David Fincher is returning to directing thrillers after a 3-year break. He has built a reputation for being one of the most creative and stylish directors in dark, suspenseful films like Se7en, Gone Girl, and Zodiac. Fincher likes to keep viewers guessing and on edge.
That combination of playful misdirection and cold elegance is back in his new film, The Killer. It’s based on a graphic novel by Alexis “Matz” Nolent about a nameless assassin. This calculated killer is a total professional who obsesses over every detail and has an impressive track record. His disciplined mantras keep him totally focused, never questioning his morals. But then a big assignment goes very wrong, and suddenly, he’s a wanted man. His old employers are hunting him, and trying to vanish doesn’t work.
So, the assassin is left with one option: use his elite skills to eliminate the ones pursuing him, especially one main rival who matches his abilities. Now, the hunter has become the hunted.
The Killer release date
The Killer is heading to Netflix and will be released globally on November 10, 2023. You can get a Netflix account for $6.99 to $19.99 per month.
The Killer trailer
This new film seems to have all of Fincher’s usual directing style. But his approach to manipulating the audience has changed. Gone is that satisfying feeling of realizing you’ve been tricked by a masterful storyteller. Instead, there is something more basic and childlike.
Once the central chase scenario is set up, the complexities fade away. A running gag takes over, one that quickly draws you in to look for it reappearing. It’s fun and humorous, something to discuss afterwards, but also distracting. This joke likely won’t land for everyone and doesn’t really add much. At most, it vaguely suggests the stoic assassin has a dark sense of humor reflecting his disregard for others. But that’s reaching.
So the thrill of being cleverly misled by Fincher is replaced by a repetitive joke. This repetitive bit gets you watching for it, but doesn’t enhance the film or character development. It’s a giggle, but comes with the downsides of potential confusion and lacking deeper meaning.
Looking deeper, Fincher explores more personal ground. This assassin is supposedly the best, but now has faced his first failure. It has essentially destroyed him, reflecting the fragile nature of his work – and filmmaking too.
This is Fincher’s first movie since 2020’s Mank, which wasn’t a huge success. Before that, his films and shows like Mindhunter were all hits. But one miss can change everything. Failure can be crushing.
Fincher himself hasn’t made a feature in 3 years after Mank underperformed. Prior, he had a strong run of acclaimed projects. But failure is always a threat, even for the top talents. Just like this assassin who finally slipped up, one mistake can shake your confidence. So this flawed killer perhaps reflects Fincher’s own vulnerability and pressure to deliver in a precarious industry.
The idea of failure also extends to Fincher’s lead actor choice. Michael Fassbender has been away acting for 4 years, spending time racing cars instead. He had some successful roles, but films like Dark Phoenix and The Snowman were critically panned and his star power faded. Like the assassin, his flawless skills slipped.
Now Fassbender returns, working with Fincher for the first time in an ice-cold role he’s perfectly suited for, able to disappear in a crowd. It’s an ideal match of actor and director that leaves you wanting more collaborations.
Visually, The Killer is a stylish neo-noir full of mesmerizing details, immediately drawing you in with an lengthy but engaging opening sequence. Fincher structures it neatly into 6 chapters plus a prologue and epilogue. We get narration from the assassin himself and cleverly used Smiths songs that both entertain and match the story.
Fincher is back in welcome form. But is this his best work? Not quite. He delivers a film with pace and potency, yet lacks depth, not exploring the themes enough. It’s an entertaining and lean thriller, but missing some substance. While showcasing Fincher’s skills, it doesn’t fully deliver on the promise of his return.
The cast of The Killer
Michael Fassbender stars as the unnamed assassin known simply as The Killer. He is a meticulous professional hitman who starts to unravel when a job goes wrong. Fassbender’s cold intensity is perfect for playing this icy, ruthless killer.
Tilda Swinton takes on the role of The Expert, a seasoned veteran in the shadowy world of contract killings. She acts as a handler for The Killer, hiring out his services. Swinton brings her trademark eccentricity to the character.
Charles Parnell plays The Lawyer, referred to as Hodges. He is hired by one of The Killer’s former employers to track him down. Parnell portrays him as a smooth, calculating operator.
Arliss Howard is The Client, a wealthy businessman named Claybourne who hires The Killer for the job that ultimately backfires. Howard makes him seem powerful yet shady.
Other characters include Kerry O’Malley as Dolores, an assassin colleague; Sophie Charlotte as Magdala, a mysterious woman from The Killer’s past; and Emiliano Pernía as Marcus, a lethal henchman sent to eliminate The Killer.
The cast helps bring to life the shadowy world of assassins and the tense cat-and-mouse game at the heart of the thriller. Fassbender and Swinton especially stand out in their roles.
The story and the cast look promising, and we would definitely watch The Killer. We would recommend you to do the same as it is a Fincher movie and he is back after three years of waiting.
Here is our review of the movie, we hope you will like it.