By Alex McPherson

Here’s a list of my favorite movies of 2023, posted fashionably late.

10. “Barbie”

Let’s be honest here. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already seen Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie.” This box office sensation (superior to Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” by the way) is a sight to behold — packed to the brim with eye-popping visuals and amusing-to-hilarious jokes, featuring excellent performances from Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, and America Ferrera (among others in this star-studded cast) in a story whose emotional storyline leaves a lasting impression. Gerwig’s film tackles a ton of topics, delivering an incisive takedown of the patriarchy, a universal ode to self-actualization and empowerment, while also being a self-reflexive critique and celebration of the Barbie brand itself. Skeptical viewers should absolutely give this film a watch – “Barbie” is one of the most confident, well-crafted films of this year, or any year.

9. “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.”

I held off watching director Kelly Fremon Craig’s “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” until just recently, but it’s absolutely essential viewing. Elevated by sensitive, lived-in performances from Abby Ryder Fortson, Rachel McAdams, Benny Safdie, and Kathy Bates, Craig’s adaptation of Judy Blume’s 1970 novel is a relatable coming-of-age dramedy that takes an empathetic approach to all its characters. Growing up is complicated, messy, and full of unknowns, regardless of age, but the film emphasizes the importance of staying true to yourself and being your own person. Funny, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting, it’s a timeless story that’s been given a fresh coat of paint, in one of 2023’s most enjoyable films.

8. “Skinamarink”

A claustrophobic, intensely immersive experience from start to finish, and one of the year’s most polarizing films, director Kyle Edward Ball’s “Skinamarink” is a feat of experiential storytelling. The film centers around two children trapped in their family home as doors and windows mysteriously disappear. Their parents are nowhere to be found, with only Legos and public domain cartoons on a blindingly-bright analog TV to comfort them. As the situation grows increasingly trippy and terror-inducing, Ball eschews a clear-cut narrative for subjective manifestations of viewers’ own monsters lurking in the darkened spaces of empty hallways and ceilings. We rarely leave the kids’ point-of-view due to agonizingly suspenseful, static-laden editing and cinematography that dares us to fill in the voids with our own fears, maintaining a constant sense of anticipation as we wait for silence to be broken. “Skinamarink” is a demanding watch, for sure, and not for those with short attention spans, but there’s truly nothing like it.

7. “Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros”

The only documentary in my Top 10 list this year, director Frederick Wiseman’s “Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros” is an ode to cooking, to art, and the act of creation. It’s also four hours long, and I recommend watching it in two two-hour sessions when it becomes available. Wiseman’s film transports viewers into several restaurants in the idyllic French countryside run by the Troisgros family, letting viewers observe the meticulous brainstorming and preparation that goes into running such high-end establishments. Wiseman positions us as flies on the wall, sans narration or music, and creates a downright hypnotic spell. It’s fascinating and inspiring to watch artists at work, and seeing the passion that main chef Michel and his sons César and Léo have for the work. Viewers travel from the kitchen to various producers (including local winemakers, cheesemakers, and cattle farmers) as experts explain their crafts, as well as spending time with (occasionally pompous) restaurant patrons for whom the food is prepared. Through its patient rhythms and tactile cinematography, “Menus-Plaisirs” is captivating and inspiring, motivating me to embrace my own interests.

6. “Godzilla Minus One”

Emotional, invigorating, and full of rip-roaring set pieces while still having plenty on its mind, director Takashi Yamazaki’s “Godzilla Minus One” is one of the year’s biggest surprises. Kaiju movies aren’t necessarily known for the humans involved, but Yamazaki’s film takes time to present endearing, three-dimensional characters facing off against an unprecedented threat. Themes of PTSD, survivor’s guilt, and joining forces for a nation’s existence take center stage alongside sequences of incredible visual artistry and suspense. Ryunosuke Kamiki’s damaged pilot-turned-minesweeper Koichi Shikishima remains a compelling protagonist for this crowd-pleasing piece of popcorn entertainment that honors its rich legacy and doesn’t overplay its hand, balancing its weighty themes with some of the year’s most spectacular action.

