“The Killer” is now streaming on Netflix.

(“The Killer” trailer courtesy of Netflix)

The mind of a hit man and/or psychopath could be fascinating.

What does it take for a person to disregard human life in such a callous way?

Unfortunately, “The Killer” does not come off very fascinating or killer at all, just repetitive and dull because of the monotone narration by the main character.

In “The Killer,” The Killer (that is his actual character name besides the fact that he has millions of aliases, identification cards and credit cards) has killing down to a science from the music that puts him in the mood to his desired heart rate.

He has a mantra that he repeats in his head so that he can complete his job, get out of dodge without drawing attention to himself and collect a handsome paycheck at the end of the day.

Filmmaker David Fincher presents “The Killer” like an audiovisual book with the protagonist narrating and the story taking us from chapter to chapter.

Each chapter, whether it is in Paris, New York, New Orleans, Chicago or the Dominican Republic, serves a purpose for the protagonist (Michael Fassbender, “Jobs”) as he seeks to quietly do his job.

Unfortunately, slip ups and retribution makes it virtually impossible to stay under the radar and collect his wages.

While in Paris, he receives the task of killing a high-profile individual who lives in a luxury and posh high-rise.

He picks a location parallel to the high-rise that will give him the perfect angle to take out his mark.

After many years on the job, he has learned how to pick the right locale, the right attire and the right mannerisms to not raise suspicion.

He knows not to pick an Airbnb because super hosts love their nanny cameras.

He knows it is imperative for a hitman to anticipate and not to improvise.

He knows to trust no one.

He knows not to let empathy cloud or affect his job duties and job performance.

And he knows that those are only a few of the things needed if a person wants to succeed as a contract killer.

Screw up on one of those rules, or others for that matter, and all-you-know-what might break loose, which might expose him and make him a target of other killers.

Unfortunately, even the most cold-hearted killers can screw up an assignment.

But when the protagonist in “The Killer,” messes up a high-profile assassination, he must get out of dodge quickly and get to a safe locale as quickly as possible.

But what happens when other dangerous individuals know your secret hideouts?

And what happens if they cannot get to you?

Do they take it out on the few people you do have empathy for?

And if they do, how do you respond to that potential retribution?

The Killer must decide how he will handle being the hunted after his latest hunting trip ends up fruitless and chaotic.

One of the most unique things about “The Killer” is that the character names have no character, as if not naming them makes them less human and therefore less likely that audiences will feel sorry for them when they potentially meet their fate.

Besides the titular character, other characters have names like The Expert (Tilda Swinton, “Hail, Caesar!”), The Lawyer (Charles Parnell, “Top Gun: Maverick”), The Client (Arliss Howard), The Brute (Sala Baker), The Target (Endre Hules) and The Dominatrix (Monique Ganderton).

Without names, the potential victims never seem relatable, making it less likely that moviegoers, and The Killer, feel empathetic to their plight.

The only character worth rooting for is The Brute who gives The Killer a run for his money in brutal fight scene in Florida that is fire.

The fight is so wild that even The Brute’s pit-bull gets in on the action.

It is the one time in which it appears that The Killer might have finally met his match.

But “The Killer” does have a couple of comical lines from the protagonist’s narration.

Furthermore, the chapters all take place in very chic and hip cities, which add to the visuals.

The cleverness in which the protagonist alludes authorities on the streets of Paris is dope too.

Unfortunately, “The Killer” is not up to par with Fincher’s previous work.

Fincher has directed classics like “Gone Girl” starring Ben Affleck, “The Social Network” starring Justin Timberlake and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” starring Brad Pitt and Taraji P. Henson.

Compared to those hits and others, “The Killer” is a bit dull and boring.

But maybe that is the point.

“The Killer” is more intellectual.

The way the main character uses his intelligence to get near his target is amazing and scary at the same time.

If hitmen are as intelligent as the protagonist in this Netflix movie, people really need to make sure they stay on the good side of shady people who might have some violence in their personality because nothing can be done to prevent a smart person from getting at an enemy.

But unfortunately for Fincher and Netflix, “The Killer” is basically dead on arrival.

It has the big names like Fassbender, Swinton and its acclaimed director.

But that is about it.

There are not enough fascinating elements of the film to make it stand out with all the good films currently in theaters.

And it is not fascinating enough to rank high on Fincher’s outstanding filmography.







Todd A. Smith
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