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Plot: Trevor Reznik is a machinist in a factory. An extreme case of insomnia has led to him not sleeping in a year, and his body withering away to almost nothing. He has an obsessive compulsion to write himself reminder notes and keep track of his dwindling weight, both scribbled on yellow stickies in… Runtime: 101 min Release Date: 03 Dec 2004
A strange story about freedom and guilty. Modern image of "Crime and Punishment". Our life like a shadow of the dreams and fear. Like a research a way of personal truth. No salvation, no cure. Only a refuge in a great lie. This movie is an important experience. Not like a theoretical experience,like a game without value, like a joke. "The Machinist " is a trip in your mind, in your memory, in the life's essence. "I am the other" said Rimbaud. But who? A ghost? A shadow? A body? A toy? The essence of movie is the relation with the world and the form of <more>
honesty. The presence of God in this movie is the way of resurrection. The car, the boy, the work accident, Maria, Ivan , Miller are the steps of a very special salvation. And Christian Bale, in his best character, a new Raskolnikov, know to give a great sense of truth to Trevor Reznik. A real master-piece!
A Dark and Somber Maze of Altered Reality (by gradyharp)
THE MACHINIST is a mesmerizing film, a journey through the interstices of a mind deprived of sleep, of nourishment, and a mind that struggles to untangle the chaos of a past of guilt and terror. And the journey is terrifying.When the film opens we meet Trevor Reznik Christian Bale or at least the emaciated, tortured remains of a man who hasn't slept for a year. We don't know why this worker in a machine factory is in such condition: the story unwinds slowly so that by the end we accompany Reznik in his shock to his moment of discovery. It is the getting there that is the tough <more>
beauty of this amazingly rich film as written by Scott Kosar and directed by Brad Anderson.The setting is always dark as though the state of mind is a nightmare. Reznik's meager existence is challenged when he is involved in an industrial accident in which a fellow worker Miller Michael Ironside loses an arm. Shocked by the accident for which Reznik feels responsible the various few people in his life seem supportive: a hooker named Stevie Jennifer Jason Leigh , a waitress in an airport all night diner Marie Aitana Sánchez-Gijón , and an ambiguous bald man Ivan John Sharian who appears to Reznik in strange ways.Reznik's mind slowly disintegrates into paranoid delusions, the only way he can hold his life together is by post-its reminding him first of his documented progressive weight loss, then of his needs, then of his secret mystery. To say more would be a great disservice to the extraordinary plot.Christian Bale delivers one of the most committed performances on film. He not only physically inhabits Reznik with his skeletal appearance, he also mentally nurtures all the nuances of fear, pain, pleasure and madness that build as his character's reason for a year of insomnia is revealed at the very end. We stand in suspense with him and his fall is as powerful as any Dante ever devised. The entire cast is superb but special kudos go to Jennifer Jason Leigh who finally has a role that allows her to demonstrate the spectrum of skill she possesses as an actress. Not an easy film, this, but a very important one. Highly recommended - but not to see alone! Grady Harp
The modern reincarnation of a Greek tragedy (by K_Todorov)
After his chilling horror "Session 9" Brad Anderson continues his journey exploring the darkest depths of the human mind with "The Machinist". This review is not meant to just show the aesthetic and structural qualities Anderson's movie has, but also to distance it from the impression of being a "Fight Club rip-off". The review CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS on both The Machinist and Fight Club and should only be read by people who have already seen these two movies.Those who are familiar with Aristotle's view on art and specifically the mimesis and catharsis <more>