5. “Past Lives”

Emotionally raw and artfully constructed with an astounding trio of central performances by Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, and John Magaro, director Celine Song’s “Past Lives” is a thought-provoking meditation on love, dreams, regret, and bittersweet acceptance of the present. Song’s direction is immaculate, giving scenes time to breathe, and Keith Fraase’s editing weaves together characters’ stories in a way that gives the film a dreamlike, ethereal quality. This deceptively gentle, semi-autobiographical story of connections renewed is both personal and universal. Song offers profound reflections on the immigrant experience that everyone can relate to: confronting what-ifs and paths not taken in a manner that shuns melodrama for pure, honest, empathetic truths that acknowledge the past while leaving the door open for an even brighter future.

4. “The Zone of Interest”

Jonathan Glazer’s horrific, experimental, and deeply moving film “The Zone of Interest” takes a disturbing look at the family of Nazi commandant Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel), who live next door to Auschwitz in their dream home. Only a wall separates them from the horrors therein. Gunshots, screams of agony, and roars of furnaces ring throughout the Höss residence, while Christian’s wife Hedwig (Sandra Huller) tends the large garden and their children play in the yard, everyone ignoring the atrocities just beyond sight. Glazer’s film, greatly enhanced by Mica Levi’s outstanding score and haunting sound design, forces viewers face-to-face with the monstrous complicity of the Höss family, ultimately turning the camera back at us in its final stretch. Formally daring and enveloping, “The Zone of Interest” is unforgettable, lingering in the mind long after the credits roll and encouraging us to reflect on what we’ve shielded ourselves from for the sake of normalcy. Sometimes, films come along that have the power to shift paradigms and ways of being, and this is definitely one of them.

3. “Fallen Leaves”

Legendary Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki gives us another life-affirming gem with “Fallen Leaves,” a story of two lonely souls finding purpose and happiness with each other in a cold, seemingly uncaring world. Deploying Kaurismäki’s signature brand of dry, deadpan humor (with one of the year’s best scripts) that never loses sight of the characters’ humanity and capacity for change, it’s a lovely film — endlessly rewatchable and chock full of small yet meaningful moments of compassion that shine through amid bleak circumstances both near and far. “Fallen Leaves” isn’t a happy watch per say, but a hopeful one, with magnetic performances and Kaurismäki’s brilliantly efficient direction urging us to not succumb to despair and to embrace those we hold dear.

2. “The Killer”

Methodical, darkly comedic, achingly stylish, and yielding satisfying rewards for viewers willing to dig beneath the surface, “The Killer” is a mesmerizing masterwork from director David Fincher. This hyper-violent, slice-of-life portrait of an unnamed assassin (played with finely-calibrated precision by Michael Fassbender) experiencing an existential crisis might seem simple at first glance, but there’s far more going on here than meets the eye. “The Killer” is ultimately a deconstruction of toxic masculinity, a sardonic takedown of the gig economy, an indictment of our consumerist, always-online society, and a weirdly gratifying peek into an assassin’s day-to-day routines. It’s also streaked with irony, as viewers observe this “well-oiled killing machine” combusting from the inside-out; Andrew Kevin Walker’s screenplay delivers sharp jabs to our protagonist’s ego as his internal monologue tries to convince him everything is under control. Add to all this an incredible score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, a whole bunch of songs by The Smiths, a scene-stealing cameo from Tilda Swinton, and an all-time great fight scene, there’s no doubt that Fincher’s latest ranks among the year’s best.

1. “John Wick: Chapter 4”

Director Chad Stahelski’s nearly-three-hour thrill ride “John Wick: Chapter 4” takes action filmmaking to new heights, presenting set piece after set piece of bone-crunching stunt work and dazzling cinematography. Keanu Reeves gives one of his best performances to date as the titular Baba Yaga, taking on “The High Table” in a last bid for freedom. Not even this year’s “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” rivals the balletic carnage on display here, matched by a storyline with stakes, heart, and great supporting turns from Donnie Yen, Shamier Anderson, and Scott Adkins. The last hour, in particular, is absolutely immaculate — the most skillful action filmmaking since 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road.” What “Chapter 4” lacks in thought-provoking themes it more than makes up for with sheer fun factor. It’s a modern classic in the action genre that deserves more recognition, and as such, ranks at the top of my all-powerful, anyone-who-reads-this-should-watch-these-movies-immediately list.

