Ever since Inglourious Basterds hit theaters last August, lusty young women people have been telling me how much they would love to see Michael Fassbender father their children in other roles. And ever since Inglourious Basterds hit theaters last August, I have been yelling at those same people to see Steve McQueen's Hunger, which is not only my favorite debut film of this young millennium, but also home to the most remarkable performance of Fassbender's already impressive career. Considering yourself a Fassbender fan without having seen Hunger is like considering yourself a Michael Jordan fan having only seen him play baseball - valid, but kinda incomplete (Fassbender, by the way, has no relation to Rainer Werner Fassbinder - their names are spelled and pronounced differently).

Hunger hypnotically processes the story of Bobby Sands (Fassbender) and the 1981 hunger strike he famously lead in Ireland's Maze Prison, and so it's understandable why it didn't become the must-see blockbuster event of 2008 (the fact that its poster features a large swirl of human feces probably didn't help - a bold publicity choice The Dark Knight opted against only at the last minute). But when I recently had the chance to speak with one of the writers of an upcoming film in which Fassbender is starring, and the guy - despite having created a role for Fassbender and knowing him personally - hadn't even heard of Hunger, I was a bit taken aback. See, the 33 year-old German-born Irishman is destined to be a major Hollywood player before long (he's playing someone named "Magneto" in next summer's X-Men: First Class), but even before he starred in unavoidable event films he routinely proved that he's not just an actor to watch, but also one to actively follow. Fassbender is going to be good in everything he does from here on out, but he's already been great several times over, and he's helped to make a few great films in the process. And with Centurion opening theatrically tomorrow, it's time to be reminded that you should be paying attention.
categories Cinematical