Director: Brad Anderson
Starring: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, John Sharian
Genre: Thriller, Drama, Psychological
Age Rating: 15
Running Time: 101 minutes
Christian Bale took method acting to another level in this 2004 feature film which sees a sleep-deprived and anorexic Trevor Reznik (Bale) trying to deal with mounts of guilt through fabricating a twisted plot where he is determined to track down his co-worker Ivan (John Sharian) who he believes to be the cause of all the strange happenings around him.
Trevor works as a machinist in a factory with a group of workers who question his sanity due to his body withering away to almost nothing over the years and his actions around the workplace. He has an extreme case of insomnia and hasn’t slept for a year. He has obsessive compulsions like writing himself reminder notes, washing his hands with bleach and keeping track of his declining weight on little yellow post-it notes. He finds it hard to trust the people around him (his co-workers) and the only two people he confide in are a prostitute named Stevie (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Maria (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón), a single mother working at a bar in an airport.
The opening scene as well as Trevor’s obsessive disorders throughout the film makes the viewer question his sanity from the off. As a result, I spent the entire film wondering what was going through his head and jumping to conclusions in every scene. This is the result of watching SHUTTER ISLAND (2011) a few years ago and has now been my mind-set in any psychological thriller from the off. Thanks a lot DiCaprio!
It is claimed that Bale dropped a record 63 pounds in the run up to the shooting of this film, which even the director had not asked him to do. He supposedly wanted to drop all the way down to 100 pounds in weight for this film but producers would not let him in fear of his health. Incredibly he regained this weight and more by the time that shooting for BATMAN BEGINS (2005) began.
THE MACHINIST is a great tale of dealing with the past and the power of guilt in one’s mind. It once again comes with some great acting from Christian Bale, and a really well directed and classically shot feature, where red plays an important role in the film’s colour scheme and music is used in an almost Hitchock-esque way.
Recommendation: A good film to catch (maybe when you’re not as sleepy as we were). If you’re a huge Christian Bale fan – add it to your collection (probably will only cost a few quid from HMV), otherwise it’s on Amazon Instant Video right now! Enjoy!