Movie Reviews

The Machinist

Jacob Freedman

Usually when I mention “The Machinist” around people who have not seen the movie, they respond with, “Oh, you mean the one when Christian Bale got skinny?”  Though that is accurate, it is greatly misunderstood.  For Christian Bale to play Trevor Reznik the director requested that he loose twenty to forty pounds.  Bale obeyed this request with ease.  He claims to not have any problem loosing weight. In fact, he volunteered to loose twenty more pounds.  And then twenty more.  By the time production started he lost a total of sixty-three pounds and was yearning to loose twenty more.  At that point, the director said, “If you got any thinner, you wouldn’t exist.”  When asked, Bale said that the weight loss was, “surprisingly peaceful.”  The movie, however, is anything but that.

The entire mood of the film is unsettling.  Trevor Reznik, a machinist in a crowded factory, hasn’t slept for about a year and is operating heavy machinery.  To express Reznik’s insomnia most of the movie is unsaturated and has no music aside from transitional queues.  This gives the entire movie a bleak and mysterious feel.  The bleak atmosphere is consistent from scene to scene.  In fact, something almost always feels ‘off’ and in many cases dreamlike.  This is emphasized through the lighting, cinematography, editing, and even the acting.  They all compliment each other to make a beautiful look into this insomniac’s mind.

“The Machinist” is a psychological drama is very solid.  It kept me enthralled throughout the entire thing.  I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good mind bender.  For a reference on what this movie is like I would call it “Momento” if it had a linear narrative.  I would rate this to be a ‘Great’ film. (4/5)


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