The Killer parents guide

The Killer Parent Guide

Michael Fassbender's standout performance is the highlight of this bloody tale of a rogue assassin.

Overall C

Netflix: A methodical assassin starts to wonder if his solitary life of violence is causing him to lose his mind.

Release date November 10, 2023

Violence D
Sexual Content B
Profanity D
Substance Use A-

Why is The Killer rated R? The MPAA rated The Killer R for strong violence, language and brief sexuality.

Run Time: 118 minutes

Parent Movie Review

An unnamed assassin (Michael Fassbender) does his job with precision, expertise, and a complete lack of emotion. He has turned murder into an art form, thinking of every detail, anticipating every outcome, and leaving no trace behind. But when a job goes wrong, he finds himself the target; not the hunter. Determinedly seeking vengeance, the experienced killer begins to work his way through those who have wronged him, while insisting it isn’t personal.

David Fincher is known for his meticulous attention to detail, beautiful cinematography, and moody atmospheres. He brings all of those elements into his latest project, but it would be a weak film without Fassbender in the lead role. This entire production hinges on Fassbender, as the vast majority of the movie is spent with him and his inner monologue. Fassbender delivers brilliantly, staying deadpan and uncaring, yet still fascinating to watch. He even subtly shifts his accent at different points of his mission to avoid detection, adding nuance to his performance.

The story is simple - assassin turns on his handlers - which is both a strength and weakness of this film. On the one hand the simplicity of the plot keeps the focus entirely on Fassbender’s performance, but the thin story fails to give him or anyone else solid motivation. His character seeks revenge because assassins came to his home and attacked a woman. Their relationship is never established, so the audience has no reason (beyond compassion) to care that she got hurt or understand why her attack motivates The Killer. It’s a very strange inclusion, considering she’s in two scenes with no explanation about their relationship. This is a classic, annoying example of “fridging”, i.e. creating a character (usually female) whose sole purpose in the plot is to die or be harmed, thereby motivating the revenge journey of another (usually male). The entire episode is completely irrelevant because our protagonist could just have easily been motivated by a personal assault, without making any difference to the rest of the film.

This is an assassin movie, so you can probably guess at the level of violence. People getting shot, blood splatters, and fist fights are par for the course, and profanity is tossed in with double-digit F-Bombs. Although beautifully shot and brilliantly thought out, the violent action sequences definitely fall into the Restricted range. Fassbender’s performance is honestly worth watching, as is the cinematography, but the flimsy story around it makes for a forgettable experience. Fans of the genre will enjoy this film, but other viewers won’t miss much by skipping it.

Directed by David Fincher. Starring Michael Fassbender, Tilda Swinton, Charles Parnell. Running time: 118 minutes. Theatrical release November 10, 2023. Updated

Watch the trailer for The Killer

The Killer
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Killer rated R? The Killer is rated R by the MPAA for strong violence, language and brief sexuality.

Violence: Characters die in bloody ways, often by gunshots to the head. A man is shot in the chest with a nail gun. There are scenes of fistfights. Blood and injury detail is shown throughout.
Sexual Content:   There is some innuendo and sexual discussion. A woman is seen in lingerie. A man is seen taking a shower, no nudity.
Profanity:   The script contains over 10 extreme expletives, three mild and moderate expletives, and around 10 uses of terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults are seen smoking in the background.

Page last updated

The Killer Parents' Guide

What are the tenets the Killer lives by? How do those affect his view of other people and his attitudes towards life?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Another assassin turns on his handlers in The Bourne Trilogy. The movies are, in order, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum.

The John Wick series is well known for its fight choreography. If that’s your thing, you can start with John Wick and move through John Wick: Chapter Two, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, and John Wick: Chapter 4.

In a weird twist on the genre, The Princess features a gently raised royal who must put into action her covert military training. She is going to kill everyone who is trying to force her into a marriage and keep her family as hostages.

It’s hard to make assassination funny but Red pulls it off. With Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren starring as retired spies, this film is as fast-moving as it is entertaining.

If you’re looking for teen-friendly movies in this genre, you can try the following:

An investigation into the possible brainwashing of American prisoners of war leads to an assassination plot in the classic film The Manchurian Candidate. (There is also a 2004 remake starring Denzel Washington.)

Also in the PG-13 range is Black Widow, which provides some dark backstory to one of the Marvel Comic Universe’s more enigmatic characters.

In Heart of Stone, a young agent must evade assassins while stopping a hacker from seizing an all-powerful computer. This is rated PG-13, but you should be aware that the violence is continuous throughout the movie’s runtime.