It’s been ten years since Michael Fassbender made his big screen debut in Zack Snyder’s 300. Since then he has become one of the most acclaimed actors of his generation. Working with such singular directors as Steve McQueen, Quentin Tarantino, and Andrea Arnold, his career has thus far balanced both arthouse and blockbuster performances. In the ten years he's been on screen, Fassbender has never relied on a certain mode of acting. His face is always at the center of his performance, and it is ever evolving. Fassbender’s expressive face molds and contorts to every character. Although it is apparent that it’s the same face in every role, it's the subtle changes he brings to each that make the difference. In McQueen's Hunger, arguably his breakthrough role, he was widely praised for the physicality of his performance. The film centers on the body of a prisoner on hunger strike—and Fassbender’s willingness to replicate this body through extreme weight loss garnered him lots of attention. However, some of the most powerful scenes in the film are told solely through close-ups. McQueen lets his camera rest on Fassbender’s face for such long periods of time that it's evident how much is being told through facial expressions alone. Fassbender will next be seen in Derek Cianfrance’s The Light Between Oceans. With this video survey of Fassbender's facial expressions in mind, it will be interesting to see how Cianfrance will shoot one of the most distinctive faces in the movies today, and how much that face will carry the film.
By: Daniel Mcilwraith