theories will find similarities here, or should I say an exact match to his idea for a "tragedy". "The Machinist" mimics the real world. It is not a supernatural or fantasy story, but something possible in the context of reality keeping to the "mimesis" theory art should be something that imitates life, stays close to the rules on what is possible . The protagonist, a machinist, is plagued by insomnia and weight loss, the reason for this suffering isn't explained from the start, but later on. We sympathize with him, with the problems this man, Trevor Reznik, has. Why should an innocent, suffer like that, we ask. Why should he be punished if he hadn't committed a crime? The tragic catharsis, writes Aristotle, is the moment when the protagonist's sin is revealed, when we, the audience learn that the punishment he has received isn't unjust, when we know that innocence isn't subjectable to punishment, sin is. Scott Kosar wrote a Greek tragedy, Brad Anderson brought it to life.The atmosphere? A bleak, nearly colorless look, sadness and dread combined. The gloomy melancholy, jitters the mind. Christian Bale's dedication to his craft is outstanding he takes it to a whole new level. What he underwent for this role, the performance, a range of emotions ranging from fear, shock, paranoia, regret,sorrow. It was more than Oscar-worthy, it was unreal. Director Brad Anderson creates tension and unease at places you wouldn't think it was possible, he delivers surprise after surprise in what may seem more like a hellish roller-coaster ride, then a traditional thriller. A low key musical score, perfect choice, for the tone. Quite a catching opening tune."The Machinist", it seems, ends with questions unanswered. The main plot line has been completed but some mechanisms that lead towards the conclusion are a bit fogged out of perception. Nonetheless they are there. The movie is, of course, open for interpretation and the following is simply my take on some of the sub-plots and characters.On the opening scene. The opening scene is as we've learned, not a chronological first, but a sequence taken from the latter stage. Why? It exists as: a stylistic approach to create tension, to grab the audience's attention from the start. an early tip for the mystery the movie has note Reznik's reaction, the shock in his eyes when dumping the body and when "someone" flashes him with a flashlight .On the insomnia, weight loss and Ivan. The insomnia and Ivan are the reasons for "The Machinist" being a "Fight Club" ripoff argument. There were movies that used such ideas before Fight Club, Lynch's Lost Highway for example, it's nothing all too original. What these elements represent that is what's important. In "The Machinist" they are the punishment Trevor's guilt inflicts on him. We've all experienced guilt at one point or the other, and we know it can have an effect. Here that effect is taken to the extreme. Fight Club on the other hand had the Narrator's insomnia and split personality, Tyler Dyrden, created from frustration, his inability in adapting to the status quo, he can't sleep because he cannot see a reason for his existence, he makes Tyler who gives him a reason. Ivan is not a split personality, he doesn't take control over the protagonist's body like Tyler, no one except Reznik has seen or heard of him, he is a manifestation like Nicholas or Marie, he is the projection of sin and Trevor in the past. The Trevor who caused the accident, he will repeat it again in order to guide Bale's character to the truth.On how Trevor Reznik lost his memory about the accident. During the sequence at the theme park where Trevor and Nicholas are walking through the dark tunnel, Trevor notes the similarities between his childhood and Nicholas's current life. Both lacked or lack a father-like figure in their life both are in a good relationship with their mothers. This is not an accident, since Nicholas is merely one of the manifestations in Reznik's subconscious mind there is little doubt that he is also a mirror image of Trevor as a young boy living with his mother. His subconscious guilt fills the gaps and fleshes out the two fictional characters using bits and pieces of his past life. This is done in order to make the two manifestations become believable to Trevor's now doubtlessly distorted perception. If Nicholas is in fact Trevor then what happened to Nicholas during the ride through "Route 666" is what actually happened to Trevor shortly after the accident. Epileptic shock as explained by Marie causes loss of memory "he will forget it ever happened". And indeed Trevor forgot, partially, in his subconscious the memory still existed.Complex but structurally sound "The Machinist" is the dark, modern reincarnation of a Greek tragedy. Twisted and disturbing, sad but liberating, Scott Kosar, Brad Anderson and Christian Bale create a work of high caliber. Not something that can be enjoyed the way a Hollywood Blockbuster can be enjoyed, it is exhausting, yet pleasing in its own way.
