Calling The Killer an orthodox thriller is like calling Martin Scorsese a boring film-maker. It’s objectively untrue. Hidden within this film’s cliched heart is a self-reflexive – and strangely poignant – relationship with storytelling.
To understand the slow-burning subversions of The Killer, then, it’s important to look at it through the narrative lens of its director: David Fincher.
The film opens with the hitman staking out a hotel room in Paris. He shadows his latest target – an anonymous old billionaire – and waits. He isn’t your regular cold-blooded assassin, though. He waits a lot. He spends nights peering from the window of a dark and bare apartment.
Fincher’s long-form psychological sweep based on the three detectives that pioneered the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit. The two-season series followed these cops in their pursuit of an elusive serial killer.
It finds the will to invoke a love story between the in-betweens and the milestones; the personal and the generic; the existing and the doing; the assassin and his creed. But most of all, it becomes a tragic romance between the artist and his refined ambition.