The latest film from three-time Academy Award nominee David Fincher is now streaming on Netflix, but this isn’t just another standard popcorn flick. The platform has become a bit cookie-cutter over the last several years with repetitive, big-budget slop like Red Notice and The Gray Man, but Fincher has produced a hit the service can be proud of with The Killer.
What the acclaimed director accomplishes with only one lead and no supporting cast is exceptional. This movie is already a massive hit for Netflix — currently in the top 10 — but would’ve been a remarkable theater experience. The Killer takes a unique approach to storytelling that pays off splendidly with exquisite narrative ambiance and a commanding performance from Michael Fassbender.
Netflix’s ‘The Killer’ Is a Hitman-Style Story Unlike Any You’ve Ever Seen
The Killer makes it apparent from the beginning that it respects the viewer’s intelligence. While some movies rely on obvious exposition to move the plot forward, Fincher leans more into acute narration, and Fassbender executes his vision to perfection. Narration is not an uncommon tactic, but it’s more often used to describe what’s happening in a more obvious way. The Killer (Fassbender) doesn’t recount his actions as much as his process and internal reasoning. He lays out a plan and builds towards it precisely one chapter at a time to progress the story with writhing anticipation.
The plot is structured into chapters which usually focus on a different target in a different setting. Moving to different locations worldwide such as Paris, The Dominican Republic, and New Orleans allows for a striking contrast in the cinematography. Although each chapter is clearly defined with a location and target, it doesn’t make what’s happening any more obvious. Fincher ensures the world surrounding The Killer is equally as interesting as the character himself, with unusual situations and obstacles in each chapter for the protagonist to overcome.
The sound design contributes to the world feeling authentic and lived-in. Movies too often forget when focusing on an important event that the world outside that bubble continues to function. The entire world thrives between the lines of ambiance, not singling in or losing focus on what’s happening in the background. This incredible attention to detail adds a level to the stakes that would be otherwise absent without it. One small slip-up or mistake could lead to death, which makes every choice feel exponentially more dangerous.
Michael Fassbender Has the Screen Almost Entirely to Himself
There are simply not enough words in the English language to adequately praise Michael Fassbender’s performance in The Killer. The actor’s ability to portray emotion completely absent of expression is on display first-hand here. His look remains unfazed throughout, but it’s apparent through his body language and narration exactly how he’s feeling. The only other notable cast members are Tilda Swinton (Doctor Strange) and Charles Parnell (Top Gun: Maverick), but their screen time is dismal at best. For Fassbender to be so remarkably captivating as the only person on screen for most of the film deserves a Best Actor nod.
If there is anything to critique about The Killer, it’s that the plot is very standard and not particularly moving. Fincher makes up for the weaker story with the other elements of storytelling previously covered, so much so that the weaker story is hardly noticeable. There are, however, instances when you find yourself wondering “What exactly is he doing here again?” and although these questions resolve themselves in the concluding confrontation, it can still be a bit distracting at times. This story is one you invest in because of the “who” (The Killer) and the “how,” (captivating and grueling methods) not the “why” (standard revenge plot).
Netflix Needs More Movies Like David Fincher’s ‘The Killer’
Unfortunately, The Killer isn’t breaking streaming records like 2021’s Red Notice did, but it’s still one of the best movies the platform has to offer. Netflix has proven over the years it will continuously tap into the well of what is successful, so if The Killer finishes with less-than-satisfactory numbers, it may be the last of its kind. Ultimately, with a concise one-hour and 58-minute runtime, brilliant storytelling, and an unforgettable performance, The Killer is not only worth the watch but utterly deserving of it.
The Killer is now streaming on Netflix. Follow the Agents of Fandom socials for all the latest reviews and entertainment news.
'The Killer' Review'The Killer' Review
- Michael Fassbender gives an outstanding performance.
- Fincher provides a truly unique approach to the story.
- The cinematography is breathtaking.
- The story is weak in comparison to other aspects of the film.