10 Honorable Mentions (I could keep going but needed to stop somewhere): “They Cloned Tyrone,” “Poor Things,” “Talk to Me,” “20,000 Species of Bees,” “Showing Up,” “BlackBerry,” “American Fiction” “The Holdovers,” “Robot Dreams,” “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.”

“Oppenheimer” leads with nominations 14, followed by “Killers of the Flower Moon” with 12, “Barbie” 11 and “The Holdovers” with 9

The year’s top film phenomenon “Barbenheimer” dominated the nominations announced Dec. 10 by the St. Louis Film Critics Association, with Christopher Nolan’s scientific biopic leading the way, earning 14 nods for best film, director, actor Cillian Murphy, supporting actor Robert Downey Jr., supporting actress Emily Blunt, ensemble, adapted screenplay, cinematography, editing, production design, costume design, music score, visual effects, and best scene.

Awards will be announced Dec. 17.

In addition to determining nominations in 24 categories, the regional critics’ group recognized two groups for special merits involving the industry’s labor strikes this year.

Special Merit: The Screen Actors Guild and Writer’s Guild of America for fighting for artists’ equity and protecting the future of filmmaking by striking against practices that minimize or eliminate protection and living wages for artists.

Special Merit: A24 for showing solidarity with the actors and writers by securing approval from SAG-AFTRA and WGA to continue filmmaking and publicity.

The epic western crime drama “Killers of the Flower Moon” received 12 nominations, including best film, director Martin Scorsese, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, actress Lily Gladstone, ensemble, adapted screenplay, cinematography, editing, production design, costume design, music score and scene.

Killers of the Flower Moon

Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster comedy “Barbie” about the Mattel doll’s existential crisis in BarbieLand, KenEnergy and toxic masculinity in the real world, earned 11 nods for film, director, actress Margot Robbie, supporting actor Ryan Gosling, ensemble, original screenplay, production design, costume design, music soundtrack, comedy and best scene.

Alexander Payne’s comedy-drama “The Holdovers” about a cranky teacher supervising students left on a prep school campus and the bonds formed during Christmas break in 1970 earned recognition for its three principal characters among its nine nominations for film, actor Paul Giamatti, supporting actress Da’Vine Joy Randolph, supporting actor Dominic Sessa, ensemble, original screenplay, editing, music soundtrack, and comedy.

“Maestro,” “May December” and “The Zone of Interest” each earned six nominations.

Todd Hayne’s discomforting drama “May December” tally included nods for its three principal actors Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore and Charles Melton, director, music score, and film.

Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore in “May December”

Jonathan Glazer’s chilling wartime drama set next to Auschwitz “The Zone of Interest,” a film produced in the United Kingdom, earned its accolades for film, international feature, adapted screenplay, cinematography, editing and music score.

Bradley Cooper’s biopic on Leonard Bernstein, “Maestro,” received nods for film, actor Bradley Cooper, cinematography, editing, music soundtrack, and scene.

“American Fiction” earned five nominations for film, actor Jeffrey Wright, adapted screenplay, comedy and supporting actor Sterling K. Brown, who happens to be a St. Louis native.

“Past Lives” and “The Killer” had four nominees each, with Celine Song’s semi-autobiographical American-made film nominated for film, director, original screenplay, and actress Greta Lee.

David Fincher’s “The Killer” was heralded for its technical skills, with nominations for editing, stunts, soundtrack, and best action movie.

John Wick Chapter 4

Other films with three nominations apiece: “Air,” “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” “Asteroid City,” “John Wick: Chapter 4,” “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One,” “Poor Things,” and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.”

Founded in 2004, the St. Louis Film Critics Association is a nonprofit organization of professional film reviewers who regularly publish current and timely film criticism, support local productions and festivals, and enhance public education, awareness, and appreciation of films.

Vetted members are affiliated with qualifying media outlets in the St. Louis metropolitan region.

