First ‘The Killer’ Reactions Are Mixed on David Fincher’s Stylish Yet ‘Curiously Inert’ Thriller

Director David Fincher debuted his first film in three years Sunday at the Venice Film Festival and the results are rapturous, if a bit muted.

“The Killer” tells the story of a hitman (Michael Fassbender) dealing with a botched job. As TheWrap’s Ben Croll said in his review, “The Killer” is “like a sideways follow-up to ‘The Social Network’ than anything else.” That cold formalism is being pointed out in several top critics reviews, with Vulture’s Bilge Ebiri saying, “David Fincher’s THE KILLER seems to be about its own pointlessness.”

Croll explained in his review that “For all the wit and satirical shadings, “The Killer” gets down to business with ruthless efficiency. Like new installments in an ongoing series, the film is split into chapters, each set in a new locale, each named for a new target, and each playing up a slightly different set of skills.”

But that overarching sense of ennui in the film is also being celebrated, with The Hollywood Reporter’s review explaining that it’s a wry, pleasingly pulpy thriller.” The question is whether audiences’ will find something new in Fincher’s drama. “David Fincher’s return to slick modern-day satire, is terse to a fault, and the gag feels stale this time around,” said Vanity Fair in a tweet.

Variety’s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman said, “#DavidFincher’s #TheKiller is gripping at times, more conventional than Fincher thinks at others” and that does seem to be the overall tone, that it works as a piece of entertainment but doesn’t really go beyond that with IndieWire’s Ryan Lattanzio calling it “sleek but small” in his review.

Regardless of the reception to the film, many are singling out its leading man, Michael Fassbender as a reason to watch isn’t surprising considering he’s one of only a handful of named talent in the film. Billington said, “Michael Fassbender is so precise in his slick performance, it’s still exciting & gripping to watch anyway.”

You can see more critic reactions below.

“The Killer” hits theaters October 27 before streaming on Netflix November 10.

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