David Fincher is one of my favorite living directors, who started directing music videos but went on to make classic films such as Se7en, Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac, and Gone Girl. Much of his work is about obsession, and The Killer fits right in, about a hired assassin (Michael Fassbender) who’s a perfectionist.
The film opens with the nameless killer on a stakeout in Paris awaiting his target, and through Fassbender’s voiceover, we’re in the killer’s head as he reminds himself to “forbid empathy” and explains how much patience his mostly boring job takes, rationalizing murder by remembering all the people who die every day. What he does means little in the overall scheme. He explains that he dresses like a German tourist because Parisians hate German tourists, so it makes him invisible and easily ignored. It’s the kind of slow-burn procedural Fincher loves.
Fassbender is terrific as the seasoned, remorseless assassin, who knows that when the Paris job goes wrong, he’s opened up a world of hurt for himself and the only person he cares about, his partner with whom he shares a home in the Dominican Republic. What follows is him cleaning up his mess the only way he knows how. (129 min.)