The Killer, review: Michael Fassbender’s great return

The review of The Killer, David Fincher’s film based on the graphic novel of the same name by Matz with Michael Fassbender in the role of a professional killer.

The Killer, review: Michael Fassbender's great return

It’s curious: the best of cinema David Fincher often has to do with i serial killer. Since Seven (1995), the director put us inside the minds of perfectly organized sociopaths, both real and fictional. Let’s think about the masterpiece Zodiac (2007), dedicated to the truth Killer of the Zodiac, who shed blood and terror in the San Francisco of the 60s and 70s. Or to the misogynistic one of Millenniun – Men who hate women (2011). In the TV series Mindhunter (2017-2019) even introduced us to an entire team, from Edmund Kemper to Charles Manson. And just when the whole world has been clamoring for a third season for years – which, unfortunately, it seems will never arrive -, Fincher behaves almost sadistically, shifting his attention to another story dedicated to a professional killer . There review by The Killer by David Fincher Comes from Venezia 2023where the film was presented in competition.

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The Killer: Michael Fassbender in un’immagine

Based on the homonym graphic novel di Matz e Luc Jacamon, The Killer, on Netflix from November 10thfollows the professional (mis)adventures of a killer nameless. Or rather, of someone who uses many of them, but of which we never know the real one. Methodical, trained, concentrated: the assassin is a true professional, who studies his plans down to the smallest detail, dedicating every aspect of his life to the pursuit of perfection. He neglects nothing: food, clothes, technology. Yet, during a mission like many in Paris, the unthinkable happens: he makes a mistake. He himself, who hates improvisation, must change quickly. With dangerous consequences.

Maybe it’s a topic to explore with his analyst, but it’s undeniable that Fincher has a passion for characters who love control. Who knows if for a transfer with his work: in a certain sense even a director must always calculate every probability, think about all the consequences, act quickly in case of unforeseen events. Or perhaps this type of story simply allows him to stage the situations he knows how to deal with best: tension, drama, existential questions. His hand is obviously decisive, but this film wouldn’t be the same without its perfect protagonist: Michael Fassbender.

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Michael Fassbender è The Killer

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The Killer: Michael Fassbender at one point in the film

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Michael Fassbender on screen. The actor of Hunger e Steve Jobs he took a break for a few years and finally returns, right at the Venice Film Festival, where in 2011 he won the Volpi Cup for best leading actor for Shame by Steve McQueen. David Fincher gave him a perfect role for him: apparently cold and without empathy, this killer soon discovers that he has feelings. Maybe not nobles, considering that The Killer it soon becomes a revenge film, but when everything becomes less planned and more confusing we begin to understand him better and – almost – to put ourselves in his anonymous shoes.

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The Killer: Michael Fassbender in a photo from the film

He kills professionally, but in doing so he questions the unwritten laws that regulate the world. And if his work has taught him that where there is money there is a group of few who control and oppress the many, the unpredictability of human beings shows him that being part of the few is very difficult. And he almost always requires the denial of everything that makes us human. The error is not permissible. Not even rest. The affections don’t even talk about it.

From a simple entertainment film, Fincher puts it into his own The Killer also several reflections on capitalism and contemporary society, in which everything is within reach clic and being invisible is practically impossible. Fassbender is the perfect instrument to represent these contradictions: his gaze is often icy, but in an instant he warms up with all kinds of emotions. His irony is biting, as is his dry and angular physique.

The Killer: Fincher’s direction is a guarantee

The first 20 minutes of The Killer they are formidable. We literally enter the protagonist’s head. Then, as we were saying, the film becomes a revenge movie, quite conventional. What makes the difference is, in addition to the skill of the protagonist, Fincher’s direction, which could probably make even the printing of flyers exciting. In addition to the opening, the author gives us at least two other memorable sequences: a fight in the dark in an apartment (beautiful, here too nothing is left to chance, everything is calculated to perfection, almost as if it were a ballet, making the viewer understand everything at all times, without the typical confusion of those who don’t know how to shoot action scenes) and a dialogue with the Oscar winner Tilda Swinton. Needless to say, an added value. As always.

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The Killer: Tilda Swinton in una scena

We are not faced with one of Fincher’s best films, perhaps not even a competition film at a film festival, but The Killer It’s an excellent genre film that entertains with style and keeps you glued to your seat. Who knows, maybe one day there could be a crossover between Fassbender’s killer and the profilers protagonists of Mindhunter. And the circle would be complete. Yes, let us dream: the cancellation of the series is a wound that can never be healed. Something for which we really should hire someone who can convince Fincher to reconsider. While waiting for a miracle, let’s enjoy this entertainment by one of the best living directors.


As written in the review of The Killer, David Fincher’s film is inspired by Matz’s graphic novel of the same name: it is the story of a professional assassin, who has the angular and icy face of Michael Fassbender, finally returning to the big screen after a few years of hiatus. Ironic, methodical, relentless: preparation is everything for him. But when the unthinkable happens, he makes a mistake – of all people! -he has to improvise, with bloody consequences. A good genre film that entertains with style, enhanced by an excellent performance by Fassbender and a cameo by Oscar winner Tilda Swinton.

Because we like it

  • Directed by David Fincher.
  • The interpretation of Michael Fassbender, finally returning to the big screen.
  • Oscar winner Tilda Swinton cameo.
  • The score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
  • The opening sequence is one of the best fight scenes seen in recent years.

What’s wrong

  • In the central part The Killer becomes a fairly conventional revenge movie.

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