Trever Reznick is an industrial machine operator who hasn't slept in a year and feels as if he is going crazy. A horrible accident in the workplace causes him to fall further down the spiral. Is there a conspiracy against him or is he going insane? The lead character is played with discomforting perfection by a repulsively thin and unrecognizable Christian Bale. This is a very moody and atmospheric film that is reminiscent of Lynch though, by the end, it is a much more spelled-out than Lynch would do for the viewer . Still, it is a very gripping and disturbing movie. "The <more>
Machinist" is one of the better horror films released this year. My Rating: 8.5/10
An urban nightmare with an incredible performance by Christian Bale (by Camera-Obscura)
THE MACHINIST Brad Anderson - Spain 2004 .Christian Bale is Trevor Reznik, a machinist in an anonymous factory somewhere in America. He is obviously scarred by some past incident but what is it? He finds mysterious notes on his refrigerator, saying 'who are you?' He sees colleagues that don't exist. He seems to have lost it completely.A Spanish production, but with Brad Anderson at the helm as director and an almost exclusively American cast, this is basically an American film. I must admit, I kept shelving this one, due to reasons I cannot really recall now I've finally <more>
watched it, but it probably had something to do with Christian Bale's insane weight loss and all the surrounding publicity. I assumed the film was all about Bale's loss of weight and not much more. A method boy in a film solely hyped for an actor's dedication to play the part, but the film blew me away, as simple as that. Christian Bale gives a solo turn here almost unseen before. No matter how many pounds he lost, it's a remarkable performance. Director Brad Anderson succeeds brilliantly in conceiving an atmosphere that is so compelling, as one other user on the IMDb stated, 'You just HAVE to know what the hell is going on here.' I think that's the key factor in what makes this film so incredibly compelling. The whole setting is an anonymous industrial town somewhere in the US, that could be Pennsylvania, Michigan or upstate New York actually, it was shot near Barcelona , but it doesn't really matter where the story is located. It's the atmosphere of estrangement that does it. And Christian Bale gives such an intense performance you really want to know his cause and background. Where on earth does he come from? We know he works in a greasy factory, but why is he skin-over-bone? Why hasn't he slept in over a year? Brad Anderson creates an atmosphere so broody and sleazy, it's like a netherworld, an urban nightmare. In a certain way it reminded me of the strange urban landscape in "Eraserhead" by David Lynch.Camera Obscura --- 9/10
Well, in his impressive and and literally exhausting film "The Mashinist", Brad Anderson certainly showed us what we DON'T ever want to become: insomniacs! Pitiful Trevor Reznik hasn't slept in a whole year, he's not much more than skin and bones and he has to write down memo notes on yellow post-its and stick them on the fridge, in order to remember them the next day. Trevor's condition goes from bad to even worse when he starts to spot imaginary colleagues and becomes a real danger for his fellow workers at the industrial factory. Gradually, Trevor's growing <more>
insanity leads to little clues and flashback-sequences that hint at a traumatizing event in the past and involving all the people in his surrounding. Wow, I can honestly say I was impressed by this movie! Unlike most horror fans, I didn't really care about Anderson's previous film "Session 9", despite it being dark and quite clever, but "The Machinist" is so much more involving and bitter. First and foremost, there's the masterful performance by Christian Bale and the jaw-dropping metamorphosis he went through, prior to filming. The amount of weight he lost, the impact on his own personal health... What Bale achieved here is a lot more than just preparing for a role, but it worked, since you stare at him with amazement every time he looks at his own exhausted body in the mirror. The story is really good as well, albeit nothing original and rather predictable at some points. Anderson patiently and professionally builds up a tense atmosphere and he devoted much time to selecting the absolute darkest and most depressing set pieces. The factory where Trevor works, for example, is a truly uncanny place filled with unfriendly people and dangerous machinery. Bale might be drawing most of the attention to him, but there still are some supportive roles that are definitely worth mentioning, like Jennifer Jason Leigh as the warm-hearted prostitute who comforts Trevor and Michael Ironside as his co-worker. The cinematography and narrative style of "The Machinist" are very sober, which of course suits the tone of the film best, but inevitably this also resulted in a totally unglamorous cinema release and an almost unnoticed DVD edition. That really is a shame and very unjust. This film may not be everybody's taste, but it's powerful horror/thriller film-making that can't be overlooked. Highly recommended!
