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The Machinist

A movie directed by Brad Anderson

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The Machinist - 2004

  • Feb 4, 2006
Pros: Bale all the way

Cons: none that large

The Bottom Line: "Welcome my son,
welcome to the machine.
Where have you been?
It's alright we know where you've been."
Pink Floyd

Definitely spooky, just for the visuals alone, The Machinist carries an eerie story a little over the edge.

Basic story …
Trevor Reznik works as a machinist in a dark and dank building, surrounded by surly looking men. Away from work he keeps company with Stevie, a call girl, and Marie, a waitress. His dealings with Marie center around a coffee shop at the airport; with Stevie around the bedroom.

When we first view Reznik we think, well … he’s a bit thin but attractive. As the story progresses his thinness becomes ever so pronounced, to the point of emaciation. In fact, it is fairly painful to even look at him, let alone watch him carry out daily duties. One of these duties, which we observe, is rolling a body up in a piece of carpet and dumping it into a river. There’s that.

Beyond this quirky side gig of his, it seems he may also be a bit obsessive compulsive as he repeatedly scrubs his hands with bleach, lye, or any other cleaning product available. As well, he seems to be somewhat absent minded as the repetitive notes around his apartment will attest. Sometimes, just sometimes, he finds a note that he isn’t familiar with and has no idea how it got into his apartment. Maybe he is even paranoid? Then there is the insomnia, Trevor hasn’t slept in a year. Poor Trevor, seems like life is treating him unfairly.

At the machine shop …
Head mucky-mucks are concerned about his appearance and his sudden absent mindedness at work. In fact, while helping a fellow worker repair a machine, he is so distracted the fellow looses his arm. Dang Trevor, what’s up?

The balance of the guys there naturally tend to shy away from him. Appearance aside, which is getting creepier every day, they are afraid he will cause them to get harmed as well. That is, except for his buddy Ivan. Good old Ivan is more than happy to share time with Trevor, even tip back a few with him after work. In fact, Ivan seems to be everywhere that Trevor goes.

But, at the diner …
It’s a different story altogether. Sweet Marie brings out the softer side of Trevor, the fun loving guy that is just looking for a friend. A spark of romance blossoms between them, even a date with her and her son at the local amusement park. Lucky Trevor, almost like a normal person.

However, under the sheets …
He revels his true feelings to Stevie. Could be he and Stevie could actually start a life together; house, picket fence, 2.3 kids and a dog. He’s willing, she’s willing. Heck, she’ll even quit hooking for him. Now, ain’t that special?

What could possibly be wrong with this? …
Well, is Stevie real or imaginary? Is Ivan real or imaginary? How about sweet Marie and little Nicholas? And who was in that carpet that Trevor dumped into the water? What is that nasty stuff dripping from his freezer, it looks so red. And who is playing a game of Hangman with Trevor on his refrigerator door?

It’s a dang mystery, that’s what it is.

Christian Bale played the part of Trevor Reznik. Let me say this right up front - dude, you give a lot to your roles! Man, he dropped over 60 pounds during this movie to keep up with the image of a body deteriorating right before your eyes. He wanted to drop another 20 pounds but they were afraid for his health. There were times it was actually sickening to see him stand sideways. As far as his acting, damn, I couldn’t get past his physical appearance long enough to concentrate on his acting.

Jennifer Jason Leigh played Stevie, in yet another role as a call girl. She should have that role down pat by now. However, she brings a kind of innocence and demur appearance even with her garish makeup. You do get a few shots of her bare breasts. She was perfect to play off Bale with her healthy and golden body next to his stick figure.

The Machinist was written by Scott Kosar and directed by Brad Anderson. Unable to find someone with enough brass balls to produce this film, Anderson looked to Castelao Producciones S.A. to get the project off the ground. Naturally this meant all work was done in Barcelona, Cataluña, Spain which posed a problem when it came to making the scenery look like L.A. You just don’t think about things like road signs, stop lights, license plates, etc. But they did it and they did it good.

