Andrew Kevin Walker adapted the graphic novel by Alexis Nolent into David Fincher’s gripping and addictive samurai procedural. Michael Fassbender stars as the unnamed hitman, who opens the film with a subdued yet captivating monologue about the monotony of his job. He reflects on various topics, such as the meaningless nature of the universe and his love for the music of the Smiths, while perched in a WeWork office with a long-range rifle, overlooking a luxurious Paris hotel. He patiently awaits his target, a VIP guest staying in the suite across from him, until he can take the fatal shot.
However, despite the killer’s calm and merciless approach, his strict self-control and impressive yoga poses, an unforeseen mishap occurs; the wealthy, heartless individuals who hired him will now seek revenge, leading to a deadly cycle. The killer now follows a new principle: WWJWBD – What Would John Wilkes Booth Do?
The murderer’s intense and determined efforts to save himself lead him on a journey from Paris to the Dominican Republic, where he owns a luxurious remote estate, and then to New Orleans. Here, he must meet with the law professor who recruited him into this line of work. He then travels to Florida, New York, and Chicago to meet with the wealthy individual financing his operations through cryptocurrency. The outcome is a mix of violence and surreal moments as he disguises himself and covers his tracks, constantly using false identities that are met with friendly smiles at airports and car rental counters. He also has numerous storage units and lockers where he keeps his weapons, money, and forged passports.
The combination of absurdity and sincerity displayed by Fassbender and Fincher in this display of anonymous professionalism is highly entertaining. While the film may seem far-fetched, there are moments that make one question the authenticity of the scenarios, such as gaining access to a keyfob-protected door with just a photo and an Amazon purchase. It’s possible that this could actually happen.
Students who follow the Frederick Forsyth novel “The Jackal” have been utilizing the tactic of using fake passports for many years. They are aware that even if the information on the passports is not entirely accurate, the large number of passports adds an intriguing and even sensual element. In one instance, we witness the killer purchasing specific items at a supermarket without knowing their purpose until a later scene. This delay in information adds to the tension and danger of the story. Director David Fincher also adds intense action and suspense when the killer is caught off guard – often while distracted by his own rules of discipline – resulting in a brutal fight, including one that takes place in front of a TV displaying Fiona Bruce in a surreal manner.
Why is the murderer committing these actions? When did he plan on having time to relax and enjoy his wealth? Is it possible that he lacks imagination and has subconsciously been hoarding money and weapons for this type of self-destructive kamikaze mission? Or will the disaster lead him to a way out of this chaotic situation? This thriller focuses on style and appearance, expertly executed with Michael Fassbender’s weary and enigmatic expression.