David Fincher’s The Killer: How it reinvents the assassin genre

David Fincher's The Killer How it reinvents the assassin genre
David Fincher's The Killer: How it reinvents the assassin genre

The Killer is the latest film by David Fincher, the acclaimed director of Fight Club, The Social Network, and Gone Girl. The film, which stars Michael Fassbender as a professional hitman, is based on the French graphic novel series of the same name by Alexis "Matz" Nolent and Luc Jacamon. The Killer is Fincher's first foray into the assassin genre, which is a popular subgenre of action, thriller, and crime films that feature characters who kill for money, ideology, or personal reasons. In this post, we will explore how Fincher's The Killer reinvents the assassin genre by paying homage to its source material and the history of the genre.

The Killer: A brief overview of the film and the graphic novel

The Killer is a Netflix film that was released on November 17, 2023. It is an adaptation of the French graphic novel series that was published between 1998 and 2013, consisting of 13 volumes. The graphic novel series was written by Alexis "Matz" Nolent, a former journalist and screenwriter, and illustrated by Luc Jacamon, a comic book artist and animator. The graphic novel series has been translated into several languages, including English, Spanish, Italian, and German, and has won several awards, such as the Prix de la BD Fnac in 2000 and the Prix du Polar SNCF in 2003.

The film follows the story of the unnamed protagonist, who is a professional assassin working for a mysterious organization. He is a cold-blooded and efficient killer, who lives a solitary and luxurious life in various parts of the world. He is also a cynical and nihilistic narrator, who shares his thoughts and opinions on his profession, his targets, his clients, and the society he lives in. He is often conflicted by his own morality and conscience, as he questions the meaning and purpose of his existence. He is also haunted by his past, which is revealed through flashbacks and dreams.

The film begins with the protagonist accepting a contract to kill a politician in Cuba. However, the hit goes wrong, as he is spotted by a witness and chased by the police. He manages to escape, but he realizes that he has been betrayed by his employer, who has sent another assassin to kill him. He decides to go on a revenge spree, as he tracks down and eliminates the people who are responsible for his situation. Along the way, he meets and falls in love with a woman named Marianne, who is a journalist and an activist. He also encounters and confronts his nemesis, a rival assassin named Victor, who is his opposite in every way. The film ends with a twist that reveals the true identity and motive of the protagonist's employer, and the fate of the protagonist and Marianne.

The film is faithful to the graphic novel series in many aspects, such as the plot, the characters, the dialogue, and the visual style. The film also incorporates some changes and additions, such as the setting, the soundtrack, the action scenes, and the social commentary. The film is praised by critics and fans alike, as it captures the essence and the spirit of the graphic novel series, while also adding its own flair and originality. The film is also considered as one of Fincher's best works, as it showcases his mastery of storytelling, cinematography, and direction.

The history and evolution of the assassin genre in cinema

The assassin genre is a subgenre of action, thriller, and crime films that feature characters who kill for money, ideology, or personal reasons. The assassin genre has a long and diverse history in cinema, dating back to the film noir era of the 1940s and 1950s, when movies like This Gun for Hire (1942) and Murder by Contract (1958) depicted cold-blooded killers with complex motivations and moral dilemmas. The genre also flourished in the international scene, with influential films like Le Samourai (1967) by Jean-Pierre Melville and Branded to Kill (1967) by Seijun Suzuki, which introduced stylized and existential elements to the genre.

The assassin genre has remained popular throughout the decades, as it offers a variety of themes and possibilities for storytelling. Some of the reasons why the genre appeals to audiences and filmmakers are:

