Amazon Video Spotlight: The Many Roles of Michael Fassbender

It’s your friendly KF on KND Editor April Hamilton here. If your primary, or only, exposure to Michael Fassbender is through the X-Men movies, you’re missing out on this actor’s incredible versatility. X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past are my favorite X-Men movies specifically because of Fassbender’s excellent, weighty performances as the young Erik Lensherr (aka Magneto).

Many of the other films in which Fassbender appears got a lukewarm reception at the box office and left critics and audiences divided. But Fassbender himself never disappoints, and these are all worth the viewing if only to enjoy his performances in them.

Steve Jobs

Fassbender got a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Steve Jobs in this one. The film’s failure to explore Jobs’ early days as an independent software developer and its focus on how his devotion to Apple negatively impacted his family life drew a lot of criticism, but no one had any complaints about Fassbender’s work. From IMDB:

Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution, to paint a portrait of the man at its epicenter. The story unfolds backstage at three iconic product launches, ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac.

His passion and ingenuity have been the driving force behind the digital age. However his drive to revolutionize technology was sacrificial. Ultimately it affected his family life and possibly his health. In this revealing film we explore the trials and triumphs of a modern day genius, the late CEO of Apple inc. Steven Paul Jobs.



Obviously, this is Shakespeare. Seeing that language spoken in context, in a period-accurate setting, helps with comprehension but ultimately your enjoyment of this film will come down to your enjoyment of Shakespeare. Fassbender is excellent as the ambitious but somewhat browbeaten Macbeth, and Marion Cotillard is a revelation as the grasping, cruel, scheming wife who manipulates him into a murderous power grab. This one’s currently (as of 3/24/16) included in the Prime Video catalog.

From IMDB:

Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.


Slow West

Much of the criticism of this movie compared its flaws to its title, and in fairness, it’s hardly action-packed. It’s more meditative, and that’s something we’re not used to seeing in Westerns.

Fassbender plays the nomadic and mysterious outlaw Silas, who can go from fatherly mentor to cold blooded killer in a matter of seconds. From IMDB:

A young Scottish man travels across America in pursuit of the woman he loves, attracting the attention of an outlaw who is willing to serve as a guide.

This one’s also currently included in the Prime Video catalog.


A Dangerous Method

Co-stars a nearly unrecognizable (but terrific) Viggo Mortenson as Sigmund Freud, with Fassbender in the role of Carl Jung. Keira Knightly portrays an emotionally fragile young patient to whom Jung finds himself drawn, putting his professional standards and reputation at risk. From IMDB:

A Russian woman, Sabina, enters a psychiatric hospital in Zurich with a typical case of hysteria. She undertakes a new course of treatment with Dr. Carl Jung, which involves word association and dream interpretation. Patient and doctor become attracted to each other. Sabina comes between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud.



This may be Fassbender’s most demanding and disturbing role to date, and he’s amazing in it. He plays Brandon, a sex addict. Anyone who’s ever pooh-poohed the notion of sex as an addiction should see this movie. Fassbender believably portrays a man at the mercy of his compulsions, recognizing them as destructive, empty and dangerous even as they take over his life, yet unable to fight back. From IMDB:

Brandon is a 30-something man living in New York who is unable to manage his sex life. After his wayward younger sister moves into his apartment, Brandon’s world spirals out of control. Shame examines the nature of need, how we live our lives and the experiences that shape us.



Here, Fassbender plays the android David. David is a machine, yet his Artificial Intelligence seems to have evolved to the point of grasping the nature of deception and reveling in experimenting with it. It’s positively chilling how David seems interested in mastering only the most destructive and shallow personality traits of humans; from his limited perspective, that’s what it means to be human.

From IMDB:

Following clues to the origin of mankind a team journey across the universe and find a structure on a distant planet containing a monolithic statue of a humanoid head and stone cylinders of alien blood but they soon find they are not alone.


Jane Eyre

Fassbender’s Rochester may not be the definitive take on the character, but it’s an interesting one. He plays Rochester as damaged and withdrawn, at times downright cruel, yet with glimmers of vulnerability and desire for human connection. It’s easy to see how a wide-eyed, naive girl like Jane could fall under his spell. From IMDB:

Jane Eyre (Wasikowska) flees Thornfield House, where she works as a governess for wealthy Edward Rochester (Fassbender). The isolated and imposing residence — and Mr. Rochester’s coldness — have sorely tested the young woman’s resilience, forged years earlier when she was orphaned. As Jane reflects upon her past and recovers her natural curiosity, she will return to Mr. Rochester – and the terrible secret that he is hiding…


12 Years A Slave

I haven’t seen this one myself so I can’t offer any personal opinion, but it’s worth noting that Fassbender earned a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination for his work here. From IMDB:

Based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom.

In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender), as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity.

In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) will forever alter his life.


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