For the awards, eligible films are those that opened in the greater St. Louis area or had an online premiere during the 2023 calendar year – including those film that were given awards-qualifying runs in 2022 but were not available to all SLFCA members until 2023. Films slated for release in early 2024 are also eligible if a press screening, DVD screener, or screening link was provided to all SLFCA members.

For more information, visit the site:

Full List of Nominations:

The Zone of Interest


American Fiction
Anatomy of a Fall
The Holdovers
Killers of the Flower Moon
May December
Past Lives
The Zone of Interest


Greta Gerwig “Barbie”
Todd Haynes “May December”
Christopher Nolan “Oppenheimer”
Martin Scorsese “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Celine Song “Past Lives”

Jeffrey Wright in “American Fiction”


Bradley Cooper “Maestro”
Leonardo DiCaprio “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Paul Giamatti “The Holdovers”
Cillian Murphy “Oppenheimer”
Jeffrey Wright “American Fiction”

Teo Yoo, Greta Lee, John Magaro in “Past Lives”


Lily Gladstone “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Greta Lee “Past Lives”
Natalie Portman “May December”
Margot Robbie “Barbie”
Emma Stone “Poor Things”


Sterling K. Brown “American Fiction”
Robert Downey Jr. “Oppenheimer”
Ryan Gosling “Barbie”
Charles Melton “May December”
Dominic Sessa “The Holdovers”

Viola Davis in “Air”


Emily Blunt “Oppenheimer”
Viola Davis “Air”
Rachel McAdams “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret”
Julianne Moore “May December”
Da’Vine Joy Randolph “The Holdovers”

The Holdovers


Asteroid City
The Holdovers
Killers of the Flower Moon


Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

American Fiction – Cord Jefferson; based on the novel Erasure by Percival Everett

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret – Kelly Fremon Craig; based on the novel by Judy Blume

Killers of the Flower MoonEric Roth and Martin Scorsese; based on the book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

OppenheimerChristopher Nolan; based on the book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin

The Zone of InterestJonathan Glazer; based on the novel by Martin Amis


Alex Convery “Air”
Justine Triet and Arthur Harari “Anatomy of a Fall”
 Greta Gerwig & Noah Baumbach “Barbie”
David Hemingson “The Holdovers”
Celine Song “Past Lives”

(L to R) Jake Ryan, Jason Schwartzman and Tom Hanks in director Wes Anderson’s ASTEROID CITY, a Focus Features release. Credit: Courtesy of Pop. 87 Productions/Focus Features


Robert D. Yeoman “Asteroid City”
Rodrigo Prieto “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Matthew Libatique “Maestro”
Hoyte van Hoytema “Oppenheimer”
Lukasz Zal “The Zone of Interest”


Kevin Tent “The Holdovers”
Kirk Baxter “The Killer”
Thelma Schoonmaker “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Michelle Tesoro “Maestro”
Jennifer Lame “Oppenheimer”
Paul Watts “The Zone of Interest”



Adam Stockhausen “Asteroid City”
Sarah Greenwood (Production Designer), Katie Spencer (Set Decorator)“Barbie”
Jack Fisk “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Ruth De Jong “Oppenheimer”
James Price (Production Designer), Shona Heath (Production Designer), Szusza Mihalek (Set Decorator)“Poor Things”


Jacqueline Durran “Barbie”
Jacqueline West (Costume Design), Julie O’Keefe (Head Osage Wardrobe Consultant) “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Ellen Mirojnick “Oppenheimer”
Holly Waddington “Poor Things”
Stacey Battat “Priscilla”



Robbie Robertson “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Marcelo Zavros “May December”
Ludwig Göransson “Oppenheimer”
Daniel Pemberton “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”
Mica Levi “The Zone of Interest”


The Holdovers
The Killer



The CreatorJay Cooper, Ian Comley (ILM Visual Effects Supervisors); Andrew Roberts (On Set Visual Effects Supervisor); Neil Corbould (Supervising Special Effects Supervisor)

Godzilla Minus One Takashi Yamazaki (Visual Effects Supervisor)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Stephane Ceretti (Visual Effects Supervisor), Alexis Wajsbrot (Visual Effects Supervisor), Guy Williams (Visual Effects Supervisor), Teho Bialek (Visual Effects Supervisor)