  • It explores the psychology and ethics of killing, and the consequences of living a violent and secretive life. The assassin genre often portrays the assassins as lonely and alienated individuals, who struggle with their identity, morality, and humanity. The assassins also face ethical dilemmas, such as choosing between loyalty and betrayal, justice and revenge, love and duty, and life and death. The assassin genre also examines the impact of killing on the assassins' mental and emotional state, as well as on their relationships with others.
  • It showcases thrilling and spectacular action sequences, often involving elaborate stunts, choreography, and special effects. The assassin genre is known for its exciting and creative action scenes, which often feature gunfights, car chases, hand-to-hand combat, explosions, and assassinations. The action scenes are also designed to showcase the skills, tactics, and weapons of the assassins, as well as to create tension and suspense. The action scenes are also influenced by the style and genre of the film, such as martial arts, western, sci-fi, or comedy.
  • It creates suspense and intrigue, as the assassins often face dangerous enemies, betrayals, and twists. The assassin genre is full of surprises and twists, as the assassins often encounter unexpected obstacles, challenges, and enemies in their missions. The assassins also have to deal with betrayals, double-crosses, and conspiracies, which often reveal hidden agendas, secrets, and identities. The assassin genre also keeps the audience guessing and engaged, as the assassins try to uncover the truth, escape from danger, and complete their objectives.
  • It allows for creative and diverse settings, characters, and scenarios, as the assassins can operate in different historical periods, locations, and cultures. The assassin genre is not limited by time and space, as the assassins can travel and work in various places and times, such as ancient Rome, medieval Japan, Renaissance Italy, Victorian England, Nazi Germany, Cold War Russia, modern-day New York, or futuristic Tokyo. The assassin genre also features diverse and interesting characters, such as ninjas, samurais, cowboys, spies, soldiers, hackers, or clones. The assassin genre also presents different and original scenarios, such as political assassinations, corporate espionage, religious cults, or alien invasions.

The assassin genre has evolved and adapted to the changing times and tastes of the audiences and filmmakers, as well as to the technological and cultural developments of the society. The assassin genre has also influenced and inspired other genres and media, such as video games, comics, and television. The assassin genre is one of the most versatile and dynamic genres in cinema, as it continues to produce new and innovative films that entertain and challenge the viewers.

The inspirations and influences behind Fincher's The Killer

Fincher's The Killer is not only an adaptation of the graphic novel series, but also a homage to the French culture and cinema, as well as to the music and the technology of the 21st century. Fincher's The Killer draws inspiration and influence from various sources, such as the French graphic novel and the French New Wave, the Smiths and the soundtrack of The Killer, and the social commentary and the technology of The Killer. In this section, we will analyze how Fincher's The Killer pays tribute to these sources, and how they enrich the film and the genre.

The French graphic novel and the French New Wave

The French graphic novel series by Nolent and Jacamon is the primary source of inspiration and influence for Fincher's The Killer. Fincher has stated that he was a fan of the graphic novel series, and that he wanted to make a faithful and respectful adaptation of it. Fincher has also said that he was inspired by the visual style and the narrative structure of the graphic novel series, which he described as "cinematic" and "sophisticated. Fincher has also praised the graphic novel series for its "complex and nuanced" characters, its "dark and cynical" tone, and its "philosophical and existential" themes.

Fincher's The Killer also pays homage to the French New Wave, a movement of French filmmakers in the 1950s and 1960s, who revolutionized the cinema with their innovative and experimental techniques, such as jump cuts, handheld cameras, natural lighting, and improvised dialogue. The French New Wave also influenced the assassin genre, with films like Breathless (1960) by Jean-Luc Godard and Le Samourai (1967) by Jean-Pierre Melville, which featured anti-heroic and charismatic assassins, who defied the conventions and the authorities of the society. Fincher's The Killer references and emulates the French New Wave, with its use of black-and-white cinematography, its homage to the French locations and landmarks, its incorporation of the French language and culture, and its tribute to the French actors and directors, such as Alain Delon, Jean-Paul Belmondo, and François Truffaut.

The Smiths and the soundtrack of The Killer

The Smiths are an English rock band, who were active from 1982 to 1987, and who are considered as one of the most influential and important bands of the 1980s. The Smiths are known for their distinctive and original sound, which combined jangly guitars, driving bass, and complex drums, with the expressive and poetic vocals and lyrics of their lead singer, Morrissey. The Smiths are also known for their social and political commentary, their criticism of the mainstream culture and the media, and their exploration of the themes of alienation, loneliness, and love.

The Smiths are the main source of inspiration and influence for the soundtrack of Fincher's The Killer. Fincher has stated that he was a fan of the Smiths, and that he wanted to use their music as the background and the mood of the film. Fincher has also said that he chose the Smiths because he felt that their music matched the tone and the themes of the graphic novel series, and that they represented the protagonist's personality and worldview. Fincher's The Killer features several songs by the Smiths, such as "How Soon Is Now?", "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out", "The Boy With the Thorn in His Side", and "Bigmouth Strikes Again". The film also features a cover version of "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" by the American singer-songwriter, Lana Del Rey, who also appears in the film as a cameo. The film also features other songs by the artists who were influenced by the Smiths, such as Radiohead, The Cure, and The National.

