THE MACHINIST is the story of Trevor Reznik, a machinist who hasn?t slept in over a year. Working in a machine shop, Trevor faces the usual occupational hazards, yet his extreme fatigue only makes them worse, causing him t... more »o accidentally cut off a co-worker?s hand. What Trevor suffers from clearly isn?t a typical case of insomnia?« less
A very compelling psychological horror film. Christian Bale as the lead really makes this movie work; in the hands of a less capable actor, the main character could be repellent and difficult to sympathise with, but Bale makes him fully human and three dimensional. I really cared about what was happening to the character all the way up to the end.
The writing is good, and the mystery well-kept: I was wondering exactly what had happened right up to the end of the film. There is no happy ending here, but there is at least a sense of relief from the very high level of tension created throughout the narrative.
This is a very well-made film and worth a watch if you can appreciate a very dark tone and not be too disturbed by some explicit gore (or at least be prepared to cover your eyes). Unlike most horror-flavoured movies, this one does see justice and sanity prevail in the end, and nothing felt over-the-top or gratuitous, minus the afore-mentioned gory moment.
A solid story and excellent acting. Five-star performance from Bale, and four stars overall (others might rate it higher, but I found it a bit too dark to feel completely enthusiastic about).
Vernon P. (Merlin) Reviewed on 6/18/2013...
I rarely give a work of fiction more than 4 stars, but this one gets 4.5 IMHO. Christian Bale goes WAY above and beyond the call of duty here - his extreme weight loss is NOT CGI or a body double - he actually did it. All of the acting is spot-on, and I'd have to say that Jennifer Jason Leigh is the best prostitute I've seen on film since Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Michael Ironside is his ususal solid, believable character sketch. The show wouldn't work without him even though he only has (perhaps) 10 minutes of screen time. This movie is a WONDERFUL examination of the depths a person's psyche will go to for self-preservation. A MASTERPIECE.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Tara C. (ohsonaughty) Reviewed on 12/31/2010...
Incredible drama! I've never seen Christian Bale in such a physical state before. It was kind of disturbing to see it, but I couldn't peel my eyes away!
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
"If you were any thinner, you wouldn't exist"
M. J Leonard | Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA United States | 10/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Machinist would probably have to be one of the creepiest and psychologically complex movies of the year. The film is also a standout because of Christian Bale's withering, and soul-destroying performance as a man wracked by insomnia, and tortured by guilt. Much has been made of Bale's dramatic weight loss and his astonishing transformation into the main character - he purportedly wanted to undergo a complete physical and mental metamorphosis - but nothing will prepare the viewer for the reality of Christian's starving, skeletal-like body. Bale is nothing short of amazing in this movie - he's an actor of astounding capacities; and it's not just the feat of his physical transformation, but the fact that he totally inhabits and becomes so totally immersed in his character.
With a beautifully moody musical score and a dark, somber, yet visually stunning look, The Machinist is riveting jigsaw puzzle, an astute intellectual exercise where the viewer is left to put the pieces together, and decide which world is actually fantasy or reality. Trevor Reznick (Bale) has terrible insomnia and hasn't slept in a year. He's decimated physically and mentally and has become irrevocably trapped in a prison that is his own guilt-ridden, paranoid, and disillusioned mind - every time he tries to close his eyes something interrupts him. As the story opens, Trevor is busy trying to dispose of a dead body; the story then jumps to the events leading up to this incident.
By day Trevor works in a factory as a machinist, and at night he zealously writes messages on post-it notes, and fanatically washes his hands with bleach. He seeks solace in his favorite hooker (played with tender resolve by Jennifer Jason Leigh), and also the company of Marie (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon), a waitress at an airport coffee shop. He enjoys her company and likes to leave her extra large tips. One afternoon while at work, Reznick - distracted for a moment - contributes to a terrible accident involving a colleague. At the same time, Ivan (John Sharian), a bald-headed figure with a horribly malformed thumb and two fingers missing and whom no one else can see, constantly follows Trevor. Increasingly paranoid, Trevor becomes convinced that Ivan and Miller, his co-worker, (Michael Ironside) have trumped up some kind of conspiracy against him and are trying to drive him mad.
