David Fincher’s The Killer Is a Subtly Funny Movie About a Loser Assassin
David Fincher movies appeal to a very particular Type of Guy.
You may know this Type of Guy, because he is ubiquitous on the internet. He had a Fight Club poster in his college dorm room. He’s seen Se7en too many times. He has some thoughts about the Zodiac Killer and Facebook that are at least partially informed by Fincher’s movies about those subjects. He owns many black T-shirts. He really, really likes Nine Inch Nails, the industrial band fronted by frequent Fincher collaborator Trent Reznor, but in an intellectual way.
Fincher’s movies appeal to this Type of Guy because they are often about this Type of Guy. His filmography is defined by portraits of a particular type of male rage and ennui, of men who feel lost, disconnected from social convention, surrounded by the disposable detritus of consumer capitalism, stuck in their heads with their unstoppable thoughts. Fincher’s movies take a keen interest in this Type of Guy, capturing his Wikipedia-level nihilism with grimdark slickness; they are glamorously moody and precise in a way that not only appeals to this Type of Guy’s taste and sensibility but has helped define it.
But Fincher isn’t celebrating this Type of Guy, not really. He’s mocking him. Despite Fincher’s reputation as a gloom-monger, his movies are often quite bleakly funny, and his lonely, agitated male losers are frequently the targets of the jokes. Fight Club isn’t a comedy, exactly, but it’s a caustic satire of its narrator character, a corporate drone who—spoiler—imagines a sexy Brad Pitt alter ego who leads a cult built around bored loser guys who let off steam by beating the crap out of e
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