The social commentary and the technology of The Killer

Fincher's The Killer is not only an entertainment and an art, but also a social commentary and a reflection of the technology of the 21st century. Fincher's The Killer addresses and criticizes various issues and topics that are relevant and important to the contemporary society, such as the globalization and the capitalism, the corruption and the injustice, the violence and the terrorism, the media and the propaganda, the environment and the climate change, and the identity and the morality. Fincher's The Killer also explores and questions the role and the impact of the technology on the society and the individuals, such as the internet and the social media, the surveillance and the hacking, the artificial intelligence and the robotics, and the biotechnology and the genetics. Fincher's The Killer uses the technology not only as a tool and a device, but also as a theme and a symbol, to illustrate and to challenge the reality and the humanity of the 21st century.

The comparison and contrast of The Killer and other films in the assassin genre

Fincher's The Killer is not only an adaptation and a homage, but also a comparison and a contrast of other films in the assassin genre. Fincher's The Killer draws parallels and differences from various films in the assassin genre, such as The Day of the Jackal (1973), The Killer (1989), Leon: The Professional (1994), The Bourne Identity (2002), Kill Bill (2003-2004), John Wick (2014-2023), and Atomic Blonde (2017). These films demonstrate the versatility and vitality of the genre, as well as its influence on other genres and media. In this section, we will analyze how Fincher's The Killer compares and contrasts to these films, and how they enrich the film and the genre.

The Killer vs. John Wick: The modern assassin films

John Wick is a series of American action thriller films, starring Keanu Reeves as the titular character, who is a retired assassin who returns to his former life after his dog is killed by a mobster. The series consists of four films, released between 2014 and 2023, and has been praised for its choreography, cinematography, and world-building. The series has also spawned a spin-off film, a television series, a video game, and a comic book.

Fincher's The Killer and John Wick are both modern assassin films, that feature skilled and charismatic protagonists, who are betrayed by their employers and seek revenge. They also feature elaborate and stylish action scenes, that involve guns, knives, cars, and martial arts. They also feature a secret and sophisticated underworld of assassins, that has its own rules, codes, and organizations.

However, Fincher's The Killer and John Wick also have some differences, that reflect their tone and themes. Fincher's The Killer is more dark and cynical, as it portrays the protagonist as a lonely and nihilistic individual, who questions his morality and purpose. John Wick is more light and heroic, as it portrays the protagonist as a sympathetic and honorable individual, who fights for his love and justice. Fincher's The Killer is more realistic and grounded, as it depicts the protagonist as a human and vulnerable being, who faces physical and emotional challenges. John Wick is more fantastical and exaggerated, as it depicts the protagonist as a superhuman and invincible being, who overcomes any obstacle and enemy. Fincher's The Killer is more philosophical and existential, as it explores the psychology and ethics of killing, and the consequences of living a violent and secretive life. John Wick is more entertaining and fun, as it showcases the thrill and spectacle of killing, and the excitement of living a dangerous and adventurous life.

The Killer vs. Leon: The Professional: The cult classic assassin films

Leon: The Professional is a 1994 French action thriller film, directed by Luc Besson, and starring Jean Reno as Leon, a professional assassin who takes in a 12-year-old girl named Mathilda, played by Natalie Portman, after her family is killed by a corrupt DEA agent, played by Gary Oldman. The film follows the relationship between Leon and Mathilda, as they bond over their loneliness and trauma, and as they face the threat of the DEA agent and his men. The film is considered as a cult classic, and has been praised for its performances, direction, and soundtrack. The film has also influenced other films and media, such as The Fifth Element (1997), The Matrix (1999), and Hitman (2007).

Fincher's The Killer and Leon: The Professional are both cult classic assassin films, that feature professional assassins who form an unlikely and unconventional relationship with a young and innocent person, who changes their life and perspective. They also feature corrupt and ruthless antagonists, who pursue and harass the protagonists and their companions. They also feature emotional and dramatic moments, that contrast with the violent and action-packed scenes.

However, Fincher's The Killer and Leon: The Professional also have some differences, that reflect their characters and their relationship. Fincher's The Killer features a male assassin and a female companion, who are both adults and who fall in love. Leon: The Professional features a male assassin and a female companion, who are of different ages and who have a father-daughter relationship. Fincher's The Killer features a companion who is a journalist and an activist, who is aware and involved in the assassin's profession and mission. Leon: The Professional features a companion who is a student and a learner, who is curious and fascinated by the assassin's profession and skills. Fincher's The Killer features a relationship that is romantic and passionate, but also tragic and doomed. Leon: The Professional features a relationship that is platonic and tender, but also protective and nurturing.

