Review: The Killer – Sharp shooter

Directed by David Fincher
Starring Michael Fassbender, Sophie Charlotte, Charles Parnell, Tilda Swinton


Dealing with murderers, criminals, and assassins once again, director David Fincher is working in familiar territory. But what sets The Killer apart from his other work is how damn direct it is, where it’s able to be revealing about its titular main character all the while moving forward and never looking back, which is very much like this killer character himself.

This killer (Michael Fassbender) claims to be a consummate professional, someone who can deal with all that comes with being a hitman-for-hire. But when he botches a job in France, he comes home to find his girlfriend (Sophie Charlotte) has been badly assaulted, as a way of making good on his failed assignment.

He takes it upon himself to get to his boss and find out who did this. This sends him on a linear path where he finds and interrogates/fights one person after another in different locations, taking him from his home in the Dominican Republic to New Orleans, Florida, New York, and finally Chicago.

What may be most entertaining about the film is the killer’s narration, which takes up a large chunk of the film and expresses his methodical approach to a highly methodical profession. He speaks firstly of the boredom of the job and how one must have a meditative calmness when working (listening to music, namely The Smiths, helps him), yet he does show a number of times contradictions to his philosophy—he claims “never trust anyone,” and he’s a good example of that.

This is an immensely slick film, with incredible detail packed away in the production and the scenery. It’s an astonishing-looking film, with incredible attention to how immaculate and deliberate every shot looks, even though there’s some over-reliance on crude-looking CGI that brings that professionalism down a bit.

As enjoyable as the film is as a quickly-paced sharp shooter, once it’s finished, it doesn’t feel like there may be a whole lot of substance or deeper meaning to this one, unlike a number of other Fincher movies that can be dissected for decades. Hovering around the surface level, The Killer still works incredibly well as an air-tight tale of a cold-blooded assassin going by his own path to retribution, which is so slickly and immaculately crafted that it grabs your attention and never lets it go.