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One Alex Wuttke (Visual Effects Supervisor), Simone Coco (Visual Effects Supervisor), Jeff Sutherland (Visual Effects Supervisor), Neil Corbould (Special Effects Supervisor)

Oppenheimer Andrew Jackson (Production Visual Effects Supervisor), Giacomo Mineo (Visual Effects Supervisor), Scott Fisher (Special Effects Supervisor), Dave Drzewiecki (Visual Effects Director of Photography)


Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny – Mike Massa (Stunt Coordinator / Double), Abdelaaziz Attougui (Stunt Performer)

The Iron Claw – Chavo Guerrero Jr. (Stunt Performer and Stunt Wrestling Coordinator)

John Wick: Chapter 4 – Scott Rogers (Stunt Coordinator), Stephen Dunlevy (Stunt Coordinator)

The Killer – Dave Macomber (Fight / Stunt Coordinator)

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One – Wade Eastwood (Stunt Coordinator)


Anatomy of a Fall
Fallen Leaves
Perfect Days
The Teachers’ Lounge
The Zone of Interest


The Killer

Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
John Wick: Chapter 4
The Killer
Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse


The Boy and the Heron
Robot Dreams
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem


American Fiction
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
The Holdovers


Yogi Berra subject of “It Ain’t Over”

American Symphony
Beyond Utopia
It Ain’t Over
Menus Plaisirs – Les Troisgros
Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie


Evil Dead Rise
Knock at the Cabin
Talk to Me

Knock at the Cabin


Barbie — Gloria’s monologue on the impossible standards set for women

John Wick: Chapter 4 – Staircase fight on the 222 steps leading up to the Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Paris

Killers of the Flower Moon – The radio show finale

Maestro – Leonard Bernstein conducts London Symphony in “Mahler’s Symphony No. 2” in Ely Cathedral

Oppenheimer – Trinity Test

Anatomy of a Fall

By Alex McPherson

Stylish, cerebral, and laced with pitch black humor, director David Fincher’s “The Killer” uses its deceptively simple narrative to uncover a thoughtful, albeit nihilistic, character study with a top-notch performance from Michael Fassbender.

Fincher’s film, based on a graphic novel by Alexis “Matz” Nolent, opens with a montage of various killing tools and settles on the titular nameless hitman (Fassbender), who is waiting for the right time to kill a wealthy target in Paris. He’s a cold, calculating, pretentious sociopath, who bides his time doing yoga, grabbing McDonalds, listening to the Smiths, reflecting on his craft, and waxing philosophical about the meaninglessness of existence, all while dressed (intentionally) like a German tourist.

His methodical elimination of targets is nothing personal; they’re little more than a speck in the pot of overcrowded humankind. He’s also devilishly resourceful, possessing seemingly limitless amounts of  I.D.s with the names of ‘70s and ‘80s sitcom characters, and making use of all the modern conveniences and technology of our time (Amazon delivery stands out) to seamlessly weave throughout our world sans detection. If you see him, it’s already too late. 

He’s set up in a WeWork space across the street from the target’s hotel room, since apparently (as his internal monologue explains) Airbnbs tend to have too many cameras. “Stick to the plan,”  “Anticipate, don’t improvise,” “Empathy is weakness” are common phrases The Killer repeats to himself, closely monitoring his heart rate via FitBit to ensure maximum efficiency. He’s a well-oiled killing machine, a true master in the art of assassination. Until, well, he misses his shot, and takes out a sex worker instead.

Tilda Swinton in “The Killer”

 The Killer makes a quick escape (thinking to himself “WWJWBD: What Would John Wilkes Booth Do?”), and the target gets to live another day. Goons are promptly dispatched to The Killer’s beachside house in the Dominican Republic — leaving his girlfriend, Magdala (Sophie Charlotte), within an inch of her life. Driven as much by revenge as by his own ego, our allegedly apathetic protagonist embarks on a globe-trotting mission to find out who’s responsible and murder them, plus any unlucky bystanders who get involved. But no matter what he tells himself, and his effectiveness at navigating our always-online reality, he’s still fallible: a monster thriving on delusion, insisting he’s above humanity while never being able to fully outrun his own. 