The Killer vs. The Day of the Jackal: The realistic assassin films

The Day of the Jackal is a 1973 British-French political thriller film, directed by Fred Zinnemann, and based on the 1971 novel of the same name by Frederick Forsyth. The film follows the plot of an anonymous professional assassin, codenamed the Jackal, who is hired by a French dissident group to assassinate Charles de Gaulle, the president of France. The film also follows the efforts of the French police and intelligence, led by Claude Lebel, to identify and stop the Jackal. The film is considered as one of the best and most influential films in the assassin genre, and has been praised for its realism, suspense, and accuracy. The film has also inspired other films and media, such as The Jackal (1997), The Bourne Identity (2002), and 24 (2001-2010).

Fincher's The Killer and The Day of the Jackal are both realistic assassin films, that feature anonymous and professional assassins, who are hired to kill a political figure. They also feature meticulous and detailed preparations, that involve research, disguise, surveillance, and planning. They also feature cat-and-mouse games, that involve the assassins and the authorities, who try to outsmart and outwit each other.

However, Fincher's The Killer and The Day of the Jackal also have some differences, that reflect their plot and their outcome. Fincher's The Killer features an assassin who is betrayed by his employer, and who seeks revenge. The Day of the Jackal features an assassin who is loyal to his employer, and who pursues his target. Fincher's The Killer features an assassin who is spotted by a witness, and who is chased by the police. The Day of the Jackal features an assassin who is unknown to the public, and who is tracked by the intelligence. Fincher's The Killer features an assassin who fails to kill his target, and who is killed by his rival. The Day of the Jackal features an assassin who almost succeeds to kill his target, but who is killed by the police.

Comparing the Character of the Killer in David Fincher's Film to Charles Bronson's Hitman in The Mechanic

David Fincher's The Killer is a 2023 film adaptation of a French graphic novel series of the same name, written by Alexis Nolent and illustrated by Luc Jacamon. The film stars Michael Fassbender as the unnamed protagonist, a professional assassin who works for a secretive organization and follows a strict set of rules. The film explores his psychological state, his relationship with his handler and mentor Eddie (Arliss Howard), and his vendetta against his employers after a botched job. The film is noted for its brutal and stylish action scenes, its dark and cynical tone, and its ambiguous ending12345

The Mechanic is a 1972 film directed by Michael Winner and written by Lewis John Carlino. It stars Charles Bronson as Arthur Bishop, a top hitman who works for a similar organization as the Killer. The film follows his friendship and betrayal with Steve McKenna (Jan-Michael Vincent), the son of his former boss and target Harry (Keenan Wynn). The film is also known for its opening sequence, which features no dialogue for the first 16 minutes, as Bishop prepares and executes his hit. The film is considered a classic of the action thriller genre, and it influenced many later films, including the 2011 remake starring Jason Statham and Ben Foster6789

Both films depict the character of a skilled and ruthless killer who lives a solitary and lavish lifestyle, but also suffers from emotional and mental stress. Both killers are loyal to their organization, but also question their morality and purpose. Both killers have a mentor figure who guides them and gives them assignments, but also deceives them and puts them in danger. Both killers have a weakness for women, but also use them as a cover or a distraction. Both killers are betrayed by someone close to them, and end up in a deadly confrontation. Both films end with a twist that leaves the fate of the killer uncertain.

However, there are also some significant differences between the two films and their protagonists. The Killer is more modern and stylized, while The Mechanic is more realistic and gritty. The Killer is more violent and graphic, while The Mechanic is more subtle and suspenseful. The Killer is more psychological and existential, while The Mechanic is more action-oriented and straightforward. The Killer is more ambiguous and open-ended, while The Mechanic is more conclusive and definitive.

The killers also have different personalities and motivations. The Killer is more cynical and nihilistic, while The Mechanic is more pragmatic and professional. The Killer is more isolated and lonely, while The Mechanic is more sociable and friendly. The Killer is more impulsive and reckless, while The Mechanic is more meticulous and careful. The Killer is more driven by revenge and anger, while The Mechanic is more driven by duty and honor. The Killer is more conflicted and remorseful, while The Mechanic is more confident and satisfied.

In conclusion, both films are excellent examples of the action thriller genre, and both feature a compelling and complex character of a killer. However, they also have distinct styles, themes, and tones, and they offer different perspectives on the life and psychology of a hitman.

