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  • Writer's pictureJack Salvadori

Venice #80 - The Killer

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

David Fincher takes us back to his comfort zone: serial killers. Diametrically opposite to Zodiac, where we never really even see the murderer, The Killer sticks us in the head of an assassin (Michael Fassbinder) for the entire movie. Massively inspired by Melville’s Le Samouraï, the film drifts in his methodical stream of consciousness as he coldheartedly performs his hits.

When a hit goes wrong, and his home is assaulted, he goes on a killing streak seeking safeness, and revenge. During his inner soliloquies, he repeats to himself that he doesn’t have empathy. Is he a psychopath, or is he merely trying to be as a self-defence mechanism to cover his guilt and loneliness? He follows his methods meticulously, and yet he commits several mistakes- he can be sloppy.

Perhaps it’s a autobiographical statement - Fincher being a controlling director by the book, calculated and analytical, but unfortunately not always enough to his the target (ehm ehm Mank). They’re both into the “shooting” business after all, although using different weapons.

The most interesting aspect of the film, and what makes it truly stand out, is its adaptability to modernity. So many thrillers struggle today, and are set a few decades back, as modern life is not obviously applicable to genre conventions. Could you imagine North by Northwest if they had cellphones? Or The Conversation with an internet connection? Fincher instead smartly turn modernity into his strength, making the film more realistic and fresh.

A solid genre movie, Fincher’s The Killer will hold your breath like a sniper about to pull the trigger.


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