Christian Bale won Best Actor from Catalonian International Film Festival, Sitges, Spain and the film won Grand Prize of European Fantasy Short Film in Silver and Narcisse Award Best International Film at the Neuchâtel International Fantasy Film Festival.

The DVD has audio commentary by Brad Anderson, deleted scenes, and a featurette “Breaking The Rules”. It carries an R rating for violence, sexuality, nudity, language, and very disturbing images. Run time is 102 minutes.

It’s definitely a movie I’d watch again, it is that bizarre.



Viewing Format: DVD
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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More The Machinist reviews
Quick Tip by . October 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
There was much hype about this flick. Christian Bale purposely lost a third of his body mass to play this role. If you are a healthy weight, losing a third of your mass is dramatic and risky, so the ends need to justify the means. This movie would still be mediocre at best without regard to Mr. Bale's ill advised extreme diet.
review by . June 02, 2008
"The Machinist" is a movie that is so enthralled and impressed with itself that it refuses to let go of its convoluted story. Trevor, a man who has not slept in 1 year, is both physically and mentally suffering from the aforementioned sleep depravation. His work, personal life, body and mind suffer from his insomnia, if we can call it that. Strange things begin to happen, he sees people unseen by anyone else and the viewer, along with Trevor, is taken along in this psychological thriller with more …
review by . November 26, 2006
Pros: Christian Bale's performance; story-line; supporting actors      Cons: None     The Bottom Line: Bale’s performance alone makes The Machinist worth of a look, but don’t watch the movie alone; it is best shared—dare I say savored—with a friend.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot. I am loath to admit that before Batman Begins (2005) I had never heard of Christian Bale, though I had probably …
review by . August 28, 2005
posted in Screen Gems
What would happen if you hadn't slept for a year?    That's the basic premise of "The Machinist," a film about a man who can't sleep, hasn't slept in a very long time, and is finding that it's having some pretty deletirious effects on him, both physically and psychologically. The reasons why he can't sleep, and why the people around him are acting so strangely, are brought into gradual focus as the story progresses.    Christian Bale plays Trevor Reznik, who …
review by . June 08, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
THE MACHINIST is a mesmerizing film, a journey through the interstices of a mind deprived of sleep, of nourishment, and a mind that struggles to untangle the chaos of a past of guilt and terror. And the journey is terrifying.     When the film opens we meet Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) or at least the emaciated, tortured remains of a man who hasn't slept for a year. We don't know why this worker in a machine factory is in such condition: the story unwinds slowly so that by …
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As a bleak and chilling mood piece,The Machinistgets under your skin and stays there. Christian Bale threw himself into the title role with such devotion that he shed an alarming 63 pounds to play Trevor Reznik (talk about "starving artist"!), a factory worker who hasn't slept in a year. He's haunted by some mysterious occurrence that turned him into a paranoid husk, sleepwalking a fine line between harsh reality and nightmare fantasy--a state of mind that leaves him looking disturbingly gaunt and skeletal in appearance. (It's no exaggeration to say that Bale resembles a Holocaust survivor from vintage Nazi-camp liberation newsreels.) In a cinematic territory far removed from his 1998 romantic comedyNext Stop Wonderland, director Brad Anderson orchestrates a grimy, nocturnal world of washed-out blues and grays, as Trevor struggles to assemble the clues of his psychological conundrum. With a friendly hooker (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and airport waitress (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón) as his only stable links to sanity, Trevor reaches critical mass and seems ready to implode just asThe Machinistreveals its secrets. For those who don't mind a trip to hell with a theremin-laced soundtrack,The Machinistseems primed for long-term status as a cult thriller on the edge.--Jeff Shannon
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Director: Brad Anderson
Genre: Drama
Release Date: October 22, 2004
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: June 7, 2005
Runtime: 1hr 38min
Studio: Paramount
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