Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Film Review: THE MACHINIST (2004)

Director: Brad Anderson
Running time: 101 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/Mystery/Thriller
UK release date 18th March 2005

Watched on Sky+ Tuesday 8th February 2011.


I first saw this film several years ago and I remember being amazed by the performance of Christian Bale. He is so thin it’s almost unbelievable that he is able to perform. The film deals with the tricks the mind can play on you and the consequences thereof. But more of that later, here’s a brief summary first (summary haters please help Miller fix that machine over there while I write the next paragraph).

Trevor Reznik has not slept in over a year; he hardly eats and leaves lots of post-it notes all over his apartment to remind him to do things. He works, as the title suggests, as a machinist in a factory where he is just about tolerated by his workmates. He visits a hooker, Stevie, who he confides in and she, looking for a way out of the business, has some affection for him too. Late at night he goes to the airport where he has coffee and has conversations with the waitress, Marie. One day a mysterious stranger turns up at work, a man who calls himself Ivan. And whilst helping Miller fix a machine Trevor gets distracted by Ivan and causes an accident. This eventually leads to his dismissal as he becomes more and more paranoid about Ivan. As he sinks deeper into his paranoia he begins to hallucinate more and more and the line between hallucinations and reality becomes blurred. What is at the root of all this? Well, a resolution is found in the film… but you’re crazy if you think I’m gonna tell you here.

This is a really dark gritty film, very well made with a really great soundtrack that fits the mood perfectly. It almost has the air of film noir about it, or maybe that’s just the mood set by the musical score. A really great performance from Christian Bale as Trevor Reznik, how he got so thin I’ll never know. Also worth an honourable mention are; Jennifer Jason Leigh as Stevie, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón as Marie, John Sharian as Ivan and Michael Ironside as Miller.

I love films that make you think, and this one certainly does that. Yes, at times it does get a little ponderous, but I can forgive that because it does all tie up in the end. So, over all, a well made, dark mystery thriller with a great score and a brilliant performance from Christian Bale… Very highly recommended.

My score: 8.6/10

(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0361862/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/machinist/
Trailer: http://uk.imdb.com/rg/VIDEO_PLAY/LINK/video/screenplay/vi2062942489/

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