German-Irish actor Michael Fassbender has been making huge waves in the film industry. Growing up in Killarney, County Kerry, Fassbender started his acting career in the theater, touring with the Oxford Stage Company and starring in several plays.
He made is move to television with his role as Burton “Pat” Christenson in Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg’s television miniseries Band of Brothers in 2001. He then went on to star in other television series including Hex, Murphy’s Law, and The Devil’s Whore.
Fassbender made his film debut as Stelios in 2007’s 300. He starred in other feature films, but he shot to fame with his role at Lt. Archie Hicox in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. He then went on to play a super villain, a sex addict, an android, and a cruel slave owner.
In honor of Fassbender’s recent Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in 12 Years A Slave, here are the top 10 Michael Fassbender films. The Golden Globe Awards will air on NBC, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m.
In Centurion, Fassbender played a Roman soldier named Quintus Dias. The film is based on the legend of the massacre of the Ninth Legion in Caledonia in the early second century AD. A small group of Roman soldiers fight to survive behind enemy lines after their legion is killed by a gorilla attack. They endure harsh weather conditions while trying to rescue General and return to safety.
Fassbender provided a strong role, but the film as a whole lacked excitement for some critics. Overall, the low-budget film is creative and focuses more in-depth on the story line rather than the expensive theatrics.
Haywire is an action-thriller with an all star cast that includes Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas, and Michael Douglas. The film follows a covert operative who is sent to complete unauthorized tasks around the world. She is soon betrayed by those who she trusted and must use her black ops skills to get revenge and protect her family.
Fassbender has a minor but crucial role in this film. Though he does not provide much dialog, he does give an excellent fight scene that becomes one of the highlights of the film.
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8. Inglorious Basterds
Inglorious Basterds is one of Quentin Tarantino’s best films. It tells the fictional story of two separate plots to assassinate Nazi leaders. One plot planned by a French Jewish cinema owner who is looking for revenge on those who killed her family, and the other plot is planned by a group of Jewish American soldiers who’s main focus if to kill Nazis.
The films success brought Fassbender to the public eye. His role as Archie Hicox was memorable and convincing, though short. The fact that his short screen time had people begging for more shows the true talents that Fassbender possesses.
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7. Fish Tank
Fish Tank tells the story of a 15-year-old Mia, who is used to shutting the world out. Her life changes when her mom finds a new boyfriend and Mia starts to fall in love. Her life goes on a wild roller coaster ride, and in the end she must try to find herself and open herself up to the world.
This film earned Fassbender great recognition in the British film industry. We are drawn to his character from the moment he is introduced, then we wish we never met him. Fish Tank is a strong independent film with strong acting and great attention to detail.
Hunger is Steve McQueen’s first feature film. It tells the story of Bobby Sands, an Irish Republican activist who led the 1981 prison hunger strike and participated in the no wash protest in which Republican prisoners tried to win political status. The film chronicles the lives of the prisoners, and the transformation Sands made, starving himself to death.
Fassbender went on a crash diet that consisted of him eating only 600 calories a day, and he lost about 30 pounds for the role. It did earn him great critical acclaim and a few awards including the British Independent Film Award for Best Actor, a Silver Hugo for Best Actor, and an Irish Film & Television Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role in a Film to name a few. This film also built the relationship between Fassbender and McQueen, being the first of three films they did together.
Prometheus follows a team of explorers who are trying to find the origin to mankind on Earth. They travel to a planet millions of miles away from Earth after receiving a clue that life existed before them. Things turn for the worse when it is revealed that others had ulterior motives for visiting that planet. A quest for discovery turns into a struggle for survival.
Although Fassbender plays an android, he brought enough human characteristics into his role that almost make you forget what he is. He earned London Film Critics and Saturn Award nominations for best supporting actor. The film is visually pleasing and very well acted.
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4. A Dangerous Method
A Dangerous Method tells the story of Carl Jung and his friendship with Sigmund Freud, the founder of the discipline of psychoanalysis. Tension rises when Jung, who is married, starts having an affair with one of his patients, Sabina Spielrein. Spielrein, who suffered abuse from her father as a child, is working to become a doctor, and eventually comes between the father-and-son relationship that Jung and Freud have.
Fassbender is excellent in this film. He shows the audience the characters true struggle between his work and his personal life. A very well scripted film and well acted.
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3. X-Men: First Class
X-Men: First Class follows Charles and Erik before they became Professor X and Magneto. The government enlists a group of mutants to help take down a dictator who is looking to start world war III. While trying to take him down, a gap grows between Charles and Erik, forcing mutants to chose between being a part of the X-Men or the Brotherhood of Mutants.
Fassbender brought a new light to the character Erik. He brought a more emotional layer to the character, allowing some audiences to side with him and his plan to have human-kind fear mutants.
In Shame, we follow the life of Brandon Sullivan as he struggles to control his sex addiction that interferes with his work and personal life. Things spiral even more out of control when his sister comes to town and stays with him, but her presence helps him to better understand the things going on in his life.
Fassbender put a lot of work into this role, even researching and learning what it entails to be a sex addict. As always, Fassbender is great at building a emotional connection with the audience. His second time working with McQueen, this film is powerful and sometimes hard to watch, but very entertaining. An excellent job by Fassbender.
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1. 12 Years A Slave
12 Years A Slave follows the story of a free man, Solomon Northup, who is kidnapped and brought back into slavery. The film chronicles his life as he spends 12 yeas as a slave, and struggles to survive and escape once again.
Fassbender plays a cruel slave master who is dictatorial and abusive. He plays the villain well as seen his some of his previous work. His role was highly praised by critics, and will all the award nominations, as well as those pending, this is set to be one of Fassbender’s best work. It is his third time working with McQueen, and will definitely not be his last.