Bang on target – The Killer on Netflix review

From this week onwards, I shall never hear How Soon Is Now? without seeing Michael Fassbender shoot a prostitute through the chest with a sniper rifle.

It’s far from the only song by the indie icons in director David Fincher’s slick, brutal and utterly brilliant action movie. Fassbender’s nameless hitman is a stone-cold Smiths nut and uses a compilation of their hits to get his heart rate down as his finger twitches on the trigger.

It’s surprising how well Morrissey’s tortured warblings and Marr’s wailing guitars fit Fincher’s meticulously staged killings.

The killer is also rather fond of the sound of his own voice. In an ingenious opening, he’s sitting in a Paris office building, patiently waiting for his victim to appear in the window of the five-star hotel across the street.

To kill time, he’s outlining his philosophy in a hard-boiled interior monologue. “Anticipate, don’t improvise” and “Forbid empathy” are his two favourite maxims. Though the film is not brimming with emotion, you may still find yourself rooting for this unusual hero.

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But, when he shoots his mark’s female companion by mistake, the killer becomes the target as his client seeks to erase all connections to the failed assassination.

The hitman’s plan is to get there first. A globe-trotting mission takes him to the Dominican Republic, Florida and New Orleans to track down fixers, rival hitmen and the client.

An icy encounter with Tilda Swinton and a bruising altercation with Sala Baker’s thug are thrillingly staged.

The latter takes place as The Antiques Roadshow plays on a TV set, forever linking brutal violence to Fiona Bruce.

The Killer, Cert 15, On Netflix now

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