The Machinist is weird and difficult. As Trevor embarks on a journey of self-awareness, the viewer is left wondering whether fatigue has robbed him of reason, or whether there is some grand scheme to drive him nutty. Brave and visually sumptuous, one of the movie's many memorable visuals occurs when Trevor takes Marie's son on a horror ride called Route 666, with terrible results for both Trevor and for the boy. Guilt, loss of self, repression and odd mother fixations are all themes that are astutely and cleverly woven into the fabric of the story. For most of the film, Reznik is just a literal bag of bones, desperately floating through empty, dark apartments, and grey, storm-ridden industrial landscapes -a kind of postmodern anti-hero, a ghost who is desperately looking to make his peace. Mike Leonard October 04. "
"I just want to sleep..."
Michael Crane | Orland Park, IL USA | 06/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have to say that "The Machinist" is easily the most unsettling, disturbing and bizarre film I have seen so far this year. I mean, you can tell from reading the back of the DVD cover and seeing how disturbingly thin Christian Bale in pictures from the movie that this is not going to be a very happy time. Yet, last night I was in the mood for something dark and uncompromising. I got it and then some with this cleverly haunting film that is unforgettable.
Bale plays "Trevor Reznik," a troubled and fatigued machinist who hasn't slept for a year. He lives his life in isolation, with the few minor exceptions such as a friendly prostitute who takes a liking to him and an airport coffee shop waitress he visits every night. Things take a turn for the worst when he meets a fellow machinist for the first time... but nobody knows who this guy is. They tell Trevor that he doesn't exist. The paranoia and confusion leads to a horrific accident on the job that involves his co-worker. And that's when he gets the strange notes in his apartment. Either Trevor is completely delusional and has lost his mind... or somebody really is out to get him.
What's really intriguing about the movie is that just like Trevor, we do not know exactly what is real or what is made up. There are times when we're doubtful of what we're seeing, and then we get roped in and second-guess ourselves. The movie is a non-stop dread fest that just speaks of loneliness and paranoia, and that's why it works. It looks and feels exactly like it should. From the very first few minutes, it's easy to realize that this is going to be one unsettling and dark experience. It is one that you may want to re-watch after you see it all. You'll definitely think about it for a while after it's all said and done, but personally I didn't think it was that hard to piece together after it was over. It made sense, and it made even more sense on the second viewing. Christian Bale is fantastic in this. I can't believe he dropped down to around 100 pounds for the role. Yes, you should be warned that Bale looks EXTREMELY skinny in this... almost like a walking skeleton, as was intended in the script. I think the movie was very well written and directed.
This isn't a movie for those who get easily disturbed or freaked out. It's a pretty uneasy movie to watch. Let's just say you won't feel extremely cheerful after you get done watching this. You may want to put on something funny after you're done, otherwise you're going to have this movie stuck in your head while you try to sleep. The DVD has a little to offer in the extra features department, such as commentary from the director, a making of feature, 8 deleted scenes and the theatrical trailer.
I really enjoyed "The Machinist." It surprised me and kept me hooked from beginning to end. I have to say that I kind of missed watching dark movies like this. Seems like there's too many "cutesy-wutesy" movies for the family, so it's good to see something so brutal, so raw and so in your face like this. If you want to be disturbed and see something that isn't your typical thriller, "The Machinist" is something to put down on your list of movies to see. As depressing and dreadful as this movie can get... I'm ready to see it again. -Michael Crane"
Nine Inch Nails in the coffin...and then some
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 09/10/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"no accident that the main character's named Trevor Reznik; the filmmaker, Brad Anderson, is a fan of Nine Inch Nails, fronted by Trent Reznor: the same dark gloomy kinda thing spills over from the Nine Inch Nails music into this film, with its dark gray washed out interiors and just as dank cloudy exteriors (but they appear only when Trevor's by himself--watch how, for example, when he meets other people, like his co-worker Miller and Miller's wife, the sky is a lot clearer).
Trevor, the ever-insomniac, not only evokes Trent Reznor but also Cesare from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari--the ever-present sleepwalker. Trevor is more of a walksleeper than a sleepwalker; he hasn't copped any zees in a year (not very credible, actually; if that were really true, he'd be dead a few times over), moving around in a paranoid daze with a number of flashes of rationality, and solace provided by either a friendly hooker (Jennifer Jason Leigh) or a comely waitress (a beautiful Spanish actress whose name escapes me).
The film is uncompromising and because of that no American production company would finance it. It was paid for and shot in Barcelona, Spain--which not too many people know about--and the director did everything he could to make the Spanish exteriors and interiors look American.
