David Fincher’s new movie, The Killer” is strictly the sort of film you’d count on the good darkish prince of cinema to make as soon as he acquired “Mank” (2020) out of his system.

Not based mostly on the landmark 1989 John Woo movie of the identical identify (as I incorrectly assumed when the challenge was introduced) however a French 1998 graphic novel by Matz and Luc Jacamon, Fincher is in his ingredient right here.

That’s in case you’re into his trademark, auteur touches of unflinching darkness, immaculate framing and characters drowning in despair and tainted by the evil round them.

In that case, you’re in for a deal with.

Michael Fassbender stars as a person recognized to us solely as The Killer, a extremely disciplined, empathy-free and rich murderer who botches his newest hit. When his employers flip the tables on him and get private, The Killer goes on a worldwide manhunt to get rid of everybody who has immediately offered themselves as a menace.

Working as soon as once more with “Se7en” screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker, it is a world of isolation and random acts of violence, with The Killer residing a vampiric existence of sleeping, hiding, ready, consuming, ready some extra, then lastly placing on his targets.

What’s the level of such an existence? Who cares? So long as he sticks to the plan and doesn’t improvise (among the many many mantras we hear through Fassbender’s inside monologue offering useful, if redundant, voiceover).

Fincher’s easy storytelling matches the no-nonsense occupational method of his important character. I’ve but to see Fincher’s Netflix collection “Mindhunters” and final encountered his work within the private, out-of-character “Mank.”

As at all times, there may be darkish subtext in Fincher’s work and, even at its pulpiest (as with Fincher’s finest movies), we’re within the headspace of terrible folks in essentially the most vivid and exploratory approach.

Fassbender’s character and efficiency right here, as a person possessed and rotting from inside, jogged my memory of his fearless, great flip in “Shame” (2011). Though we frequently hear the inside ideas of The Killer through Fassbender’s ongoing voice over, we see the distinction of his on-the-job focus with the vulnerability he expresses in direction of a cherished one.

Walker’s sick humorousness comes throughout within the identities The Killer makes use of for every of his stops (Twentieth-century popular culture buffs ought to acknowledge it instantly). In any other case, don’t count on comedian reduction.

Even Fincher’s “Gone Girl” (2014) is funnier.

“The Killer” has the same texture to Fincher’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (2011), with its slick surfaces, chilly landscapes and a scratchy really feel to the entire thing. There’s a cynicism in how the characters see themselves versus the fact of their existence.

Observe how a special killer declares that she’s been good for thus lengthy, however is referring to maintaining a healthy diet and never the enterprise of murdering folks professionally.

Fassbender has a chilling scene with Tilda Swinton, in addition to a battle scene that’s one for the ages. There’s additionally an incredible promo for Amazon supply (among the many finest makes use of of product placement to maneuver the plot ahead that I’ve seen) and, even when Fincher takes time to gradual issues down and observe our important character sitting round ready, the movie itself by no means loses its means to maintain us in its grip.

FAST FACT: David Fincher’s curiosity in movie bloomed at an early age, partly because of the affect of a well-known neighbor. The long run director grew up in San Anselmo, California close to “Star Wars” legend George Lucas. Fincher discovered early work at Lucas’ FX studio Industrial Mild & Magic.

Of the missteps, there may be one scene that makes use of voice over that isn’t Fassbender and it doesn’t work. The climactic scene with Arliss Howard as a rich businessman additionally fails to attach as supposed.

Regardless of the subject material, “The Killer” lacks the concentrated sadism of “Se7en” and the rape content material of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Whereas Fincher’s newest is as chilly hearted as one would count on from Walker because the screenwriter, it’s additionally at all times fascinating.

“The Killer” ends abruptly however fittingly – there’s no correct starting or ending to the life or story of The Killer, simply moments.

Within the closing scene, as a lot closure because it permits, we’re uncertain if we’re exiting the story on a constructive notice, or if one other character will immediately enter and finish issues for everybody. Like that closing closing shot of “The Sopranos,” we conclude on rejuvenation, the worth of household being collectively, and the horrible uncertainty of any future second, settle for the one we’re residing proper now.

Mr. Fincher and Mr. Fassbender, welcome again.