Genre: Psychological Thriller
Director: Brad Anderson
Starring: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh,
Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, John Sharian, Michael Ironside
RunTime: 1 hr 42 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Rating: NC-16 (Sexual References)
Released Date: 10 Feb 2005
(Courtesy from Cathay-Keris Films):
Trevor Reznik, a machinist, has lost the ability to sleep.
But this is no ordinary insomnia. Trevor has not slept in
a year. Fatigue has led to a shocking deterioration of his
physical and mental health. Suspicious of his appearance,
Trevor’s co-workers first shy away from him, then turn
against him after he’s involved in a shop accident that
costs a man his arm. They blame Trevor for the accident. He
has become a liability to himself and others, and now they
want him out.
Plagued with guilt, Trevor’s shame becomes suspicion,
then paranoia, when it appears his workmates are conspiring
to have him fired –- or worse. First he finds cryptic
notes left in his apartment. Next he’s told that a mysterious
co-worker involved in the accident doesn’t exist.
Are these mysteries part of a plot to drive Trevor mad? Or
is it fatigue that’s robbing him of his reason?
Determined to find an answer, Trevor investigates the strange
occurrences that are turning his world into a sleepless nightmare.
Yet the more he learns, the less he wants to know.
If anyone doubt the level of commitments that Christian Bale
have for the role he played, The Machinist would properly
put an end to it. Losing an astounding 60 Pounds by keeping
to a strict diet of 1 can of tuna and an apple a day for the
role of factor operator tormented by insomnia had to be one
of the memorable sacrifice by an actor for a film in recent
sacrifice was worth it as it helps to paint a believable unhealthy
obsession to stay awake. Which would intrigue the viewers
into uncovering the cause of such obsession and why a seemly
nice guy like Trevor Reznik would not allow himself to good
night rest. It will also make you wonder how such he could
still work in such a tired condition, operating heavy machinery.
background setting of a machinery factory also radiates impending
accidents that could happen working in such a condition. Fatigue
does not work well in a factory setting, especially one that
involved with handing machines that could be unforgiving and
menacing if not handle properly.
Brad Anderson used the background setting well enough that
every scene with the machines will create the foreboding feel.
He also significantly de-saturated the color; creating the
atmosphere of detachment and loneliness that aid the viewers
to sympathize with the character Trevor descends into a mental
state of paranoia.
supporting casts are well chosen to help add different emotional
layers to this film. The call girl (Jennifer Jason Leigh)
with a soft spot for Trevor and an airport waitress (Aitana
Sánchez-Gijón) who Trevor visited every night
gave a sympathetic support view of Trevor’s condition
while the mysterious stranger (John Sharian) helped to push
Trevor over the limits of distrust. Without these supporting
casts, Christian Bale’s character would properly be
only as memorable as the circle sideshow freak.
Machinist is one of those intriguing psychological horror
films that will make you want to stay awake through some of
the slow draggy moments of the film for the ending. Even though
the ending was a fitting and reasonable one, this film ending
somehow lack the big punch that it was winding up for. Although
I found the ending to be less than satisfactory, I would recommend
to watch this film for Christian Bale’s sacrifice for
the on screen transformation and his portrayal of a paranoid
insomniac are already well worth the ticket price.
Review by our columnist, Richard