The Killer Has One of the Year's Best Supporting Performances
The other girls ain’t no Diva.
An unnamed assassin (Michael Fassbender) is on a revenge mission in The Killer, a job that’s narrated by his own circuitous thoughts. “Anticipate, don’t improvise; Fight only the battle you’re paid to fight.” It’s an endless ouroboros of him thinking one thing and doing the opposite. He should resist the muck of personal investment, he tells himself, ignoring the fact that he’s outsourced his killer instinct to settle a very personal score. When he makes a kill shot in France that misses its target, goons are dispatched to beat up his girlfriend. The killer retraces their steps and collects a body count along the way.
If that sounds thin, it’s because it is: watching The Killer, I got how easy it is to get exhausted with Fincher. The camera makes slick movements, and there are some predictable jabs at brands (paired with heavy product placement), but this movie about a hired gun feels like it was made by one. Any plot or character feels like a requisite for a few well-choreographed, well-shot fight scenes, one with guns, another with mind games.
But even middling movies can announce the arrival of a major new star. About halfway through the killer (again, Fassbender) tracks down the muscle man (Sala Baker, playing The Brute) responsible for the girlfriend’s beating. The Brute lives in Florida, and the Killer circles his house, preparing his attack. Until The Killer, tracking The Brute, is stopped in his tracks by The Diva
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