Starring: Michael Fassbender
A wonderful combination of player, piece, and conductor, The Killer is a symphony of sound and fury that’s fascinating to experience, if not easy to watch. It’s an assassin’s take-your-child-to-work day, and we’re the kid, along for the ride into a world we know nothing about. That Fincher & Fassbender do wonders is no surprise at all, so sights were already set high for this one, and nothing will exactly disappoint. But The Killer isn’t a masterwork, it’s simply a well-made film, which is plenty for a Netflix drop and more than most movies can offer anyway.
A top-notch, underground assassin prepares for yet another kill, and he’s never missed yet. In fact, he has no emotions and makes no mistakes, so he’s perfect for the job, and we’re lucky to be introduced to the world of murder by someone so successful. But the tiniest mistake sets badly-greased wheels in motion, and we watch as the killer’s well-constructed mechanism throws a gear or two. As he spirals into chaos, he contemplates the choices that he’s made, and the life that might have been his if he was simply more human.
One of the best things about Les Miserables (the book) is that a character will debate with themselves for twenty pages about the moral path they should take, finally come to a decision, and then immediately do the exact opposite for no knowable reason. That’s human nature perhaps, mistakes and misdeeds, and that’s exactly what The Killer investigates, the idea that we want to be perfect but we just can’t do it. The assassin is much more flawed than he wants to believe, and he’s discovering this one step of his spiral downward at a time. That’s the best part of the film, that and the performance of Fassbender, who is always incredible. Fincher brings his A-game as well, with signature shots but fresh appeal. The Killer is interesting and introspective, but also a little funny and plenty bloody. I don’t know if it can be called brilliant, but it’s solid from every angle, and a film you could recommend to about anyone.
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