A strong mood piece, but not for everyone (by Surecure)
There are many good things about The Machinist that are well deserving of praise. The very atmospheric nature of the film is supported very strongly by excellent performances all around. Christian Bale takes things to the extreme in his embodiment of his character. It is hard to take seeing him in his near-starvation body mass, which elevates the tension of this piece even further. The storyline leaves a little to be desired. While it creates its mood excellently, it does tend to plod along a little too much.One thing that does stand out is how reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock this film plays. <more>
Almost everything about the film screams Hitchcock, from the editing of certain scenes the driving sequences are very much in the style of Psycho to the Bernard Herrmann-esquire score lots of bass clarinet , the lack of fully-exploring/revealing some of the creepier points of the film what is dripping from the fridge? , and the washed out, grainy photography. If you want to see what a film would look like if Hitchcock were alive to film it today, this is the closest thing you could probably come across. And if that was part of Brad Anderson's intention in directing this, I have to commend him on the execution because it is uncanny.Overall, I would recommend this film, but not to casual movie-goers. This is very much a movie-phile experience for those who appreciate character development and cinematography as much as plot points and a storyline that can be defined and followed from one action to the next. In that way it is closer to films like Magnolia or the Others, where the apex is the characters. If you are looking for a typical popcorn Hollywood thriller, this is not what you are looking for.
It's a common rule that people subconsciously decide within the first ten minutes whether they like a movie or not. It didn't even take me that long to know that I would be intrigued by "The Machinist".The set up is perfect. It's adorable how the movie constantly establishes new plot points without ever getting tedious. As the story goes on it gets hard to believe that the ending will be able to explain everything and you start pondering that there can only be one possible conclusion for all the weird events. It may be disappointing at first to learn that your <more>
predictions are probably dead-on and you might go: "Not that old twist again." The beautiful thing, however, is that there's an explanation to the twist that really adds a lot to the concept. Much later, when you've already left the theater and you rethink the whole thing, you'll find that the script is much cleverer than you had thought at first. To me the biggest achievement of the movie in retrospective is, that it's never creepy just for the sake of freaking the audience out and hell, the carnival-sequence is so friggin creepy and well made, it's delightful . Every scene has its purpose and that is not often the case in horror and mystery movies.Although the whole cast did a fine job, Christian Bale's terrific performance must be mentioned. Usually I'm annoyed by stories about actors losing or gaining weight in preparation for a role, because mostly it's uncalled for anyway and not even worth a mention. What Bale did to prepare for "The Machinist", however, is nothing short of heroic. He lost 60 pounds and looks so unhealthy throughout the whole movie that it's hard to believe he turned into himself again after the director yelled "cut!".I can recommend "The Machinist" to anybody who's looking for a movie that keeps you intrigued longer than just during its running time. If after 10 minutes you like the movie, after days you'll find yourself still obsessed with it. I love it, when a movie does that to me!
I really enjoyed this film. It reminded me of 21 Grams, Jacob's Ladder and Memento. Perhaps the finale left a few questions unanswered or felt a little anti-climactic but an amazing performance by Christian Bale. Haunted, brave, vulnerable, murderous but also very moving. A film which stays with you.Now, here's an eggheaded thing, but did anyone notice the constant stream of Dostoyevsky references in the movie? Not only did Resnick remind anyone of Raskolnikov? put down a copy of Dostoyevsky's The Idiot at one point but the whole movie owed a lot to Notes From The Underground, <more>
Crime And Punishment and The Double. Did anyone spot the sign in the Ghost Train sequence which read Crime And Punishment? Or that Sharian's character is called Ivan cf The Brothers Karamazov - especially the chapter Ivan's Dream ? Jennifer Jason Leigh's character is very familiar from Dostoyevsky, as was the saintly Maria.Its a cracking film and none of these references are indispensable to enjoying it but I thought I would point it out.