Fincher Returns to Lean, Mean Form with Fassbender as “The Killer” (2023)

Now on Netflix

Who better to deliver both the deliberate and the deadpan than director David Fincher, who finds his match in phenomenal actor Michael Fassbender as the titular assassin of The Killer (B+)? A master of meticulous procedurals, Fincher places his latest antihero at the helm of tidy chapters in successive global cities with a droll voice-over narrating the nuances of what it means to be a hitman. After an intriguing inciting incident, the main man must maneuver through an episodic series of entertaining gauntlets to untangle a violent labyrinth. There’s a consistent tone of the unexpected in both the action and the humor, and although there’s not a lot of straight-up dialogue, there’s a wonderful sequence opposite the splendid Tilda Swinton that crystallizes the film’s themes. The protagonist’s creative techniques are met with marvelous camera work and music. If the noirish film suffers from any fault, it’s a little too cold and consistent (imagine that from Fincher!) but it’s never tedious or boring. In fact this gritty, graceful feature film is as efficient as a bullet in making its mark.

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