Trevor is played by Christian Bale, he of the formerly smarmy demeanor in American Psycho, but here reduced by 63 pounds from his former self to the aforementioned Cesare-like walking skeleton resemblance kinda thing. Watching him without his shirt on is truly painful. Disturbing. Which, of course, is the point.
Accidents follow Trevor wherever he goes. This is the core of the film. He's also followed by his own personal demon, Ivan, who's invisible to everyone else. Ivan has a severly deformed hand, like that of a thalidomide-afflicted person, and a grin that could slice your ear off. Bald, thickset, and a Southern accent to boot. Just as creepy as Trevor. Maybe more.
So what is this film about? It's really about guilt. That's it in a nutshell. Guilt, fear, and the persistence of memory, as our friend Salvador Dali would say. Not exactly a bouncy piece of work. Not something to watch with old Aunt Millie sitting next to you, hoping for Cary Grant to come on and say something utterly and stupidly charming.
Trevor's life is grit; he works in a machine shop factory kinda thing where the workers are all union members who live life day to day and stick up for each other and resent anyone who isn't just like them. So naturally, that leaves our anti-hero out of the picture. He forgets to pay his utility bill at home and his lights go out. Post-Its keep appearing on his refrigerator with a game of Hangman he never started but there's no way of knowing who's leaving those Post-Its there. Is there?
Not only is this about guilt, but also about karma. For every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. What goes around comes around. Stuff like that. You can't escape the past. You can try...but you can't. Ever.
That's what this is about. Dark, disturbing, deranged. The three D's. Also devilish, dank, dismal, defiant.
Matt | NJ | 01/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I see a number of essay-length reviews of this movie, which makes sense, as the movie is indeed deep and complex - yet for the sake of those simply seeking a concise review, I will keep it brief.
The movie has a dark and uncollected tone. Christian Bale plays Trevor Reznick, a man who is unable to sleep and who has become malnourished and emaciated. His inability to sleep causes him great trouble and leads him in and out of reality until he is brought back to the source - that which has caused his troubles and his insomnia: his guilt.
Bale gives an unbelievable performance in this film. I can't imagine it ever being worth what he did to himself physically, though. He simply starved himself for the role. You would think this would have horrible repercussions (and I'm sure it did), yet he seemed to have made a full recovery by the time he played Bruce Wayne in Batman."
Stop reading reviews and just watch the movie!
Alexiel | United States | 09/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There's so much I'd like to write about this movie, but I can't. I don't want to give even the slightest bit away. Yeah, it's cheap, I know, but I saw it with pretty much a blank slate and I think that's absolutely the best way to do. You must see this movie. Then come back and read some of these reviews, like I did (some of the reviewers give away WAY too much, I felt).
This movie is a feast for all the senses. Christian Bale plays a frighteningly emaciated industrial worker lives like an apparition in a washed out, grimy world. This reminds me of Orwell's vision of postwar England as portrayed in "1984" - grim, bleak, washed-out, bleary-eyed, ephemeral and unreal, like being stuck in a perpetual hangover in an old war zone. For a while this movie was billed as a "horror" movie but it's really psychological horror that manifests itself in a few conventionally horrific ways. It does have similarities to "Sessions 9" as others have pointed out, by the same director. Internal angst and self-discovery juxtaposed against a decaying old backdrop.
This movie is like what Henry James might have written if he were alive today! The cinematography is great, the settings are excellently done and quite creepy and unsettling, even as they are familiar. And the music! The music is great, it's about time someone gave some love to the theremin again. The acting is top-notch from everyone involved, especially Christian Bale. A scene-grabber for sure.
Every facet of the movie was executed in a professionally frightening and somewhat hallucinatory manner. But don't be fooled by that term. There really is very little David Lynch and such style in this movie, in my opinion. It does more showing and less telling, yes, but it does so in a more straight-ahead approach with less cloying. If the movie has a weakness, which it may very well not, it's the ending; however, I congratulate the writers, because this was an extraordinarily difficult movie to write a conclusion to that doesn't cheat the audience or leave things too open-ended (the famous "draw your own conclusions" ending that give critics something to rave about and writers and easy out).
In conclusion, "The Machinist" deserves 5 stars on virtually every level, and as a whole. Watch it as soon as possible, I don't think you'll be disappointed, and I'd be surprised if anyone feels "cheated" like you do with some ambitious movies."