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IF YOU'RE WATCHING a movie, and you see David Fincher's name listed as the director... there's a pretty strong chance that you're going to have a good time. The director is an expert on crafting thrillers that will keep you on the edge of your seat. He's created some of the most well-known films of the genre to date, including Se7en and Fight Club, and has even dabbled in television, creating the short-lived cult favorite Mindhunter.
Starring Michael Fassbender, The Killer follows, well, an unnamed assassin. Despite his rigid, self-imposed rules and focused mindset, we catch up with him on a day—a rare day—when he botches a job. While a regular person with a regular job could dust themselves off and move along, our protagonist lives anything but a normal life; there are consequences for his actions.
Those consequences manifest in a break-in at his remote home in the Dominican Republic, where his girlfriend Magdala resides. He returns to find Magdala hospitalized, and decides to get revenge.
What follows is an international manhunt, where we get to see Fassbender's character methodically (and sometimes whimsically) track down anyone he can find who played a part in his girlfriend's injury. He burns bridges and is forced to question his own rules, and whether or not they're worth following. While it's not Fincher's best (not much can rival The Social Network or Gone Girl), The Killer is still very strong work from a master filmmaker.
If you're looking an explanation on how it ended, and what it all meant, we have it for you below.
What happened at the end of The Killer?
Over the course of the film, we see our unnamed protagonist (who from now on we'll call The Killer) travel to Louisiana, Florida, and New York, taking out everyone involved in the job he botched, and the assassin hired to punish him for his mistake. His final destination turns out to be Chicago, where he finally nails down the man who paid for the original assassination of the businessman we see in the beginning of the film.
His name is Claybourne, and he's a billionaire venture capitalist. In observing his habits, The Killer spies an opportunity to gain access to his home and sneaks into the gym (called "Balquinox," a clear riff on the upscale fitness brand Equinox) where Claybourne meets with his personal trainer.
While Claybourne goes off to his workout session, The Killer finds his way into the locker room and, using a card copier off of Amazon, creates his own passkey into Claybourne's apartment. Later that day, when Claybourne returns to his apartment, The Killer arrives for a confrontation.
With Claybourne at gunpoint, The Killer asks if the venture capitalist had a personal vendetta against him. But Claybourne explains the killer has it all wrong. It wasn't personal, it was an unfortunate business decision. Claybourne says it's his first time ever paying for a hitman, and when he got word the job went wrong, Hodges (the killer's point of contact for all his assignments) suggested Claybourne "arrange for insurance to prevent any blowback." While Claybourne admits he didn't realize what that meant, Hodges clearly decided The Killer needed to be taught a lesson. For an additional $150,000, Claybourne paid to erase any connection he had to the hit gone wrong and (potentially) to have The Killer murdered for his mistake. It turned out to be both lucky for The Killer that he wasn't home when the assassins came, and unlucky that Magdala was there instead.
The Killer digests all this new information and makes a huge decision: he won't kill Claybourne, but if he decides to put another hit on The Killer again, he'll die a gruesome death. And it makes sense: Claybourne is a high-profile figure, whose death would no doubt be worthy of investigation (and, probably, lots of media attention). For a hitman who wants to lie low, it's not worth putting his life at risk.
Claybourne lives, and The Killer walks out. The next we see him is back in the Dominican Republic. He's retired (we're assuming) and lounges out in the sun with a healed Magdala.
It's likely we won't see more of this character, to be honest. Fincher isn't known for making sequels (though he's recently teased a second Social Network), and after killing just about everyone who would give him a job (and threatening the one person still left alive) it'd be surprising if The Killer decided to make a return to his life of assassinations. From his successful career, he likely has more than enough money to live the rest of his life under the radar and away from any U.S. law enforcement trying to track him down.
If you are interested in more adventures of The Killer, though, we have some good news: the film is based on a series of French graphic novels. And they are readily available for purchase.
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