Since the Golden Lion awarded to Roma by Alfonso Cuaron in 2018, Netflix has been trying to re-release the performance on the Lido. Unlike Cannes, Venice rolls out the red carpet for streaming platforms and this year again, Netflix has placed several feature films in competition. After the indigent El Conde by Pablo Larrain and Maestro by Bradley Cooper, The Killer by David Fincher had its world premiere on Sunday on the lagoon.
Fincher isn't just anyone for Reed Hastings' platform. He was the first prestigious filmmaker poached to create the House of Cards series and then Mindhunter. He then directed Mank, a personal black and white film on the genesis of Citizen Kane by Orson Welles, based on a screenplay written by his own father, Jack Fincher, a great journalist (editor in chief of Life Magazine) and avid film buff , died in 2003.
At the time of promoting Mank, Fincher expressed his loyalty to Netflix in Première magazine: "Depending on the reception of Mank, I'm either going to go to them sheepishly and ask them what I can do to redeem myself, or present myself with the attitude of an arrogant asshole who will demand to make other films in black and white (…) I am there to deliver them “content” – whatever the meaning of this word – likely to bring them spectators, in my little sphere of influence.
With The Killer, it seems Fincher wants to redeem himself. It is a color film, a B-series scenario taken from the comic strip by writer Alexis Nolent (under the pseudonym Matz) and illustrator Luc Jacamon (Casterman editions). The story of a hitman (Michael Fassbender) who turns against his sponsor. Déjà vu and déjà vu, like this voice-over of the solitary and meticulous killer, who kills time by exposing a philosophy that is generally accepted in his profession: “Everyone for himself, kill or be killed, empathy is a weakness". Or his method: “Anticipate, don’t improvise, don’t trust anyone.”
Also read: David Fincher: an alien of American cinema
However, if we know the song from Melville's Le Samouraï, Fincher's orchestration is unique to him. We recognize his style, clinical and sharp, from the first part, located in Paris, while the killer waits for his target in a building. She launches a trip to several regions of the world (Dominican Republic, New Orleans, Florida, London, Los Angeles) like so many chapters of cold-blooded revenge. With a heat stroke. If the killer most often only needs a bullet to eliminate his targets, his hand-to-hand combat with “the Brute” is more demanding. With this single sequence, brutal and fierce, the author of Fight Club proves that he has not lost his touch.
The hitman is only a variation of the serial killer, a figure so popular with Fincher (Seven, Zodiac, Mindhunter). He projects his obsessions (paranoia, self-destruction, ultra-violence) and his less than optimistic vision of the world. They come to the surface in this stylistic exercise which could close Fincher's collaboration with Netflix. His five-year exclusive contract ends in 2024. We are already curious to know what continuation the former enfant terrible of Hollywood will give to his career.