“The Killer” is Here to Open Our Eyes to Our Own Brutality

“The Killer” is Here to Open Our Eyes to Our Own Brutality

The Killer is someone you’ve probably never been. The Killer is a sociopath with a wealth of knowledge and skills. You’ve never been that adept at anything, let alone contract murder. The Killer is silent, deadly, an enigma. Certainly, you’ve never been a ghost amongst the world of the living. Though you may daydreamed about being slick, silent, and cool with blood as cold as ice; you’re full of compassion and empathy.  Well, if this is the case, how come you’re more like The Killer than you think?

The Killer (Michael Fassbender) is a reserved, methodical hitman with a set of rules that keep him in business. Think ”The Transporter,” but much more morbid and stern. He isn’t shy about the mundane nature of his work. It may all seem like action and adventure if you go by all the other movies out there, but through deep and almost trembling voice overs he assures the audience that there is nothing flashy about murder for hire.

As his latest job is taking longer than expected to complete, he finally gets an opening to put a bullet in the body of someone who rubbed someone else the wrong way. That is, till his perfect record is taken away by one fatal move, and the wrong person takes the bullet. Though he gets away safely, someone wasn’t happy with what transpired and when that third party tries to send a message to The Killer–they push the wrong buttons. Out for revenge, nothing will sway The Killers laser focus to remove those who wronged him.

”The Killer” may be the first David Fincher film I’ve thought of positively in a long time. It’s not like I’ve hated or not enjoyed some of his films in the past, but I always felt the general feeling of mass adoration for his work has always been way over-the-top. I know ”The Killer” is based on a French comic. I’m unsure of how much of the overall metaphorical nature of the Andrew Kevin Walker script is his own interpretation compared to the source. Where the Walker/Fincher collaboration of Se7en may have struck a chord with many, the overall message of “The Killer” is far more impressive and prescient. 

Photo : The Killer. Michael Fassbender as an assassin in The Killer. Cr. Netflix ©2023

Yes, the visuals are slick and lush; even when the background for the first 15 minutes of the film is a stripped WeWork space. The almost gravely, full body voiceovers that carry much of the film’s scripted wordplay is intoxicating. The opposite side of the hand looks at a subject audiences think they know is refreshing in many ways. Besides some darkly lit fight scenes and the feeling you’re at a concert for The Smiths, there is a lot to like about “The Killer” on a surface level. But what stands out most, is what it wants to say.

As I’m sitting and watching the film, the normal bouts of anger start to bubble up at small details that don’t match the logical thinking I view films through. The Killer’s myriad of fake IDs are all names of famous TV characters. I think to myself, how many younger viewers are going to get the joke? Does the name Felix Unger immediately send up signals to them like it does for me? Do they know who Sam Malone is? Maybe that is the point? Maybe we are at a point where someone can use the most obvious fake famous names as they want, and no one would bat an eye. The more you think about it, the more it opens up and when you see the point for all that it is worth, you can’t help but smile with sadness.

The Killer’s overall recurring note to himself is as such; “Don’t let any empathy in, stick to the plan, don’t deviate.” That’s paraphrasing, but you’ll hear him say it to himself, over and over. You might think that there is no way you are as bad of a person as The Killer, and there lies the rub. Our society as a whole is only focused on one thing. We just want the best for ourselves. We’ll do anything, say anything, to get ahead. We say we care about others, but could care less to help unless it benefits ourselves. But in the end, even though we may not commit actual murder, we’re no different and no better than the man who willingly murders with no remorse. 

Photo : The Killer. Tilda Swinton as The Expert in The Killer. Cr. Netflix ©2023

Final Grade: B+

Check out more of Matthew’s articles. 

Here’s the trailer of the film.

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