Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Movie Review: 'The Machinist'

The Machinist is a dark psychological thriller that will leave you thinking after it is over. Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) hasn't slept for a year and is so emaciated that, 'if he were any thinner, he wouldn't exist.' Something deep and mysterious is going on from the opening scenes of Reznik disposing of a rolled up carpet with a body in it to the final resolution when all becomes clear. Reznik is a workshop machinist who experiences increasing levels of anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations. He is completely baffled about what is happening to him. His physical wasting away is evidence of what is happening in his mind and no one seems to care about his mental and physical disintegration except the prostitute with whom he has passing sex. We follow him as he desperately tries to unravel the mystery at the heart of his agony. The Machinist is an excellent film-noirish study of human experience with hints of Dostoevsky (Reznik is reading The Idiot in one scene). The director, Brad Anderson, has filmed the movie in dark metallic tones that resonate with Reznik's experience and Bale's committed performance (apparently he lost 28 kilograms for the role) adds authenticity to the role. Hints of the answer to the mystery come early in the movie. Some reviewers have criticised Anderson for revealing too much too soon. But there are too many movies that rely on hiding things from the viewer so the film evokes the most impact at the end. But, in my view, the interesting thing about The Machinist is in the journey more than the end. The final resolution explains the reason for the journey - a journey that, in greater or lesser degree, all humanity travels at times. If all this sounds vague and mysterious - wait until you see the movie where all will be revealed! My Rating: **** (out of 5) Best Review 'A brilliantly honed tale of dementia, starring a skeletal Christian Bale as a tormented insomniac wasting away and terrorized by his irreal existence.' - Duane Byrge/The Hollywood Reporter Worst Review 'Unrelentingly dreary, and seemingly destined to be remembered, if at all, as that movie Christian Bale lost a full third of his body weight for. It doesn't deserve any better.' - Nathan Rabin/The Onion (A.V. Club) Content Warning Violence and disturbing images; sexuality and language

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