The Killer (2023) Venice Film Festival 2023

September 4th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: David Fincher | Cast: Michael Fassbender, Tilda Swinton, Arliss Howard | US Thriller 118′

David Fincher is back with another noir crime thriller that sees a philosophising hitman reflect on the meticulous precision and emotional detachment required for his day to day existence. But life is what happens when we’re making plans – as the saying goes – and  this ‘gun for hire’ is slowly going round the bend.

Premiering in competition at Venice Film Festival, The Killer, adapted from the French graphic novel by Alexis ‘Matz’ Nolent, stars Michael Fassbender as the hired assassin whose diurnal activities are voiced over by drole observations (“weakness is vulnerability”, “avoid empathy”) making this all the more intelligent and captivating, even when it descends into brutal violence. Even these scenes are sleekly choreographed in Fincher’s crisp direction and Andrew Kevin Walker’s lean script.

In the rooftops of Paris the unnamed killer is staking his target out, Day of the Jackal style. But too much time spent in preparation can often impact on performance. And this is one of the twists in a tale that sees the hitman running to keep still, as we soon discover: The Killer is an intellectual performance rather than a plot-driven one.

Sadly a woman, his girlfriend (Monique Ganderton), gets in the way of his day job after a home invasion goes wrong, And this blows him off a course leading him on a peripatetic journey to the Caribbean, New York, Chicago, Florida and New Orleans Caribbean and to unpick the mess. A gripping and highly enjoyable foray that keeps us on our toes with plenty of eye candy thanks to DoP of the moment Erik Messerschmidt. MT



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