David Fincher stunned Venice with the world premiere of his latest film, The Killer, starring Michael Fassbender as a killer. The Netflix drama got a 5-minute standing ovation when it premiered on Lido Sunday night.
Fassbender and co-star Tilda Swinton were unable to attend the premiere due to the SAG-AFTRA strike. Fincher walked the carpet alone, with a small group of Netflix executives, as he signed posters for some of his films, from ‘Fight Club’ to ‘Seven’.
But Fincher didn’t seem to get the memo in the Venetian tradition of post-premier movie applause. As the crowd applauded him, he uncomfortably rose to his feet, waved his hands in the air, and said, “What is this?” A producer led him down the stairs from his balcony seat to meet the fans, but Fincher thought he was leaving the stage. Then he climbed the stairs again and continued to stand uncomfortably in front of the cheering crowd until he was finally able to leave.
Judging by the positive response to Lido, it looks like “The Killer” is poised to become a huge hit on Netflix. The fast pace and solid acting that drive this thriller feels like a perfect fit for the streamer, as Fassbender’s killer speaks with a deadpan voiceover reminiscent of Joe Goldberg in You, the Netflix series with an obsessive fanbase. If “Mank” was intended to be a prestige play targeting the Oscars, “Killer” is heart-racing, crowd-pleasing entertainment.
Earlier in the day, Fincher spoke at the film’s press conference in Venice about how Fassbender’s calm and thoughtful killer was developed, saying, “Empathy was the last thing on my mind regarding this character. It didn’t need to be scary. You know, the banality of evil.” I hope someone sees this movie and gets really nervous about the person behind it at Home Depot.
diverse Film critic Owen Gleiberman described “The Killer” as engaging and conventional in his review, but praised Fincher’s leading star. “Fassbender, with his grim anonymity, is the perfect actor for the role, his sullen, snake-like gaze emitting muted notes of anger and fear,” he wrote.
Based on the graphic novel series of the same name by Alexis Nolent and Luc Jacamon, “The Killer” follows Fassbender as a cold-blooded gunman who begins to have a psychological crisis after developing a relationship with one of his intended targets. The film, written by “Se7en” screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker, also stars Charles Parnell, Arliss Howard, Sophie Charlotte and Tilda Swinton. Regular Fincher collaborators such as cinematographer Eric Messerschmidt and composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross also return for “The Killer”.
“The Killer” is Fincher’s latest collaboration with Netflix. He was a director and executive producer on “House of Cards,” one of the first original series made, before working a similar job on the serial killer drama “Mindhunter.” The new film is Fincher’s second on Netflix after Mank, a drama about Orson Welles that garnered 10 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. “The Killer” is one of several Netflix originals competing at this year’s Venice Film Festival, including Pablo Larraín’s “El Conde” and Bradley Cooper’s “Maestro.”
“It’s a vintage venture, just from the title alone, it’s on track where you want to see it,” said Uri Marmur, co-director of original films at Netflix. diverse Earlier this year. “I don’t want to give too much.”
Netflix is set to release The Killer on November 10th.