‘The Killer,’ directed by David Fincher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker, immerses viewers in the gripping world of a skilled assassin. Inspired by the French graphic novel series by Alexis “Matz” Nolent, the film stars Michael Fassbender in the lead role, alongside a stellar cast that includes the likes of Arliss Howard, Charles Parnell, Kerry O’Malley, Sala Baker, Sophie Charlotte, and Tilda Swinton. The story follows the methodical assassin as he stakes out a Parisian hotel room, meticulously preparing for a hit. His routine includes yoga, meals, and The Smiths, all while conversing with his handler, Hodges. However, a twist of fate leads to a botched hit, setting off a frantic escape and a journey of discovery. From Paris to the Dominican Republic, the killer confronts a web of deception, unearthing his own shadowy past. ‘The Killer’ is a tale of intrigue, vengeance, and the inescapable grip of a profession that leaves no easy way out. If you find yourself craving more after David Fincher’s electrifying comeback thriller, we’ve curated a list of 10 must-watch movies that share the same pulse-pounding intensity as ‘The Killer.’
10. The Professional (1981)
The Georges Lautner-directed ‘The Professional’ is a captivating French crime film centered around Josselin Beaumont (Jean-Paul Belmondo), a highly skilled hitman who gets framed by his own government. Seeking revenge and redemption, Beaumont escapes from custody and embarks on a thrilling quest, navigating the treacherous world of espionage and betrayal. The film features a gripping narrative and exceptional performances, echoing the themes of vengeance and professionalism found in ‘The Killer.’ Both movies explore the complexities of the assassin’s life, showcasing intense action and intricate character dynamics.
9. The Outfit (2022)
In ‘The Outfit,’ a gripping psychological crime drama thriller directed by Graham Moore, Leonard (Mark Rylance), a master English tailor in Chicago, finds himself entangled in a dangerous web. Operating a corner tailor shop, Leonard crafts exquisite clothes for a notorious gangster family. When two killers (Dylan O’Brien, Johnny Flynn) seek his assistance one night, Leonard is reluctantly drawn into a deadly game of deception and murder. The film delves into the intricate world of crime and manipulation, echoing the themes of intricate plots and high-stakes scenarios found in ‘The Killer.’
8. The Mechanic (2011)
‘The Mechanic,’ directed by Simon West, shares thematic similarities with ‘The Killer.’ The film stars Jason Statham as Arthur Bishop, an elite contract killer who specializes in making his hits look like accidents. Bishop’s highly methodical and emotionless approach to his job mirrors the professionalism and routine-driven life of the titular character in ‘The Killer.’ In ‘The Mechanic,’ Bishop becomes a mentor to a younger assassin (played by Ben Foster), much like the relationship between the two protagonists in ‘The Killer.’ The movie explores themes of mentorship, betrayal, and the moral complexities of their deadly profession, delivering an absorbing narrative within the world of contract killers.
7. A History of Violence (2005)
Directed by David Cronenberg, ‘A History of Violence’ explores a family’s tranquil existence shattered when Tom Stall, portrayed by Viggo Mortensen, is confronted by ruthless adversaries from his dark and violent past. Mortensen’s character grapples with the desire to escape his criminal history while acknowledging the impossibility of severing those ties completely. This notion resonates with the central philosophy in ‘The Killer’—once a person becomes entangled in a life of violence, they inevitably leave a trail of blood, an inescapable consequence of their actions. Both films delve into the inescapable repercussions of a life led by brutality, highlighting the enduring impact it has on those involved.
6. Inherent Vice (2014)
‘Inherent Vice’ offers an intriguing watch for those who enjoyed ‘The Killer’ because it, too, involves intricate mysteries and convoluted plots. Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, the film combines elements of crime, comedy, and neo-noir, creating a unique and captivating atmosphere. The intricate narrative follows the private investigator Doc Sportello, portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, as he navigates the labyrinthine world of the Los Angeles criminal underworld in the early 1970s. With an ensemble cast featuring Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, and Katherine Waterston, ‘Inherent Vice‘ weaves a complex tale that immerses the audience in a world of deception and dark humor, offering a thought-provoking and visually engaging experience.
