"Execution is everything" reads the tagline for David Fincher's The Killer and it's a mantra the director lives by in his new film. It's an incredibly simple setup but the execution really is everything as Fincher returns to form with a cold and calculated thriller. 

After a fateful near miss, an assassin (Michael Fassbender) battles his employers, and himself, on an international manhunt he insists isn't personal.
Opening with Fassbender's aptly named The Killer guiding us through, via narration, his routine and mindset whilst carrying out what is supposed to be a routine hit. His voice soothes you into proceedings, engaging even though he's about to commit an atrocity. It's a meticulous opening that sets the scene for the rest of the film, everything is so intricately planned by our protagonist that it feels like a lesson in hitmanning - a brutal bare-knuckle fight sequence being the exception. The narration may get on the nerves of others but it was utilised well enough to not warrant that reaction from myself.

Intricacy runs throughout the entire production, Fincher back in fine form behind the camera and utilising Erik Messerschmidt's cinematography and Kirk Baxter's editing superbly. The score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, along with a The Smiths heavy soundtrack, provides The Killer with a suitable brooding accompaniment.
It feels an age since we got a truly great performance from Michael Fassbender. Fear not though because he is scintillating here as The Killer, ice running through his veins as he sets out on a personal mission. He's a man of few words yet Fassbender is one of those actors who can do so much without words, testament to his range as an actor. The supporting performances are fleeting but serve the film really well, Charles Parnell's Lawyer and Tilda Swinton's Expert getting the most to do from Andrew Kevin Walker's screenplay. Trust Tilda Swinton to steal the spotlight from Fassbender with their scene together in the restaurant.

While it might not be David Fincher's best film, The Killer reveals him and Michael Fassbender to be an irresistible partnership so more of them working together please. The film just epitomises coolness and someone needs to get Fassbender on an audiobook right now.

Verdict: ★★★★


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