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David Fincher made an absurd rule before making Zodiac

Before making Zodiac, David Fincher made a vow that could've changed his career forever. So it's a good thing he completely went back on it.


Every artist has a kind of inspiration or muse that anchors all of their work. For Greta Gerwig, it’s girlhood. For Clint Eastwood, it’s Westerns, and for David Fincher, it’s, uh, serial killers.

Based on the filmography of David Fincher, which includes some of the best drama movies ever made, it’s fair to say the lauded director has something of a preoccupation with killers. His first big hit (pun intended) was 1995’s Seven, which followed serial killer John Doe. Then came other dark thriller movies with a murderous twist, but in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Fincher admitted he made a promise to himself shortly before making Zodiac that he’d never make a serial killer movie again.

“I never say never,” he quipped. “It doesn’t pay to have rules with that stuff. I’m the guy who, before Zodiac, said, ‘No more serial killers.'” After making Zodiac, Fincher didn’t stop there. He put murderers at the center of his 2011 movie The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, while Mindhunters, his neo-noir Netflix series, also centered around killings.

In his new movie, simply entitled The Killer, it feels like Fincher has simply accepted his well-established identity as that ‘serial killer guy’. The new movie follows a nameless hitman (Michael Fassbender) who has some loose ends to tie up after a job goes drastically wrong.

Fassbender’s character is a stoic man of few words, but throughout the course of the film, we learn of the hitman’s surprising emotional depth. With an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Fincher demonstrates one thing: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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That being said, Fincher is far from a one-trick pony. His Oscar-winning movie The Social Network might have had some dark themes, but it was less bloodshed and more legal drama.

A film focussing on the murky world of social media ownership is a stark departure from Fincher’s usual work, but if you make your best movies about murderers, why stop? There’s little to no point in changing what works, and The Killer is a great example of Fincher going back to his roots.

Given The Killer is now streaming on Netflix, you can head to the streaming service and watch the Netflix movie yourself if you don’t believe me. Them, make the most of your subscription with our guide to everything new on Netflix and Netflix secret codes. Or, For more cheap thrills, check out our guide to the thriller series Reacher season 2.