The Killer and how Vulnerability is a Weakness and Strength at the same time

Vulnerabilities expose our weaknesses. But also gives us strengths that are not possible to achieve through routines and structure.

Anmol Mohan


In the movie 'The Killer,' the main lead has a sophisticated philosophy about life.

It is shown that the main lead is a trained assassin. He has been in this profession for years. He uses the most advanced weaponry to get his job done. He is expensive, and only a few people can afford him. That means he is highly valued in his career. His targets are mighty people with a lot of global influence.

The movie begins with insights into his thinking while on the job. He walks the audience through his beliefs and process. He keeps repeating those things to affirm that failure is not an option. 

The Mistake

Stick to the plan, Anticipate, Don't improvise, Don't trust anyone, Don't yield an advantage, Don't fight a battle that you are not paid to fight, Keep validating 'what is in it for me?', Forbid Empathy, Empathy is weakness and weakness is vulnerability.

These repetitive thoughts remind him not to waver from the way that has made him what he is. It also serves as a tool for the audience to believe that they are witnessing a cold, calculated, and brilliant assassin on the top of his field.

However, at the end of the scene, he makes a significant mistake. He misses his target and kills a person other than his actual target. This comes as a shock to him and to the audience that has already come to believe in the almost God-like stature of the man.


He heads back to his holdout. He is not used to being in this position. Failure is new to him. He doesn't know what to do as he is heading. He is doubting everything and trying to stay away from anything that looks suspicious. He is worried, and this feeling is unfamiliar to him.

As he reaches home, he finds out something terrible has happened. It turns out some other assassins have tortured his girlfriend and left him in a bad condition. That marks the beginning of a second unfamiliar feeling. He started giving a fuck despite claiming that he never did several times earlier. For the first time, his profession mingled with something he cared about. He felt Empathy, and it changed him permanently.

Thus, he embarks on a journey to take revenge. He wants to find the people who are responsible for hurting his girlfriend and make them pay. He is not worried anymore. He has a purpose. For the first time, he is out to fight a battle he is not paid to. 

Perspective Shift

This is personal. This is a massive shift in his perspective, and he is willing to break the rules that gave him his identity in the first place. Thus proving the change.

In the process of receiving information about the torturers, he kills his handler and his assistant. But that was the easy part. He is used to killing people who are not a threat to him.

However, the job after that was different from his previous jobs. He is not used to killing other assassins. At least, that is what we can infer from the background shared with the audience.

This time, not only does he have to encounter trained killers, but he also has to do it for Empathy. This is not just an unfamiliar situation but also much more challenging than his usual stints.

His process served him well to kill helpless people. He even developed ingenious methods to kill people slowly and up close. As mechanical as he proved himself to be, the more he started treating his victims as objects that could be played and tormented with, the more he started treating them as objects that could be played and tormented with.

But the upcoming battles were different. There was no chance of treating his targets as objects. They were full-fledged killers like him, and he had to break his own rules to fight them out. This time, he was not getting paid for these battles. This time, he was fighting for a cause.

Execution is Everything

He had to break his rule in the fight with the Floridian Brute. In the movie, he kept repeating, 'Anticipate, don't Improvise.' But that was the rule that he had to break. He had a plan and tried to stick to it. But eventually, he needed help to anticipate the power and tactics of the Brute. Throughout the fight, he improvised. 

This was the first instance where another unfamiliar feeling stuck him like a jolt as soon as the fighting started. He cannot stick to the plan. He had to use his intuition to find the resources from his surroundings and then use them to counter the superior threat of Brute's power. Only when he showed flexibility to keep his rules aside did he finally get the upper hand and eventually be able to beat the guy.

A similar situation happened during the execution of the Q-tip. He could have killed her in the car as he would have usually done with his other targets. But this time, he encountered the person and looked her in her eyes. I am still not sure what made him do that. It could have been the feeling that revenge is not served if the victim does not understand the reasons for their execution.

But he did break his rules again. He yielded a position of advantage to put himself in a vulnerable situation. Q-tip also points out that if she shouts, he may be able to kill her, but he will not get away clean. Also, he trusted her. He chose to share a drink with her. It was another unfamiliar situation for him, but he faced it like a braveheart.

Eventually, when we were so sure that he would kill The Client after making all those efforts to break his house, he flipped. That scene showed that his newly found Empathy was real and not just a one-off exception for a loved one. But more importantly, he found playfulness about life's events that was drastically opposite of the seriousness he showed at the film's beginning. He realized that he needn't take life so seriously, a revelation that he could not have had within the premise of his methodically built career.

Conclusion: Self-Discovery 

The Killer is a journey of transformation. It shows that even the best of us have something to learn. It shows that even the people encountering the worst situations are still bound by the same rules of personal enlightenment that sweep people's minds in other situations.

A mistake forces the most machine-like person to question his beliefs. It leads him to discover Empathy. That forces him to look inside and find a courage that he could not have found in his precisely drilled routine. He discovered that vulnerability, while a weakness, also gives him specific strength. A strength that is needed to succeed in life's darkest and most challenging situations.

He discovers that no matter how unique he has made himself, he is still one part of the whole in that aspect.

Movie Analysis

Anmol Mohan

I am just trying to make sense of this world. I am interested in the hardest puzzles like Consciousness, Humanity and Multiverse. Sharing my honest learning during this journey.