Monday, November 10, 2008

The Machinist

Many people came into awareness of Christian Bale with Batman, but those of us in the know have been watching his films since before even American Psycho brought him into cult status. The man was in Empire of the Sun - Spielberg knows what he’s doing. Anyway, one of the astonishing things about Bale being in Batman Begins was what he did before. He lost about 60+ pounds to play the lead in The Machinist.

The Machinist is the story of Trevor Reznik; he’s a man that is so thin he resembles a human skeleton and he has been suffering from insomnia for at least a year. Day to day he goes to work in some sort of factory as a machine operator, visits Claire the prostitute with a heart of gold, and Marie the waitress every night for a cup of coffee. Though his weight is continually decreasing Trevor professes to be fine until he begins to see Ivan, a new arch welder at the plant. Once Ivan appears things begin to get bad for Trevor, accidents follow him and he soon believes his is part of a grand conspiracy but he cannot figure out the reason why all of this is happening.

I have a very large film vocabulary, as such I figured out part of the twist in The Machinist very early into the film; however, I was so interested in what the director was doing and the characters I did not turn off the film and by doing so I discovered that the film more than exceeded my expectations. While to me part of the twist was predictable, there was a larger part of the story that was part of the twist as well and I could not have predicted that. The ending of The Machinist takes the film from being well done but typical fare to a beautiful film that deviates from the standard. I know this is vague as I refuse to reveal the twist to you, but you will just have to trust me and see it for yourself.

I don’t feel the need to point out how much I adore Christian Bale as an actor again (because you do all already know that), but I do need to point out that he has been cited as the basic reason this movie got made. Scott Kosar has been quoted as saying he didn’t think the film would ever be made because he didn’t think they would ever find an actor that was willing to lose enough weight to be Trevor and there was no way the film would work without the weight element. Bale is known for throwing himself at a role, and he more than proved it by deciding to tackle the character of Trevor Reznik.

As a director one of the things I love the most about The Machinist were the visuals of the film. Not only was the film shot beautifully but the color palette was just spectacularly cool and beautiful. The entire film feels like it was died blue and this ads to the few punches of color that director Brad Anderson chooses to throw in there, and to the detachment of Trevor’s world from the rest of humanity.

This movie is gorgeous in all senses of the word but it is not for the faint of heart; on some level this film is also disturbing. However, all of this is rectified by the fact that this is a film that has a meaning to it and a deeper point than to just “entertain” the audience for an hour and a half.

Director: Brad Anderson
Writer: Steve Kosar
Trevor Reznik: Christian Bale
Stevie: Jennifer Jason Leigh
Marie: Aitana Sanchex-Gijon
Ivan: John Sharian
Miller: Michael Ironside
Nicholas: Matthew Romero Moore

Marie: Trevor, is someone chasing you?
Trevor Reznik: Not yet. But they will when they find out who I am.

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