“It’s amazing how physically exhausting it can be to do nothing.”

The Killer

Fincher crime movies are almost a sub-genre of their own — we know how they will feel (isolated and tense) and how they will look (heavy shadows with single colour lighting). Adapted from a French graphic novel, The Killer opens intriguingly with Fassbender’s assassin trying to keep his mind occupied as he waits for a target in Paris. The initial half hour is effectively an extended voiceover monologue, peppered with some interesting references — he quotes Aleister Crowley, though not by name, and refers to sniper assassinations as “Annie Oakley jobs”. Fassbender embodies the character gamely, measured movements and psychologically intense, but he cannot make the writing seem profound (“if I’m effective it’s for one simple fact: I don’t give a fuck”). The voiceover continues as the film shifts into a slow revenge story, and one can see the influence of the Dexter series, though it lacks any of Dexter’s disturbed charm or poetry. The film’s somber tone rarely changes although, in a brief appearance late in the film, Tilda Swinton manages to instill some suspense during a confrontation. Its production may be slick, but The Killer is retreading very well-trodden ground and its grand insight is that hitmen are patient, can’t afford empathy, and live by a code. Who knew? If you want to spend two hours being told this, perhaps you too have the patience to be an assassin.