Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) is a machine operator; just
one of a bored group of men. The difference is Reznik hasn't
slept for nearly a year. Racked by extreme fatigue, his body
is becoming increasingly emaciated. As a consequence of this
his mind plays a series of warped tricks on him, until he
seriously begins to doubt reality. As a result of his negligence
a fellow worker suffers an accident in which he loses an arm.
Reznik is alienated from the workforce, and his guilt soon
turns to paranoia. As a series of Hangman notes appear on
his fridge, he discovers the two people he can still rely
on are not what they seem at all. Reznik believes someone
is trying to exact revenge on him for the accident, but the
real truth will threaten to tip him over the edge into insanity...
This is one of those films you feel compelled to watch; once
you've pressed that play button you're not going to press
stop until it's over. That's testament to the film's good
plotting. There are layers upon layers which reel you in and
immerse you in the so-called subterfuge until you're not quite
sure if The Machinist is a contemporary thriller or
a Chronenberg-like fantasy. I suppose it's a bit of both,
but the closest film comparison in terms of style would be
Donnie Darko. Especially the final revelations, and
the fact that it leaves you thinking and trying to make sense
of certain aspects. I prefer that in a film; I don't particularly
like neatly tied-up packages.
Bale (currently finding fame in Batman Begins) is near
faultless in his performance here. The lengths he went to
to get into character surprised even the writer and director.
Simply put, Bale just stopped eating and wasted away, risking
serious health problems, until he barely existed.
I'm not sure a mere movie warrants those extremes, but you've
got to give the man credit, because he pulls it off with aplomb.
me, the best scene is when he takes the little boy on the
ghost train. The way Bale reacts to the increasingly depraved
scenes of death and violence, trying to protect the boy, are
the film's only humorous moments. But it doesn't stay that
way for long. I think if I'd been taken on that ghost train
at a young age I'd have had a seizure too.
are: Director Interview, Commentary by Director Brad Anderson,
The Making of... featurette, Trailers and 8 Deleted Scenes.
great and original film.
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