What Is the Story About?
Michael Fassbender uses his wiry physicality to excellent effect as the ruthless assassin, known only as The Killer. His piercing eyes and stoic countenance help him pull off the chilling character to perfection. Tilda Swinton has a short appearance as The Client. She makes her presence felt, nevertheless. The rest of the cast is suitably adequate.
If there’s one thing that stands out in David Fincher’s The Killer, it is the trademark treatment he reserves for crime thrillers such as this one. Slick and stylish, The Killer has all the elements that make cloaks and daggers enthusiasts go into rupturous delight. Interesting modus operandi, sleek weapons, escalating body count, smart talk – The Killer has it all.
What it doesn’t have, though, is an equally smart plotline. At the end of the day, The Killer is all style, no substance, and plain talk — lots and lots of it. The movie begins with the character, known only as The Killer, wasting time in an empty WeWork office. For 20 straight minutes, as day turns to night and day again, does nothing much, except keep watch on the window opposite his; and keep up a constant mental monologue — with himself, and the audience, of course.
Pep talk, sane advice, psychotherapy, and some good ol’ maxims – his chatter includes all of this, and more. “Stick to the plan. Anticipate, don’t improvise”, and “Empathy is weakness. Weakness is vulnerability”, “Trust no one. Never yield an advantage”, he says, over and over to himself. And the best – “Of those who like to put their faith in the inherent goodness of mankind, I have to ask, “Based on what, exactly?”
Yes, the dialogues are crisp and sharp, with the potential to stick around for years after the release of the movie; much like Fincher’s other – cult film, Fight Club. Again, it’s the lack of a smart storyline that galls, for the movie-lover looking for a slick plot to go with the sassy lines.
The solitary action sequence in the film is excellent, where The Killer fights with the character known only as The Brute (Sala Baker). The entire fight takes plays with the two in silhouette, adding a unique edge to it. That is the only noteworthy sequence in the film, however. The killings are clinical at best, and take place in too simplistic a manner to leave any kind of lasting impression on the viewer.
The movie has a couple of inadvertently funny moments – when The Killer needs an escape plan and wonders to himself – “WWJWBD. What would John Wilkes Booth do?”. And second, when a key character in the film is described as “looks like a Q tip” – it’s laugh-out-loud funny, when you know who the described character is.
The Killer is based on Alexis Nolent’s French comic Le Tueur; and the movie captures the dark edgy feel of the comic exceptionally well. The most outstanding element of The Killer is the characterisation of the protagonist. The only music he listens to is The Smiths. He’s got an obsession with keeping track of his pulse rate, bringing it down to 60, before he takes a shot at his target. He fulfils his protein needs at the nearby McDonald’s. These and other quirks make him an infinitely interesting character.
To sum it up, The Killer is a good as a one-time watch. You might enjoy it, but only if you don’t set your expectations too high. That notwithstanding, The Killer is destined to go down in Netflix’s ever-growing list of movies that are forgotten as quickly as they come.
Music and Other Departments?
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ background score for the film is unnerving and edgy in equal measure. It suits the narrative to the T. Erik Messerschmidt’s camerawork is excellent, and the highlight of the film. Kirk Baxter’s editing is crisp and efficient.
David Fincher’s trademark sleekness
Lack of a riveting storyline
All style and no substance
Did I Enjoy It?
I found it average
Will You Recommend It?
Only as a one-time watch
The Killer Movie Review by Binged Bureau