“I don’t really think of the movie as an assassin movie, said David Fincher. “I think of it more as a revenge movie.”
The acclaimed director behind Se7en and Zodiac was discussing his new film The Killer, which is making its premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Michael Fassbender stars as an unnamed assassin who, after botching a high-profile job in Paris, and having his romantic partner beaten to within an inch of her life as payback, embarks on a globe-trotting hunt for the people responsible. The film, based on the French graphic novel of the same name by Matz and Luc Jacamon, marks the long-awaited reunion between Fincher and his Se7en scribe Andrew Kevin Walker.
One of the most curious choices in The Killer involves music — specifically, how Fassbender’s hitman sets the mood for his kills by listening to The Smiths. (The film’s score is composed by regular collaborators Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.) During the film’s Venice press conference, Fincher elaborated on why he chose the music of Morrissey and Co. for such gruesome occasions.
“The Smiths were a post-production edition because I knew I wanted to use ‘How Soon Is Now?,’ and I love the idea of that song, specifically, as a tool for assuaging his anxieties,” Fincher explained. “I like it as a meditation tape. I thought it was amusing, and funny. And I don’t think there’s a library of music by a recording artist that has as much sardonic nature and wit, simultaneously. You don’t get an awful lot of access to who this guy is. I thought, through his mixtape, it would be amusing that that would be our window [into him].”
Later during the presser, Fincher was asked about the ongoing Hollywood strikes — an especially relevant query considering that The Killer is a Netflix production that will hit theaters Oct. 27 and the streamer Nov. 10, and that Fincher executive produced and directed the pilot of the show that helped launch the streamer into the stratosphere, House of Cards.
“I don’t know what it says about the industry. I’m very sad,” said Fincher. “Obviously, I sit in the middle of both parties. This movie was made in the middle of the pandemic, and I never want to make a movie through a visor again… I can understand both sides, and I think all we can do is encourage them to talk.”