The Killer (2023) is an enigma. David Fincher’s new film on Netflix is unlike anything the director has ever attempted. Michael Fassbender is the sole focus of the story. It revolves around his eponymous assassin, who is on mission mode for revenge after his partner’s attempted assassination. The Killer is moody, beautifully composed, and purpose-driven. With minimal plot detailing and character sketches, it is difficult to find pockets of tension in the film. Fassbender is a revelation with his tacit act. The calm tenor of his voice is a soothing anchor to an otherwise uneventful narrative.

The Killer does not have many sharp twists and turns. Its graph plateaus after the twenty-minute mark, failing to make an impact in this department. However, the underlying detachment and feeling of indifference add a lot of weight to Fassbender’s character. In this piece, we break down The Killer’s plot and ending for our readers.

The Killer (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis: 

The Killer’s plot is quite simple. An unnamed assassin is tasked with killing an important and exclusive target in France. He sets up the station for more than a week when the target finally shows up. As the killer prepares to shoot him down and get his task over with, something unmistakably rare happens – he misses. The killer packs up shop and evades the attention of law enforcement to travel back home. However, he has a surprise waiting for him. He finds out that his home has been attacked and his partner, Magdala, is in the ICU. She barely escaped with her life, as her brother and eyewitness, Marcus, explains the involvement of a green taxi and a pair of a man and a woman.

Why was The Killer’s home attacked?

The Killer’s home in the Dominican Republic – which is one of several hideout properties he owns – is attacked by The Client, whose name he learns to be Claybourne. Hodges, an international trade attorney, is sort of the middleman and operator who connects the killer with high-paying clients. He is the one who suggested and called the attack on his house to tie up loose ends as a make-good to the client. The Killer’s first pitstop is tracking down the green top taxi in the city that was hired for the to and fro journey on the assassination job.

After some diligent tracking down, the killer is able to identify Leo Rodrigues as the maimed driver. Leo seemingly had no idea about what the purpose of his ride was that day. He explains to the killer – with a gun pointed at his midriff – that the man and woman were picked up and dropped off at the airport. He also describes how they look. However, the killer wants to leave no loose ends and kills Leo after learning the information.

Why does The Killer get personal revenge on Hodges?

Now that the killer has an idea of what the man and the woman look like, he wants to find out their identity. It is heavily suggested that he knows who the woman is – a white-haired woman known as The Expert, who has worked with him numerous times. However, he needs exact information as to who the man on the job was…and the only place he can get it is at the New Orleans office of Hodges. We saw him talking to the attorney earlier in the movie when the target hadn’t shown up and after the killer had miraculously missed his mark.

The killer arranges to go to the office. Hodges and his assistant, Dolores, are tied up by him. The killer has no intention of letting him live, even though he understands that Hodges did not have any personal interest in arranging the hit. Hodges is shown saying that to the killer to alleviate his anger. But his pleadings fall on deaf ears. The killer is in a rage and acts unprofessionally by killing Hodges, who is part of the system. It is almost reminiscent of when John Wick killed Santino for his personal vendetta even when he knew the weight of the system would be shifted on him.

The Killer (2023). Tilda Swinton as The Expert in The Killer. Cr. Netflix ©2023
The Killer (2023). Tilda Swinton as The Expert in The Killer. Cr. Netflix ©2023

The Killer (2023) Movie Ending Explained:

The killer takes Dolores hostage and does not kill her yet. She pleads with him to make her death look natural and make sure the authorities can come to that conclusion by finding her body. Dolores is concerned that her children won’t get the benefit of her life insurance if that does not happen. She tells him all about the man who was sent on the job with The Expert. After getting his address, which is in Florida, he grants Dolores her wish. He snaps her neck at the top of the flight of stairs and then pushes her to make it look like an accident.

How does The Killer’s lack of empathy save his life?

He prepares methodically to drug the brute’s dog and then kill him. However, it will not be that easy as the brute is already prepared for his arrival. Even though the dog is drugged, it wakes up soon after the killer murders the brute. They are involved in a difficult situation as the brute matches up to the killer’s combat skills, even upending him on many occasions. After killing him and escaping the clutches of the brute’s pit bull, the killer lights his house on fire using a Molotov before limping away to escape in the getaway car.

The killer’s next destination is New York where he comes face to face with The Expert. Tilda Swinton plays the easy-going character who is not afraid when she sees The Killer join her at the dinner table. He had the opportunity to kill her before at a redlight stop. But for some reason, he chose to follow her to a place she frequents. The quaint hub does not see blood spilled as the killer merely sits there with her and shares a strange conversation, Of course, he doesn’t speak much and only has a shot of whiskey before asking The Expert to get up and take her to a solitary spot.

As she is about to be shot, the expert trips when her heel breaks. She extends a hand asking for the killer’s help to get up but he simply shoots her in the head. This is how his lack of empathy saves his life. Had he helped the expert get back to her feet, he would have potentially been stabbed since she was holding a knife in her other hand.

Why did the killer not murder Claybourne?

Now, the big question of why Claybourne, The Client, was not murdered. The Killer makes an impressive plan to infiltrate Claybourne’s high-end apartment in the middle of the city. The killer observes his routine, using inexpensive tools purchased on Amazon to clone his home keycard and circumvent building security. The most apparent reason for not killing Claybourne stems from his perceived lack of intention. The client explained that this was his first hit. When the job was botched, it was Hodges who pushed him to order a hit on the killer.

Claybourne had little idea of what was going to happen next and returned to his life as if this chapter never happened. Due to this lack of awareness and detachment from the killer’s life, Claybourne was spared. The killer’s commitment did not waver to his trade but perhaps his loyalty to Magdala prevented him from doing anything more. 

Read More: The Killer (2023) Review: Fincher At His Most Soulless

The Killer (2023) Movie Trailer

The Killer (2023) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The Killer (2023) Movie Cast: Michael Fassbender, Tilda Swinton, Charles Parnell
Where to watch The Killer

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