David Fincher self-references in the trailer for The Killer: nods to Fight Club, Gone Girl, Mindhunter...

David Fincher self-references in the trailer for The Killer: nods to Fight Club, Gone Girl, Mindhunter…

From the dark photography to the scratchy music, including the subject of exploring the mind of an assassin, these first images are extremely reminiscent of the American filmmaker’s previous works.

With its adaptation of the comics The killerby Alexis Nolent, David Fincher returns to the thrillers that have made it successful since the 1990s. Seven (1995) to the series Mindhunter (2017-2019), the American director has often explored the sick brains of serial killers, filming their particularly grim daily lives and the unfolding of their sordid crimes while unraveling their modes of operation.

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The first teaser of The Killerwith Michael Fassbender in the skin of a chilling assassin who begins to ask questions even though he has until now killed without qualms, seems entirely in the vein of his previous works.

The director even has fun quoting himself, recycling ideas for shots, editing and a musical score evoking his previous works. Here are some striking examples, supported by screenshots, of the way in which Fincher nods to his own film with this new film, expected on Netflix on November 22, and presented before that on September 3 at the Venice Film Festival.

Men who didn’t like women (2011)
He’s not moviegoers’ favorite Fincher, but this thriller from the first volume of Stieg Larson’s successful literary saga was teased in exactly the same way as The Killer, twelve years ago. With an intense teaser, with particularly frenetic and repetitive editing. A succession of shots which a priori have nothing to do with each other, but which give in just a few seconds an idea of ​​the icy daily life of their protagonists. All punctuated by a repeating idea: a road covered in snow in Millenniumand this mantra “Stick to the plan” that the voice-over repeats here.

Music plays an important role in these two montages, although different. For The Girl With The Dragon TattooFincher (who supervises his trailers, and more generally the promotion of his films) had bet on a remix of the hit “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin, whose lyrics echoed what we saw on screen, but sung by a female voice. He also had the good idea of ​​filtering this video as if it were a pirated trailer, in order to recall his heroine’s hacker job.

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For this new film, Fincher called on Atticus Ross again, who had already composed his original soundtracks for The Social Network or of Gone Girl. Its alternative rock fits well with the derailed mind of the main character.

We can also note a few shots copied and pasted from one film to another, like during a motorcycle sequence, or that of the lying face of Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), which already echoed the Jodie Foster of Panic Room. An image which was also used to create the poster for the film, in 2002. Except that it was then a shot of the victims/heroines, and not of the killer.

Mindhunter (2017-2019)
Fans of David Fincher’s cinema must have the mourning of Mindhunter, his series recounting the creation of the branch of the FBI specializing in tracking down serial killers, which will not have a third season despite the qualities of the first two. But given these first images, The Killer is part of the direct lineage of this show, like a Mindhunter 2.0.

Basically, its principle is the same: delving into the psyche of an assassin. Visually, the two projects also look very similar, which is no coincidence: they share the same cinematographer, Erik Messerschmidt. With its green hues, its atmosphere “clinical”his style is particularly recognizable, and it works wonderfully on this kind of dissection of human behavior.

Seven (1995)

In the same vein, we will necessarily think of Seven in front of this new killer story, since it was one of its authors, Andrew Kevin Walker, who was responsible for adapting the graphic novels for Fincher.

A few shots slipped into this first montage immediately evoke this cult thriller, notably a staircase recalling the hunt for the serial killer by the two cops played by Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. If his identity is known today, when it was released, the name of the star who plays him was not revealed during promotion, nor in the film’s intro credits. So much so that the first time they meet him on a staircase, the spectator is not sure whether he recognizes him…

Note also that in parallel with the manufacturing of The KillerFincher worked on a 4K reissue of Seven. He promised to only retouch images damaged by time, without touching the essence of his film, but the fact of working on these two killer stories in parallel certainly influenced the post-production of his new film.

Fight Club (1999)
The shot that opens this trailer is strangely reminiscent of those that close Fight Club. Then the sounds at the end of the video seem straight from the sick mind of its protagonist played by Edward Norton.

By dint of repeating his mantra (not very far from the heady principle of “first rule of Figh Club”), the character played by Michael Fassbender begins to deceive, to mix things up, and this use of voice-over necessarily recalls that of this key film in Fincher’s career, which dealt with identity disorders. Does the killer in his new film suffer from a split personality? Where is he “only” discovering a conscience after years of committing crimes?

Gone Girl (2014)
To present David Fincher, this teaser cites three works: Seven, Fight Club And Gone Girl. The links with the first two are obvious, and after watching the video, there are also quite a few points in common with this other memorable thriller, the director’s last film to be released on the big screen. Already, the principle of unreliable voice-over had already been used in Fight Clubthen took on a new dimension in this couple story which turns into drama with Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck.

The filmmaker quotes himself in small touches, by reproducing an exit shot from a plane, for example. And he also shows his anti-hero several times in front of mirrors, in bathrooms, in the shower… So many elements which, without spoiling, were at the heart of Gone Girl. Not to mention that the two concepts are very similar: in 2014, the husband said he wanted to open his wife’s brain to dissect it? Here, Fincher wants to study in detail how his killer works. And so get into his head.

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