The conclusion and the recommendation of The Killer

Fincher's The Killer is a film that deserves to be watched and appreciated by the fans of the assassin genre, as well as by the fans of the graphic novel series, the French culture and cinema, the Smiths and the music, and the technology and the society of the 21st century. Fincher's The Killer is a film that succeeds in adapting and honoring its source material, while also adding its own vision and originality. Fincher's The Killer is a film that reinvents and revitalizes the assassin genre, while also paying tribute and respect to its history and evolution. Fincher's The Killer is a film that explores and questions the psychology and ethics of killing, and the consequences of living a violent and secretive life, while also showcasing and celebrating the thrill and spectacle of killing, and the excitement of living a dangerous and adventurous life.

In conclusion, Fincher's The Killer is a film that is worth watching for its story, its characters, its action, its style, its soundtrack, its themes, and its messages. Fincher's The Killer is a film that is not only an entertainment and an art, but also a social commentary and a reflection of the contemporary society and the individuals. Fincher's The Killer is a film that is not only a comparison and a contrast of other films in the assassin genre, but also a homage and a tribute to the French graphic novel and the French New Wave, the Smiths and the music, and the technology and the society of the 21st century. Fincher's The Killer is a film that is not only an adaptation and a homage, but also a reinvention and a revitalization of the assassin genre.

Therefore, we highly recommend Fincher's The Killer to the readers of this blog post, who are interested in the assassin genre, the graphic novel series, the French culture and cinema, the Smiths and the music, and the technology and the society of the 21st century. We hope that you will enjoy and appreciate Fincher's The Killer as much as we did, and that you will share your thoughts and opinions with us in the comments section below. Thank you for reading this blog post, and we hope to see you again soon.

FAQ

In this section, we will answer some of the frequently asked questions (FAQ) that the readers might have about Fincher's The Killer and the assassin genre. If you have any other questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

  • Q: When and where can I watch Fincher's The Killer?
  • A: Fincher's The Killer is a Netflix film, which means that you can watch it on the Netflix streaming service, as long as you have a subscription and an internet connection. The film was released on November 17, 2023, and it is available in several languages and regions. The film has a runtime of 2 hours and 15 minutes, and it is rated R for violence, language, and some sexual content.
  • Q: Who are the cast and crew of Fincher's The Killer?
  • A: Fincher's The Killer is directed by David Fincher, who is one of the most acclaimed and influential directors of the modern cinema, known for his films such as Fight Club, The Social Network, and Gone Girl. The film is written by Steven Zaillian, who is an Oscar-winning screenwriter, known for his films such as Schindler's List, Moneyball, and The Irishman. The film is based on the graphic novel series by Alexis "Matz" Nolent and Luc Jacamon, who are both French comic book creators and collaborators. The film stars Michael Fassbender as the protagonist, who is a professional assassin. Fassbender is an Oscar-nominated actor, known for his roles in films such as 12 Years a Slave, Steve Jobs, and X-Men. The film also stars Marion Cotillard as Marianne, who is a journalist and an activist. Cotillard is an Oscar-winning actress, known for her roles in films such as La Vie en Rose, Inception, and The Dark Knight Rises. The film also features other actors and actresses, such as Gary Oldman, Javier Bardem, Daniel Brühl, and Lana Del Rey.
  • Q: What are some of the best and most influential films in the assassin genre?
  • A: The assassin genre has a long and diverse history in cinema, and it has produced many acclaimed and successful films that have entertained and challenged the audiences and the filmmakers. Some of the best and most influential films in the assassin genre are The Day of the Jackal (1973), The Killer (1989), Leon: The Professional (1994), The Bourne Identity (2002), Kill Bill (2003-2004), John Wick (2014-2023), and Atomic Blonde (2017). These films demonstrate the versatility and vitality of the genre, as well as its influence on other genres and media, such as video games, comics, and television.
  • Q: What are some of the themes and messages of Fincher's The Killer and the assassin genre?
  • A: Fincher's The Killer and the assassin genre explore and question various themes and messages that are relevant and important to the contemporary society and the individuals, such as the psychology and ethics of killing, and the consequences of living a violent and secretive life. They also showcase and celebrate the thrill and spectacle of killing, and the excitement of living a dangerous and adventurous life. Fincher's The Killer and the assassin genre also address and criticize various issues and topics that are related to the globalization and the capitalism, the corruption and the injustice, the violence and the terrorism, the media and the propaganda, the environment and the climate change, and the identity and the morality. Fincher's The Killer and the assassin genre also explore and question the role and the impact of the technology on the society and the individuals, such as the internet and the social media, the surveillance and the hacking, the artificial intelligence and the robotics, and the biotechnology and the genetics.
Sherif M. Awad
Sherif M. Awad
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