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Flix at :48: The Killer

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Movie poster for the action thriller film The Killer
Theatrical release poster

Remember when I said in last week's review Meg Ryan is back in movie theaters and what a surprise that was? Well now I'm saying it again, but this time Michael Fassbender is back in a mainstream film. The Oscar-nominated actor has not been in anything since the 2019 X-Men film Dark Phoenix, and this hiatus has been too long.

The Killer is a new release on Netflix with Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs, 2015) as an aloof solitary assassin whose latest assignment goes fearfully wrong. This title is a little misleading, because there isn't a lot of violence in this film except for one messy beach house fight between two men and a pit bull. When he fails to kill his latest target, The Killer shifts to a story of escape to refuge to retaliation to vengeance.

Thanks to David Fincher's (Mank, 2020) thoughtful and cerebral direction, this film is less of an explosive action romp and more of a plaintive psychological examination of a man trying to do his job and trying to keep his head. Michael Fassbender is always enthralling to watch in this, because he moves with such a committed and believable gracefulness. Even the way he changes his clothes or assembles his rifle is done with such a smooth controlled silence. He's like a swan crossed with a mountain lion. Nothing he does looks awkward or trepidatious.

The Killer is adapted from a graphic novel series first published in French in 2018 written by Alexis "Mantz" Nolent and illustrated by Luc Jacamon. So being from a dark serious book, David Fincher relishes in creating dimly-lit rooms and gloomy urban settings which he does beautifully in all his films.

But we all know the list of somber action films centered around a conflicted man who uses lots of guns is infinitely long and only seems to keep getting longer. (John Wick: Chapter 4 was released earlier this year along with The Equalizer 3 and Expend4bles.......maybe these are bad examples for the type of action film I'm describing.) So since The Killer is a new addition to this giant genre, it remains interesting but doesn't contribute anything especially thrilling or different.

This film is reminiscent of other internally-focused, quiet, assassin films like The Long Goodbye (1973), The American (2010), The Hunter (2011), and You Were Never Really Here (2017). I even felt a bit reminded of other, less obvious, films The Conversation (1974), Hannah (2011), and Atomic Blonde (2017). The Killer isn't amazing or new.....but it's entertaining, and the inner monologues narrated by Michael Fassbender have the calming seduction of an ASMR expert. Love you, Michael!


Casey T. Allen is a native of Utah who graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor's degree in English in 2007. He has worked in many capacities throughout USU campus and enjoys his time at UPR to continually exercise his writing.