Actor Michael Fassbender uses his phenomenal body to perfection as The Killer in director David Fincher’s take on a graphic novel. Fassbender and Fincher work with their specialties—strong physicality for the actor and dark explorations for the director. Fassbender moves like a dancer, his physique suited to roles he plays, from the starving Bobby Sands in Hunger to the sex addict in Shame or the cruel owner for his Oscar-nominated turn in 12 Years a Slave. Though director Fincher’s Oscar attention comes from semi-civilized worlds in The Social Network and Mank, he blazed his box office trail with hits like Se7en and
exploring shadowy paths of violence and serial killers. Springboarding from a French series by Alexis Nolent and Luc Jacamon, Fincher and Se7en screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker focus on a different type of murderer, reteaming for an action story that emphasizes character exploration. Their killer explains himself with extensive narration, Fassbender’s careful reading containing both callousness and a hint of emotion as he clarifies the logistics of his job and mindset. Visually, Fassbender’s look melds into the tight control of his character, muscular without an extra microdot of fat. Strong visuals also highlight the movie’s simplistic graphic source, melding well with Fincher’s proven track record using memorable images. Fincher’s locations—Paris, the Dominican Republic, and New Orleans among them—add to the film’s visual intensity. For all that however, the story often feels as soulless as its hardened title character. The Killer holds attention without generating compassion or empathy.