This is one of Fassbender’s earliest leading roles. He portrays imprisoned IRA member Bobby Sands, and the film recounts Sands’ hunger strike, done to protest the revocation of Irish Republicans’ status as a political prisoners. Michael lost a remarkable amount of weight for the part - and this particular moment, in which he explains the extent of his motivation to a priest, is absolutely haunting. Notice how it’s all shot in one take.
2. 12 Years as a Slave (2013)
Hunger was directed by the extraordinary Steve McQueen, and Fassbender teamed up with him again for 12 Years as a Slave. Here, he plays a creepy/monstrous plantation owner. His obsession with Patsy, one of his is slaves, is nothing short of terrifying. In this scene we discover a glimpse of his nauseating character. And we just can’t turn our eyes away.
3. X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014)
It’s probably fair to say that the X-Men reboot/sequel was Fassbender’s big blockbuster break. And it’s not hard to see why. There are so many things to love here. First, he manages to make Magneto sort of likable. Thanks to his performance, we totally get why the character turned evil, though we obviously don’t agree with it (this scene is a superb example of his slide to the dark side of the … mutant force). Also, in a great acting feat, Fassbender syncs his performance with Ian McKellen’s brilliantly (McKellen as you’ll know, plays the older Magneto). Though the two men look quite different, it’s no effort to believe that they are the same person.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past is available now on Virgin Movies
4. Steve Jobs (2015)
The late Apple CEO already has two biopics to his name. This one, directed by Danny Boyle and starring Fassbender in the titular role definitely stands out. Fassbender totally transforms - yet again - to inhabit the entrepreneur’s persona. We particularly love this moment, in which he tells John Sculley (played by Jeff Daniels) about the importance of control.
5. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Fassbender only has a small role in Quentin Tarantino’s WWII fancy, but he features in one of the best bits of the film. He plays a British spy who attempts to go behind enemy lines passing off as a German officer. This doesn’t fool a suspicious Nazi soldier, who tries to place his strange accent. It’s a beautifully tense scene, and we love hearing Fassbender switch from his nervously accented German to his posh English.
6. Jane Eyre (2011)
Michael makes a swoon-worthy turn as Mr Rochester, Jane Eyre’s tortured and mysterious employer-then-husband. Just listen to that gorgeous accent (by the way, is there any accent that Fassbender cannot do?). This proposal scene is simply eerily perfect.
7. Shame (2011)
At first glance, it looks like just another commuting scene in the subway … but can you feel that tension?! The attraction between Fassbender’s character and the young woman screams out from the screen. Now THAT’S what we call a sultry stare. This makes Fassbender’s disappointed expression all the more heart-wrenching when he loses the woman in the crowd minutes later.
8. Prometheus (2012)
The Alien prequel divides opinion,, but we can all agree that by far the best thing about it was Fassbender’s performance as the android David. It’s mad how well he makes his expressions and voice take a slight robotic edge. This scene, which parallels humans’ desire to discover the reason for their existence to his own is enthralling.
9. Macbeth (2015)
When it was announced that Marion Cotillard and Fassbender were lined up to star in Macbeth, we knew the result would be quite something. And so it was. This grimy, gothic, complex Shakespeare play is ideal material for Fassbender’s talents. He falls into the role beautifully. This moment, in which Macbeth discovers the death of his wife, is perhaps one of its most moving.
10. Frank (2014)
It must be no easy task to spend most of a performance in a giant, papier-mâché head. In Frank, Fassbender plays an enigmatic singer who refuses to show his real face (until he is forced to, at the very end). Let’s just say that he more than carries the film, all while deprived of acting with facial expressions. And that’s really quite something. But this scene, in which Frank presents himself to this band as he is, is weird and pathetic in all the right ways and we just love it.
11. 300 (2006)
Few will remember that Fassbender also appeared in 300 as Stelios, one of Sparta’s best soldiers (we certainly didn’t!). It was, after all, well before he was widely known. But we absolutely love him in these two scenes as he embraces his upcoming death and defiantly confronts the Persians’ emissary. Later in the film, he’s also the one to cast a wounding blow to Persian God-King Xerxes, proving that he is mortal. How cool is that?
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