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The Machinist

The Machinist

I’ll start by saying, if Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron and Renee Zellweger got so much critical acclaim for changing their bodies and becoming physically ugly, then Christian Bale definitely should have the same acclaim, from what I’ve read he lost 60 pounds for the role, going on a diet of a can of tuna and an apple a day. He wanted to go down to 100 pounds but doctors stopped him from doing so. Talk about being committed to a role. Bale’s almost anorexic appearance, changes his role from a strong one to a memorable one.

The Machinist or El Maquinista is about an unstable insomniac, who has a dark hidden secret which haunts him. Christian Bale puts in a brilliant performance, which makes the movie somewhat like a bad dream. Similarities with another movie are undeniable and comparisons can definitely be made. Although not as good as movies like Memento, the movie will appeal to an audience who like this sort of story.

Bale plays a factory worker named Trevor Reznik, who leads a working class tedious life. He’s spent a whole year without sleeping a wink and spends his nights either with the exact same waitress at the airport or with his prostitute, Stevie played by Jennifer Jason Leigh. Something weird is happening to Trevor, a strange character named Ivan constantly haunts him, and he keeps having extremely weird visions. The main question in this movie is whether he is imagining these things or if it is all part of a big conspiracy to make him go crazy.

Suspense in the film is built by its brilliant style. The camerawork and claustrophobic atmosphere in the factory show the viewer the darkness in Reznik’s life and help to replicate what is going through his mind. The colour scheme of the movie is also very dark and is very close to being monochromatic. One of the best scenes in the movie is one with an impending storm, which I believe is perfect with its composition and presentation.

Jennifer Jason Leigh does not need to stretch herself for her role but puts in a solid performance as Stevie, who in some ways is a clichéd character. She is one of the few sympathetic faces in the movie, which is needed in such a dark movie.

The movie is rather confusing at first, and does not seem to be going in any particular direction, but if you have the patience, the end is rewarding and is worth waiting for. One aspect of the film, which I liked, was that Anderson, the director never cheats his audience with any sudden twists, the revelations of what is going on are gradually introduced and allow the audience to piece together everything.

The Machinist is not for the feint of heart and is very grim and at some parts gory, but if you are a fan of such movies, then you will certainly enjoy it. If not for anything else, watch this movie because of Christian Bale because he yet again proves he is one of the best actors in cinema today.

Oh, and if you're wondering about the Spanish name, it's because the movie couldn't get funding in the U.S so it was funded, shot and released in Spain.