Michael Fassbender as an assassin in “The Killer.” Courtesy of Netflix

“Forbid empathy. Empathy is weakness. Weakness is vulnerability.” The Killer’s credo.

David Fincher (“Fight Club,” “Gone Girl,”) is back in all shades of black added by writer Andrew Kevin Walker, who adapted it from a French graphic novel by Matz and Lucy Jacamon.

All players here are nameless, only given titles.

At the opening, Fincher slips us quietly into a dark room overlooking a posh, spacious suite across the street from “The Target.”

Our killer (Michael Fassbender, “Inglourious Basterds” 2009, “Steve Jobs” 2015) waits for days, doing yoga, eating junk food, talking to himself inside his head and ours, in about 20 minutes of the opening. Stick with it, it’s important.

The 20 minutes end violently when something goes wrong, and soon, he’s on the run down the dark streets of Paris, the humidity of New Orleans, and the deep green darkness of the Dominican Republic.


As we move along, we’re serenaded with 11, count ‘em, 11 songs by “The Smiths.”

The camera magic by Erik Messerschmidt (with a feverish score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross) takes us on a motor bike ride through the night streets of Paris, as our killer discards the pieces of his long range, silent-lipped rifle in five or six locations.

There’s a spoon full of dark comedy, when our killer remembers a successful serial killer who “couldn’t spell CAT if you give him the A and the T.”

After the opening of the bungled hit, our killer moves through a one hour and 59 minute plane, train and car ride, walk and run, that gives us one thunderclap after another. No breathing allowed here.

A solo girlfriend is brutally targeted by his angry handlers, a hard to watch blood-spattered event.

And there is, in a near ending restaurant scene so detailed that it could win a “scene” Oscar, the impeccable actor Tilda Swinton (“Michael Clayton” 2007, “The Dead Don’t Die” 2019) as another “Killer” in a couple of heart-stopping scenes.


Listed as “The Expert,” Tilda holds a final glass of wine with our Killer. A gun hides under the Damask linen tablecloth.

On the walk in the snow, the calm Tilda has one final surprise to share with her companion.

The last scenes must be kept as gifts to be unwrapped at your viewing.

Fassbender’s Killer is a walking cold wind, gifted with dead eyes and Swiss Watch precision, Fassbender delivers.

Fassbender has never been one of my favorite actors. Here, he’s found his light. He’s perfectly cast.

A series coming?


We’re given his credo: “Forbid empathy. Empathy is weakness. Weakness is vulnerability” over and over.

Kerry O’Malley’s “Dolores,” the file keeper in a hidden office, is absolutely stunning in a few minutes of film. She’s amazing.

Watch for the exhausting small house combat with “The Brute.” It’s classic “mano a mano” combat, and the comical names on each of the Killer’s passports provide a much-needed shot of humor.

“Killer” is slated to be Netflix’s top film of the winter. Bet on it. Watch it with sunlight.

“The Killer” streams on Netflix.

J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.