Machinist, The

2004 · Filmax
Machinist, The — Movie Review by Karthik
9 out of 10
Directing Credits
Brad Anderson
Writing Credits
Written by Scott Kosar
Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sanchez-Gijon, John Sharian, Michael Ironside

The Review

Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) works in a machining plant, and is going through a difficult phase in life.  He hasn't slept in a year, and this has had a frightening effect on his body — he is extremely thin, so thin, in fact, that if he were any thinner, he'd cease to exist; as other characters tell him.  When an accident happens in the plant, causing a coworker, Miller (Michael Ironside), to lose his hand, Reznik becomes more and more paranoid, and begins to think that the other people at the plant want to drive him crazy.  Additionally, who is the mysterious Ivan (John Sharian) who claims to work in the same plant, though none of the coworkers know of his existence?

Reznik's only solace lies in Stevie (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a kind-hearted prostitute who understands him, and Marie (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon), a waitress at an airport cafe.  Reznik, however, might be drifting into insanity, when he begins seeing a game of Hangman played via Post-it notes on his refrigerator; which may or may not be real.  What is the truth behind this whole situation?

The first thing that will strike you about this movie is Christian Bale's appearance in it.  He apparently lost a third of his body weight for the role, and you would find it hard to recognise that this is the same actor who portrayed Batman in Batman Begins!  Excellent acting all around, bringing the right amount of creepiness to the screen.  As this is a thriller, the movie maintains a feel of tension throughout, and gradually reaches a satisfying resolution.  It is slower-paced and more dramatic than a conventional thriller, so the focus is not to shock the viewer, rather, it is to maintain an ominous feel throughout.  This is done exceedingly well, thanks to Brad Anderson's direction.  Like his earlier film Session 9, the photography is almost another character in the film.  And in The Machinist, the photography (by Xavi Gimenez) is simply breathtaking.  It is moody, employing a desaturated look, and as my brother was pointing out, every single shot is very beautifully composed (even normal shots in Reznik's apartment, with common household items, manage to impress).  The music by Roque Banos also lends a lot of feel to the film.  The score is somewhat like Bernard Herrmann's music for Psycho and suits the film very well.  I believe writer Scott Kosar wanted to have an Industrial soundtrack for the film initially, composed by Nine Inch Nails — while it would have been interesting to see what that is like, I think the final choice for the score is the better one.

Nothing more left to say, this is a very impressive film that is a must-watch!

Other Notes

The character name of Trevor Reznik is quite close to Trent Reznor of the band Nine Inch Nails.  Apparently, writer Scott Kosar is a fan of NIN and even included lyrics from an NIN song (I wonder which one?) on the opening pages of his script for the movie.

More Details

Running Time: 102 minutes | Country: Spain | Genre: Thriller/Drama

Ratings Info

I rate all movies or game add-ons on a scale of 1 to 10 points.  1 is the lowest score, 6 is barely above average, 8 is good, and 10 is excellent (this score doesn't indicate something that is perfect in every way — it just means that I enjoyed it a lot).  You'll find that I tend to give ratings of 8 and above often (that's only because I enjoy whatever I'm reviewing!).  Reviews are updated as felt necessary.  Of course, everything said in these reviews is my humble opinion only.
Review Date 3 Dec 06
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The Author

Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

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