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The Machinist (2004)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Brad Anderson

Starring:
Christian Bale/Trevor
Jennifer Jason Leigh/Stevie
Aitana Sanchez-Gijon/Marie
Michael Ironside/Miller
8 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Shop worker Trevor Reznik (Bale) hasn’t had a hefty nap in a year; is as thin as dental floss and lives his existence in a mechanized manner. Things actually manage to get much worst for our poor schlep when out of the blue, his surroundings tries to do him in. Is the lack of sheep-counting fogging Trevor’s noggin or is there really a target spray-painted on his back? Welcome to his nightmare!
THE LOWDOWN

If you were any thinner, you wouldn't exist.– Stevie

Okay; let’s say I’m a dealer and you’re a junkie. You don’t want to be a junkie? Tough nookie; you’re one anyways. So I’m a dealer and for 5 cents I inject you with a drug called “Depressive Crystal”. Well the trip that you would experience would most likely be similar to the inner travels I took when experiencing The Machinist. Lucky for me; my 45-caliber hand gun with built-in slide, grip and trigger was at the shop getting a good rub down today, otherwise you would've had a dead frat boy like critic on your paws.

Director Brad Anderson, the hombre behind the spooky, mean "fear machine" Session 9 hit the bull’s-eye again! The Machinist was a forceful front row seat to one’s man’s hell that pierced me deep "Hellraiser hooks" style via the sordid/weird events it unraveled before my retinas. This sour grape was a “character study” in the purest meaning of the term. Following Anorexia Poster Boy Trevor through his many affecting emotional planes was alone mucho gripping but what I relished the most was that his present dark internal-filling tainted the world he lived in. His machinist job was a soulless, robotic affair which at the same time sported an aura of pure menace. His overall environment (home, exteriors) was oppressive while being sorrowfully coated in a thick shade of gray and bluish hues. And Trevor’s take on the folks he interacted with was defined by the boiling water in his melon not who they really were.

The uni-perpsective nature of the picture; resulted in me the audience member being taken through the bleak-streak ringer first hand. I was bamboozed by Trevor’s confusion, I was living his pain and feeling his frustrations hardcore. Props to screenwriter Scott Kosar for his brilliant screenplay structure! The affair flowed effortlessly and every plot element wound up complementing the other sooner or later. Cigars and Wild Turkey to director Anderson while we’re at it! The man communicated the substance in such an involving visual fashion that I pleasantly drowned in this film. Lastly, let’s throw a Bale Pride parade in the name of Christian Bale’s courageous acting show! Not since Robert De Niro put on a ludicrous amount of extra pounds for Raging Bull have I seen an actor go this far in terms of re-shaping his body for a gig. Bale was disgustingly skinny here, to the point where I though he might disintegrate at any moment. He couldn’t have been further from buff-stuff Patrick Bateman or John Preston; he was practically un-recognizable! Although excessive; I must admit that his approach brought it all home with gusto! Bale’s frighteningly frail physique supported his character's grim mental condition to a "T' and more importantly, went in hand in hand with the key universal theme that was being explored throughout.

My sole quibble with The Machinist was that I’ve seen this “type” of cinematic vice-grip before and I therefore swiftly figured out the game it was playing on me (like at 20 minutes in). The finale even went as far as echoing or should I say "ripping off" a scene from its 1987 forefather when it comes to this subgenre! That was too damn close for comfort! Having said that, although I solved the puzzle early on, that didn’t take away from the absorbing events at hand or the clever dissection of a particular human trait and its consequences. Overall The Machinist was a well written, intelligent, depth filled, suspenseful, bad-dreamlike and astoundingly acted piece of morbid candy. One that I found myself relating to in more ways than one. You going to set this macabre machinery into gear or should I?
GORE
We get cut off fingers, some rotting “something”, a slit throat (we don’t see it but we see blood) and Bale’s grotesque body.
ACTING
Christian Bale (Trevor) is either one of this centuries' best young actors or he’s clinically insane. The man lost 60 pounds for the role (how’s that for dedication) and plunged head first into the emotional tornado that the part demanded of him. If Oscar doesn’t nod his show, Oscar is full of shit. Then again we know that already. Jennifer Jason Leigh (Stevie) has played this type of role before and she excelled at it again here. I haven’t see Aitana Sanchez-Gijon (Marie) since her stint in “Walk in the Clouds”. I loved her then and adored her now. There’s just a “goodness” that emanates from her that I find very appealing. Both Michael Ironside (Miller) and John Sharian (Ivan) surfaced in small roles and came through in what they had to accomplish. Sharian in particular should be given a pat on the bald head for his interesting mix of charisma and threat!
T & A
When in doubt, you can always count on Jennifer Jason Leigh to show her breasts and she delivered here again. Thanks Jen! Still looking good! The ladies get Bale shirtless looking like a rake.
DIRECTING
Brad Anderson is the man! I so grooved to the monochrome feel he put out, was slapped around by the scary bits he fed me (that haunted house ride was some scary stuff) and esteemed the gifted ways in which he manipulated me with his visuals. AMAZING!
SOUNDTRACK
The gloomy score by Roque Banos perfectly complemented the surreal and drab images on display.
BOTTOM LINE
The Machinist was a mesmerizing look at one man’s wounded emotional state and the tortuous ordeal he’s forced to live through in the name of coming to terms with it. Gloomy, uncanny and harshly nightmarish, this flick took me for an acidic spin and I for one didn’t want to get off the wagon anytime soon. Granted the enigma dealt my way was a tad too obvious but at the same time, even though the movie played like a riddle, it also fully functionned on an existential level. The way I perceived it: this was one man’s passage, this was how it unraveled and this was how it ended. Take it or leave it. I took it, found pleasure in the bad trip and savored as to what the flick had to say. Question is, will you?
BULL'S EYE
The screenplay for The Machinist was written by Scott Kosar who also wrote The TCM remake and the upcoming Amityville Horror remake.

Bale went from 190 pounds to 130 pounds for the role.

The flick cost about 5 Million to make and was shot in Spain.

Thnks to Mad Mathieu for the hook up! Again you came through and the site thanks you bro!

VISIT THE OFFICIAL THE MACHINIST WEBSITE HERE
 

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