The Killer Early Reviews Range From Positive To Mixed, But All Agree Fassbender Is Fantastic




  • Fassbender’s lead performance in “The Killer” is praised by almost all reviewers, with his careworn and inscrutable face being seen as a perfect fit for the role.
  • The film’s moral ambiguity and puckish attitude may polarize viewers, but others will delight in its unique perspective.

The Killer premieres in limited theaters on October 27 and on Netflix on November 10.

The Killer‘s first reviews are mixed, but almost all of them praise the lead performance. The movie is the latest directorial outing from David Fincher, who is best known for helming celebrated titles including Se7en, Gone Girl, The Social Network, and Fight Club. The movie, which is adapted from Matz and Luc Jacamon’s French-language comic book Le Tueur, stars Michael Fassbender as an assassin who turns against his employers, leading them on an international chase as he attempts to turn the tables.

Although the official The Killer release date won’t be until October 27 (ahead of its Netflix release on November 10), the movie has just premiered at the Venice International Film Festival. Because of this, critics in attendance have been able to share their reviews of the movie. While their opinions are mixed, the majority praise Fassbender’s central performance. Check out select quotes below:

Manuel São Bento, FandomWire:

Fassbender is hauntingly mesmerizing with his menacing, subtly powerful portrayal of a killer with no scruples or mercy. His impressively calm, collected voice-over voice is essential to The Killer‘s somber environment, as are the aforementioned cinematography and score. These three elements are crucial to the movie’s success, firmly controlled by Fincher who, regardless of the issues already stated, never loses the direction he wants to follow.

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian:

This is a thriller of pure surface and style and managed with terrific flair and Fassbender’s careworn, inscrutable face is just right for it.

Ben Croll, TheWrap:

If “The Killer” is chilly-to-the-touch and anchored by a quiet and intensely physical performance by Fassbender, the filmmakers nevertheless wring an awful lot of wit from this frigid world

Jane Crowther, Total Film:

[Fassbender’s] very blankness allows us to project meaning onto him and gives one of the filmmaker’s more commercial movies a layer of added nuance. And if you ever wondered what Fincher’s Bond might have looked like, this could be it.

Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter:

Let’s just say that morally, The Killer is all over the place, which may alienate some viewers. Others may delight in both the protagonist and the film’s puckish, zero-fucks-given attitude, one that seems entirely, atheistically uninhibited by fear of a punitive deity or higher moral purpose.

Owen Gleiberman, Variety:

Fassbender, with his morose anonymity, is the perfect actor to inhabit this role, his sullen snake-like glare emitting silent notes of rage and fear.

Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair:

Perhaps the movie’s anticlimax is deliberate, Fincher attempting to subvert our hit-man movie expectations, making us question our blood lust. Whatever its justifications, the film is terse to a fault, in a way that feels almost like an aggression toward the audience. Fincher knows that we know what he can do when he really gets going, but he denies us that pleasure—the cerebral kind and the more base.

James Mottram, Radio Times:

As for Fassbender, in his bucket hat and shades (“avoid being memorable,” he warns), it’s pleasing to see him back after his self-imposed hiatus from acting, as a tightly-wound hitman who shows no visible emotion. Four years is too long for him to be away from our screens.

Rafaela Sales Ross, The Playlist:

Aesthetically, Oscar-winning “Mank” director of photography Erik Messerschmidt marks another less fruitful collaboration for Fincher, with the film’s cinematography feeding into the classic references the director aims to evoke without much flair in the tailing of this quiet, deadly predator.

Caspar Salmon, Daily Beast:

Fassbender is attuned to the film’s methods, giving us a central character who seems completely blank—we know nothing of his past, and very little of his life—but whose humanity emerges in strange little giveaways every now and then, and whose outlook is gently ironic and questioning. There is a touch of cool to him, in his smoothness and his delivery, but Fassbender also looks careworn and quizzical, a touch mad. In his silence (we pretty much only hear his voiceover), we sense somebody who is eerily dislocated from society, in a fully globalized planet where you can make millions by working alone and destroying others; in a world where, while jet-setting and killing people, you can order an Amazon package to be delivered to you before your next hit.

Damon Wise, Deadline:

Fincher obviously has his fans, and this will certainly satisfy them. But The Killer also scratches a more mainstream itch; since the Bourne films dried up and Daniel Craig retired, there’s a mad need right now for this kind of thing.

Could The Killer Earn Michael Fassbender His Next Oscar Nomination?

Michael Fassbender looks through a window in The Killer

Michael Fassbender is no stranger to giving well-regarded performances. He has already earned two Oscar nominations, for his work in 2013’s 12 Years a Slave and 2015’s Steve Jobs. Being paired with three-time Oscar-nominated director David Fincher could help push his prospects this year even more.

Related:Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” Explores a Dark Chapter in American History

At the Oscars, acting categories tend to have more room for movies that are otherwise ignored by the Academy. Even if it doesn’t get nominated for any other awards, The Killer could provide Fassbender with a launchpad to another nod. Other actors who have had this happen include Glenn Close for The Wife, Robert Forster for Jackie Brown, and Rosamund Pike for David Fincher’s Gone Girl.

The Killer is well-placed in the year for buzz to build around Fassbender’s performance, as well. With a November release, the movie is placed squarely in Oscar season, but not too late that voting bodies may miss it in the rush of year-end releases. This could all work tremendously in the star’s favor to earn his third nomination.

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