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Tag Archives: Michael Fassbender

Twelve Years a Slave

In 1841, Solomon Northup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) has a very happy life in Saratoga, New York. He loves music and playing his violin. But more than this he adores his beautiful wife Anne (by Kelsey Scott) and his children Michelle (by Quvenzhané Wallis) and Alonzo (by Cameron Zeigler). They live a very comfortable and successful life, with well-balanced settled children and a blissful marriage. One day, Solomon is befriended by two tricksters and ends up being transported into slavery in the American south. He endures the humiliation of being sold by a heartless and greedy Slaver, Mr Freeman (by Paul Giamatti), then relentless horror as the “purchased property” of several brutal landowners and their staff, including Ford (by Benedict Cummerbatch), Tibeat (by Paul Danos) and Epps (by Michael Fassbender). For twelve years he and his fellow slaves suffer at the utterly cruel and hateful hands of their “masters”, which bears heavily on them all, until a Canadian abolitionist, Bass (by Brad Pitt) provides Solomon with a chance of freedom.

This jaw-dropping movie is based on the biography “Twelve Years a Slave” by Solomon Northrup. The unwavering hateful attitudes of the “owners” towards their “property” is eye boggling, as is the total brutality meted out to them daily as a result of their he’s my property, I can do what I like to him” point of view. As Solomon Northup, Chiwetel Ejiofor puts in a remarkable performance and his worldwide nominations as Best Actor are totally deserved. Another stunning performance is from Michael Fassbender, as Landowner Epps. He must have been totally exhausted throughout the making of the movie as every one of his scenes is aggressive, physical, emotionally fraught and must have been utterly draining. As Freeman, Paul Giamatti’s role is small but very important and he is marvellous. Same goes for Paul Danos and Brad Pitt – very good. Another wonderful performance is by Lupita Nyong’o as slave Patsey. She is strong, fearless and incredible – she well deserves her Screen Actors Guild Award and her nomination for an Academy Award (Oscar). The movie has already been recognised with 2014 Best Movie Golden Globe, BAFTA and AFI Awards and it has been nominated for several Academy Awards (Oscars) for Best Picture, Actor in Leading Role (Ejiofor), Actor in Supporting Role (Fassbender), Actress in Supporting Role (Nyong’o), Costumes, Directing, Film Editing, Production Design and Writing (Adapted Screenplay). It’s probably a little too drawn-out in the telling so it seems long, but its honesty is to be seen to be believed. Well done.

Made in 2013. Directed by Steve McQueen

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Posted by on February 22, 2014 in Movies

 

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Jane Eyre

Jane (performed by Amelia Clarkson and then Mia Wasikowska) has had a lonely and bleak childhood. She was abandoned by her parents and a heartless aunt I(by Sally Hawkins) gave her lodgings before sending her to a charity home for girls. From here, Jane is engaged as a governess at Thornfield, the home of Mr Rochester (by Michael Fassbender), to care for his daughter. The housekeeper, Mrs Fairfax (by Judi Dench) is the first person to ever treat Jane kindly and she warms to her. She has a happy life at Thornfield, excelling as a governess and enjoying the landscape and lifestyle in the country. Gradually a tentative, then deep relationship develops between Jane and Mr Rochester. But the path of true love is difficult for this pair and several barriers arise that threaten to destroy any chance of happiness they may have.

Although this story is one of searing passion, wide Yorksire landscapes and beautiful costumes – all the hallmarks of a wonderful, true “girls own” romance – this particular version did not “get” me. Unlike others (such as Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey or Sense and Sensibility), I did not feel any empathy towards these characters. Mia Wasikowska is beautiful and a very authentic Jane – and Michael Fassbender is perfect as the mysterious and flawed Mr Rochester, but unfortunately I could not “feel the passion” in this story. There is little on-screen chemistry between them.  Judi Dench is wonderful as the lovely housekeeper, Mrs Fairfax.  I would say it is okay as a period movie, but there are certainly better.

This movie is adaptation of the story by Charlotte Bronte, which was her first novel published in 1847.

Made in 2011.  Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2012 in Movies

 

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A Dangerous Method

In 1904, Dr Carl Jung (played by Michael Fassbender) and Dr Sigmund Freud (by Viggo Mortensen) are both practising psychiatrists who are individually exploring new theories of psychoanalysis, particularly relating to trauma based in sexuality and behavioural aspects of anxiety. Sabina Spielrein (by Keira Knightley) a Russian woman with extreme anxiety, hysteria and trauma, has been delivered by her father to Dr Jung to see whether he can diagnose and treat her illness. Carl Jung is fascinated by the extreme nature of Sabina’s illness and he consults Dr Freud for his opinion. The two discover that their research is complementary, so they begin to compare notes and share ideas. Sabina undertakes a new course of treatment with Carl and during the sessions they become attracted to each other. The drama explores the relationship between Carl and Sabina; the impact of their attraction on Sabina’s illness, treatment and recovery; and the relationship each of them has with Dr Freud.

This is an interesting drama – and the gem in it is Keira Knightly. Her performance, particularly in the episodes of hysteria and anxiety is excellent. She is marvellous and totally uninhibited throughout. Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen are impressive as they would have had to stick closely to history in the portrayal of their respective characters.  Jung is fascinating in his total focus on his work, often to the detriment of everything else happening around him. I like Viggio Mortensen here, he is very articulate and not as I have seen him before.  Quite marvellous.

The movie is based on Christopher Hampton’s play ‘The Talking Cure’. Sabina Spielrein was an actual patient of Dr Jung’s, who did eventually graduate as a psychoanalyst.

Made in 2012.  Directed by David Cronenberg

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Movies

 

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Shame

Brandon (played by Michael Fassbender) is a New York City executive living with an addiction – to sex. He feeds his addiction daily using other people, the internet and printed material as his sources of gratification. His sister Sissy (by Carey Mullligan), a broken and lost person herself, arrives in his world unannounced and completely turns it upside down. Although his relationship with Sissy is strained, Brandon reluctantly allows her to stay at his apartment, but he finds this very difficult. His life is fraught as he tries to deal with his addiction, keep up appearances to the outside world and satisfy his interminable need (along with keeping his job). We watch as he tries vainly to deal with all the issues in his life and his relationship with his sister.

This is not an erotic or sensual movie, nor is it a whimsical sex romp – it’s a “no holds barred” view of a person trying to live with an addiction. In parts it’s deeply moving and it’s always realistic in its depiction of his life. The sex is primal, an animal act and clearly just a means to an end, there is no emotion and (it seems) very little pleasure in Brandon’s sexual activities – people are not people, they are just bodies and sexual gratification is short-lived, only giving way to the need to fulfill it once again. Dialogue is sparse, but the messages are blunt and clear – you wouldn’t want to have this life. Michael Fassbender’s performance is stunning and Carey Mulligan’s performance as the irritating and needy Sissy is very good indeed.

It’s not what I was expecting and it’s not a good-time movie, but it’s very good indeed.

Made in 2011. Directed by Steve McQueen

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2012 in Movies

 

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