Oscillating between suspenseful, shocking, and (dare I say it) laugh-out-loud funny, “The Killer” thrills and provokes from start to finish. This isn’t a particularly new story, but Fincher’s approach mines poignancy from a familiar template, immersing viewers into the mind of a villain and cutting him down to size — a character that’s easy to root against, but impossible to look away from, brought to life with Fincher’s characteristic panache.

Anyone who’s seen a Fincher joint before (“Fight Club,” “The Social Network,” or the regrettable “Mank,” for example) knows his films overflow with style, and “The Killer” is no different. Erik Messerschmidt’s crisp cinematography frames The Killer’s routine with distant, precise remove, sometimes blending him into shadows, to reflect his “professional” demeanor. The largely static camerawork changes to handheld as The Killer’s improvisational instincts kick in and panic rears its head. 

Additionally, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s score pulses like a heartbeat as The Killer weaves through his surroundings like a parasite, evading detection at every turn, buzzing with discordant rhythms at moments of peril, such as during a cartoonishly destructive brawl later on that rivals the brutality of skirmishes in “John Wick: Chapter 4.”

Ren Klyce’s sound design is absolutely impeccable, with diegetic sounds (like the ring of an employee check-in kiosk or the bang of a ferry’s ramp locking into place) turned up to the max: nuisances that momentarily distract our titular assassin from his quest for vengeance. Suffice to say, the film is a sensory treat.

Fassbender’s performance is brilliantly tuned into the character’s cynicism and deliberate procedures. His stoic facial expressions belie a seemingly soulless husk — someone who’s devoted his whole life to his career without any interest or care for humanity, at least as far as he tells himself, but Fassbender subtly conveys his cracking facade as the story progresses.

His narration (from a strong screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker) is sardonic, cruel, pop-culture-savvy, and at times very funny, but also reflective of his internal torment. His mantras are pushed to their limits, especially when interacting with unlucky bystanders in the wrong place at the wrong time. He has the skills to make it out of any deadly encounter, but at what cost? 

Indeed, much of the unpredictability of “The Killer,” despite its familiar setup, comes down to contrast and dissonance. There’s something darkly comedic, and compelling, about being immersed into the mind of such a straight-laced character, observing his pain-staking preparations for the next hit, and seeing reality coming back to bite him, daring and/or forcing him to break from routine. Fincher plays around with this idea, too: moments of levity and endearment traditionally found in these types of stories aren’t present here; opportunities for redemption are tangled tantalizingly close and unceremoniously (often graphically) dashed. 

Fincher barely spends any time with Magdala either — a non-issue because vengeance for her isn’t The Killer’s primary motivation. What really matters is maintaining his carefully cultivated lifestyle and self-image, scarred by his humiliating mistake in Paris that set this whole fight-for-life into motion. He knows the drill as well as anyone, but (through pride and desire to remain on the planet he has such apathy for) refuses to accept it.

This idiosyncratic approach ensures that even if we think we know where “The Killer” is headed, we really don’t, not unlike the protagonist’s own predicament. Memorable appearances from Charles Parnell, Kerry O’Malley, and Tilda Swinton underscore this, unfolding in ways running the gamut of emotions. 

Ultimately, “The Killer” is thrilling, amusing, and even moving to some degree, especially considering Fincher’s own reputation as a perfectionist. The Killer may have the tools to escape any situation, and maintain his own status, but can one really live without embracing life’s uncertainties? 

This is one of 2023’s finest films thus far, much deeper than it initially seems, and deserving of the big screen treatment. Stick to the plan. Anticipate, don’t improvise. And don’t wait for Netflix, if at all possible.

“The Killer” is a 2023 action crime thriller directed by David Fincher and starring Michael Fassbender, Tilda Swinton, Charles Parnell and Kerry O’Malley. It is rated R for strong violence, language and brief sexuality, and runs 1 hour, 58 minutes. It opened in selected theaters on Oct. 27 and will stream on Netflix starring Nov. 10. Alex’s Grade: A+