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The Killer

Posted on the 09 December 2023 by Sirmac2 @macthemovieguy

Where I Watched It: Netflix

English Audio Description Provided By: International Digital Center

Written By Liz Gutman

Narrated By: Jamie Lemcheck

In some regards, streaming deals have been very good to certain filmmakers. Martin Scorsese, for example, has benefitted a lot from having large budgets for his films The Irishman and Killers Of The Flower Moon, two adult dramas that never would have been handed that much money for a film looking to recoup money at the box office. Then we have David Fincher and his Netflix deal, which led to the underrated Mindhunter, but also the overrated Mank. I honestly believe the awards attention given to Mank would have been dramatically reduced if that had been released in a normal year. Just look at the reception to The Killer, which is certainly not any worse, yet is getting very little awards buzz. Mank managed a Best Picture nomination. The Killer will be lucky to get a technical recognition.

Michael Fassbender stars as the titular assassin, and I do mean titular, as we never learn his true name. In his reteaming with Seven scribe Andrew Kevin Walker, Fincher and Walker have chosen to leave his true identity out of the equation, and instead bring a little fun to all the aliases used throughout the film. Some will recognize them all immediately, and it’s easily one of the best bits in the film.

but this nameless assassin also rarely speaks, but says a lot. Most of what we experience is inner monolog. But, visually, this is a tense assassin thriller, much in the same vein as John Wick, where targets must be taken out, even if we aren’t sure why. It becomes more clear as the film progresses, which is a testament to the idea coming through, since there’s so little we really know about Fassbender, and he rarely has a conversation.

Fassbender has far more screen time than anyone else in the movie, though he does have a scene or two with Tilda Swinton, who does some lovely work. of the people who breeze through this film, she makes the most lasting impact, and has a lot to say with her time on screen. It reminded me a lot of a certain scene in V For vendetta, the context will be more clear to anyone who sees both. Acceptance.

Fincher uses a lot of radio friendly hits during the film, which somewhat distract from the score provided by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, but the score is nice when it is there. of the scores they have done, I feel like this is one of their more thankless efforts.

Fassbender is a strong presence, doing well with the occasional moments of levity, handling long internal monologues, and tackling the physical demands of being the top assassin in the game. It’s a good performance from him, but he’s had some more memorable roles, and 2023 has certainly been a year to showcase others.

Audio description wise, what Liz Gutman’s script does well lies in the minutia of a scene where Fassbender spends far too long staring into a sniper scope, or where he sneaks almost in darkness to his target. He also faces off against a dog, and that battle was well described. but, Fincher movies are always stylish, and having seen so many of them before losing my sight, I find him to be hard to translate his visual style into audio description. he often has very specific shots, and is a notoriously dedicated director who will take as many takes as he needs until he gets just the right shot. I imagine this is a very well shot film, but a lot of what director’s like Fincher bring to the table are lost in the audio description that is focused a lot on who, what, where, when, why, and how.

Like Mank, it’s far rom being my favorite Fincher film, and I still want to see him turn things back around. What happened to the guy who made such bold choices in films like The Game, Fight Club, Seven, Panic Room, Zodiac, and Gone Girl? Where is the guy that directed The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button or The Girl With The Dragon tattoo? Neither Mank or The Killer feel like they are directed by that guy. I want that guy back.

Although, to be fair, while I can’t say this about Mank, I do actually enjoy The Killer more than The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but that’s about it of his older works. It’s a fine film, but Fincher is one of the best and most consistent auteurs alive. Good isn’t good enough.

Final Grade: B

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