as Shame's Brandon (multi-award nominee), he knows how to bottle up unspoken background traumas in his indecipherable male characters. The way he plays the lead—the nameless Killer—though includes a lot of self-reflexive, provocatively boring voiceover monologues, where Fassbinder's line delivery is paramount to his performance. Perhaps you never thought of him as a voice actor because of his striking physical presence (and I mean the gravity he exudes, not just the undisputed good looks), but part of the reason The Killer toes the line between self-deprecation and upmarket psychological thriller is precisely the Irish actor's low hum, his cadence, and patient pauses in his narration.

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