The Machinist (2004)

machinist_2004_poster
The Machinist (2004)
  • Time: 101 min
  • Genre: Drama | Thriller
  • Director: Brad Anderson
  • Cast: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, John Sharian

Storyline:

Trevor Reznik is a lathe-operator who suffers from insomnia and hasn’t slept in a year. Slowly, he begins to doubt his sanity as increasingly bizarre things start happening at work and at home. Haunted by a deformed co-worker who no one seems to think exists, and an ongoing stream of indecipherable Post-It notes he keeps finding on his fridge, he attempts to investigate what appears to be a mysterious plot against him and, in the process, embroils two women in his madness.

One review

  • “The Machinist” is an interesting if not completely successful thriller that feels like a cross between David Fincher and Franz Kafka. Fortunately, its a lot more subtle than any of Fincher’s works and definitely not nearly as flashy. Its a very dark and low-key character study thats certainly won’t be accessible to many mainstream audiences and may come across as being rather pointless to others. Still, those who appreciate dark industrial films or the works of the aforementioned Kafka will find plenty to appreciate here. The whole film is a psychological head trip, and while it doesn’t reach the cerebral heights the finest entries in the genre do (such as “Jacob’s Ladder”), its highly recommended to film goers whose tastes run in that direction.

    Like I said above, its far from a flawless film. Namely, a lot of the dialog is extremely awkward. Its pretentious prose that may have looked good on paper, but feels very unnatural when delivered by the cast. Also, during the first hour, the pace falters a bit and the twist ending can be seen about twenty minutes before. You could also argue the whole affair doesn’t add up to too much and is rather pointless.

    Still, the acting and the direction are phenomenal. Brad Anderson (who also made the similarly intriguing “Session 9”) knows how to frame an unnerving shot and really captures a foreboding industrial atmosphere that brings to mind a color version of “Eraserhead” at times. The performances from the whole cast are also very accomplished. Christian Bale plays a protagonist who remains sympathetic even when hes obviously in the process of losing his mind. He proves once again to be one of the finest actors working today. Aitana Sánchez-Gijón is very likable as the waitress Bale courts for a while. Jennifer Jason Leigh isn’t as impressive as her two co-stars, but is serviceable as Bale’s prostitute girlfriend. I must admit I was slightly disappointed by this film, but still, those with a taste for something original and rather disturbing should seek it out.

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