After ‘Seven’ and ‘Zodiac’ director David Fincher continues his fascination with killers with his latest film, appropriately enough titled, The Killer. Based on the graphic novel of the same name the director reunited with his ‘Seven’ screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker for a story of a hitman played with glacial cool by Michael Fassbender. Sat in an empty WeWork office opposite a luxury Paris hotel he waits and watches with a high power rifle for his target to appear. There’s little dialogue throughout the film and right from the start it is nearly all voiceover as the hitman ruminates on a range of issues (often to a terrific sound track that includes The Smiths) as well as reciting his own mantra to himself, ‘Stick to the plan, Anticipate don’t improvise, empathy is weakness, trust no one’ and so on. But it’s when the hit goes wrong that in a rare moment of rare and Fincher’s typically Fincher twisted humour he asks himself, ‘What would John Wilkes Booth do?’
Like the graphic novel the film is split into chapters and an epilogue as The Killer, whose real name we never know but goes under a seemingly endless number of aliases as he travels around the world on fake passports and credit cards. With his employer finding that the hit has gone awry and the hitman returning to his Dominican Republic luxury villa where he finds his partner brutalized but still, just, alive and embarks on a roaring rampage of revenge working his way up the chain. Except it’s not a roaring rampage. Fassbender’s hitman is remarkably calm almost serene as he goes about his business even in one brutal and bloody fight scene he doesn’t seem to break a sweat.
The Killer, not to be confused with Hong Kong action maestro John Woo’s classic, has been a pet project for Fincher that he has been developing for years and is a fantastic return to form for Fassbender who took several years out from acting after a string of flops that included X-Men Dark Phoenix, The Snowman, Alien Covenant, and Assassin’s Creed. Fincher’s film is as coolly assured as might be expected from a film maker fastidious in attention to detail and stylish in execution regardless that the plot is ultimately absurd but The Killer is a terrifically tense thriller that’s stylish and utterly absorbing.
related feature: Craig Fairbrass talks ‘Rise of the Footsoldier Vengeance’
Here’s The Killer…..
THE KILLER is OUT NOW in select UK cinemas and on Netflix from 10th November