5. The Town (2010)
In the gritty streets of Boston, where loyalty collides with crime, ‘The Town’ emerges as a riveting tale of heists and heartaches. Directed by Ben Affleck, the film follows a skilled bank robber, Doug MacRay (played by Affleck), torn between his criminal life and a budding romance with a bank manager (Rebecca Hall). As Doug’s crew plans their next job, they find themselves pursued by an FBI agent (Jon Hamm) determined to bring them down. Renowned for its intense action and intricate characters, ‘The Town’ mirrors ‘The Killer’s exploration of the blurred lines between law and lawlessness, weaving a narrative of gripping suspense and moral ambiguity.
4. The Long Goodbye (1973)
‘The Long Goodbye’ stands as a serene yet engrossing thriller, characterized by its protagonist, Marlowe, skillfully navigating the complexities of his job amidst the constant meandering through the city’s labyrinthine alleys. Much like the wandering detective in ‘The Killer,’ Marlowe’s journey comprises aimless strolls, encountering eccentric characters and gradually unraveling clues in the enigmatic landscape of Los Angeles. This wandering narrative mirrors Michael Fassbender’s character in ‘The Killer,’ as he traverses diverse locations, immersing himself in the chaotic and unforgiving reality of a dog-eat-dog world. Both films capture the essence of protagonists entangled in the unpredictable intricacies of life, painting a vivid picture of the intricate paths they navigate in their respective worlds.
3. The American Friend (1977)
‘The American Friend’ is a must-watch for fans of ‘The Killer’ due to its shared exploration of morally complex hitmen. Directed by Wim Wenders, the film stars Dennis Hopper as Tom Ripley, a mysterious American who enlists a terminally ill picture framer, Jonathan Zimmermann (Bruno Ganz), in a deadly game of contract killings. Both films delve deep into the psychology of their morally ambiguous assassins, exploring themes of guilt, identity, and the cost of a life lived in violence. The intricate character development and intense atmosphere in ‘The American Friend’ resonate with the depth found in ‘The Killer,’ providing a captivating experience for enthusiasts of the hitman genre.
2. You Were Never Really Here (2017)
‘You Were Never Really Here’ offers an enthralling experience for fans of ‘The Killer’ by immersing them in a relentless world of tormented characters. The film, directed by Lynne Ramsay, introduces viewers to a traumatized war veteran portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix. Like the titular character in ‘The Killer,’ he is a stoic and introspective figure who grapples with the dual erosion of duty and reality. His life revolves around the grim task of tracking down missing girls, but a sinister job thrusts him into the heart of a chilling conspiracy, mirroring the themes of moral ambiguity and a descent into darkness found in ‘The Killer.’ With its dark, immersive atmosphere and a strong lead performance(a Joaquin Phoenix staple at this point), ‘You Were Never Really Here’ delivers an unforgettable experience.
1. Le Samouraï (1967)
In the realm of assassin films, ‘Le Samouraï’ stands as a cornerstone that greatly influenced works like ‘The Killer.’ Jean-Pierre Melville’s masterpiece revolves around Jef Costello (played by the legendary Alain Delon), a proficient hitman whose life takes a perilous turn when he’s spotted by a witness. The film meticulously taps into Costello’s character, revealing his complexity as a killer with a conscience, capable of love and empathy. Melville’s exploration of the humane side of a cold-hearted assassin mirrors the thematic depth of ‘The Killer.’ Both films share an introspective look into the moral ambiguity of their protagonists, showcasing the internal struggles of characters whose lives are entangled in a world of violence and solitude. For fans of ‘The Killer,’ ‘Le Samouraï’ is not just a recommendation; it’s a cinematic journey into the soul of a hitman, painting a profound and mesmerizing portrait of a conflicted killer.
Read More: Best Assassin Movies of All Time