Following the release of the first trailer for David Fincher’s latest cinematic offering, “The Killer,” Netflix revealed that audiences will also have the chance to see it on the big screen. This marks yet another film that is set to grace theaters before its exclusive digital debut.
Inspired by Alexis Nolent’s French-language graphic novel of the same name, the movie stars Michael Fassbender in the lead role, portraying an assassin entangled in a web of challenges.
In light of this thrilling announcement, it’s an opportune moment to revisit the top 10 standout performances by this remarkably versatile actor.
Steve Jobs (2015)
Long before becoming a household name synonymous with Apple’s revolutionary products, Steve Jobs was a man fraught with complexities, portrayed impeccably by Michael Fassbender in the 2015 biopic directed by Danny Boyle.
Fassbender dives into the layered psyche of Jobs, revealing the demanding and often unlikable genius behind the iconic black turtleneck and round glasses. The actor deftly navigates Aaron Sorkin’s rapid-fire dialogue, presenting a character who is as magnetic as he is polarizing.
Unlike the devices Jobs created, Fassbender’s performance is anything but user-friendly, daring audiences to understand this enigmatic figure.
In “Shame,” Fassbender takes on the harrowing role of Brandon, a New Yorker grappling with sexual addiction. The film, directed by Steve McQueen, is as raw as it is unflinching, delving into a character who’s consumed by his compulsions yet utterly hollow inside.
Fassbender’s portrayal of Brandon is devastatingly authentic, oscillating between moments of vulnerability and instances of self-destructive excess. He captures the very essence of a man in turmoil, providing a deep and unsettling look into the cavernous depths of addiction.
In an entirely different vein, “Frank” gives Fassbender the opportunity to showcase his versatility. Donning a large, cartoonish papier-mâché head for the majority of the film, he plays the eponymous character, the enigmatic frontman of an avant-garde pop band.
Despite the mask, Fassbender’s presence is deeply felt through his voice, physicality, and the mysterious aura he maintains throughout the film.
Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, “Frank” explores themes of artistic integrity and mental health, and Fassbender’s character serves as the bizarre yet endearing heart of the story, proving that sometimes a performance can transcend even the most peculiar disguises.
X-Men: First Class (2011)
Stepping into the shoes of Magneto, a character ingrained in pop culture since the inception of the “X-Men” comics, Fassbender brings a humanizing complexity to the iconic role in “X-Men: First Class.” Directed by Matthew Vaughn, the film serves as a prequel to the X-Men saga and explores the ideological divide between Magneto and Charles Xavier.
Fassbender’s portrayal adds gravitas to the film, showing a man hardened by past traumas and shaped by a philosophy teetering on the edge of ethical ambiguity. His Magneto is compellingly charismatic yet deeply flawed, elevating what could have been a typical superhero movie into an emotional and moral battlefield.
Diving into one of William Shakespeare’s most enduring tragedies, Fassbender’s portrayal of Macbeth in the 2015 adaptation directed by Justin Kurzel is as haunting as it is electrifying. Set against the bleak landscapes of medieval Scotland, Fassbender encapsulates the psychological deterioration of a man corrupted by ambition and paranoia.
His Macbeth is a storm of conflicting emotions: at once vulnerable and domineering, pensive and ferocious. The actor’s mastery of Shakespearean dialogue and his commanding on-screen presence elevate this centuries-old tale into a visceral cinematic experience, proving once again that he can breathe life into even the most time-worn characters.
Slow West (2015)
Before captivating audiences in more high-profile roles, Michael Fassbender gave a sublime performance in “Slow West,” a stylized Western that defies genre conventions.
As Silas, a gruff but charismatic drifter guiding a young Scotsman across the American frontier, Fassbender exemplifies the archetype of the mysterious gunslinger with a hidden agenda.
His measured performance offers a tantalizing blend of stoicism and buried emotion, elevating the film from an indie gem to a poignant narrative on the complexities of human connection.
Long before he became a household name, Michael Fassbender grabbed the audience’s attention in the Zack Snyder-directed action spectacle “300.” Playing Stelios, a Spartan warrior, Fassbender showed he had the physique and stage presence to hold his own in a large ensemble cast.
Although the role was not central, his performance left an impression, providing a preview of the tremendous talent that would later catapult him to stardom. “300” itself is a visual feast, but it’s Fassbender’s commitment and energy that make his scenes particularly memorable, marking it as an early but significant entry in his growing filmography.
Jane Eyre (2011)
In “Jane Eyre,” Michael Fassbender brings new layers to the well-trodden character of Mr. Rochester, the brooding master of Thornfield Hall. This isn’t the actor’s first foray into period pieces, but it certainly stands as one of his most romantic and emotionally nuanced roles.
Opposite Mia Wasikowska’s Jane, Fassbender’s Rochester is not just a by-the-book love interest but a complex, deeply flawed man grappling with his past and moral choices. This performance shows Fassbender’s capability to deliver on roles demanding a blend of passion, mystery, and moral ambiguity.
In Ridley Scott’s ambitious science fiction epic, Fassbender plays David, an android with ulterior motives. Taking on a role requiring restraint and subtlety, his portrayal stands out even when pitted against the film’s grandiose themes and special effects.
Fassbender’s David is both clinical and eerily human-like, offering a riveting performance that explores the complexities of artificial intelligence. Even though the film received mixed reviews, Fassbender’s role was universally praised, proving once again that he can shine in any genre, be it drama, action, or sci-fi.
A Dangerous Method (2011)
Diving into the world of psychology and intellectual fervor, Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of Carl Jung in “A Dangerous Method” stands as a masterful exercise in restraint and complexity.
Against the backdrop of a turbulent relationship with Viggo Mortensen’s Sigmund Freud, Fassbender’s Jung is a study in duality—both revolutionary and conservative, passionate and logical.
The actor navigates these contradictions with an air of sophistication, delivering a performance that is both cerebral and emotionally resonant, making the film a compelling snapshot of one of psychology’s most formative periods.