Release Date: October 22nd, 2004
Stars: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, John Sharian, Michael Ironside
Director: Brad Anderson
Opening Weekend: $64,661 (#45)
Total Gross: $1.1 million
Story: Trevor Reznik’s (Bale) life is falling apart. A severe case of insomnia has plagued him for over a year, his weight is dangerously low, and his inner psyche is instable to say the least. Reznik relies on two women, the caring prostitute Stevie (Leigh) and the friendly waitress Marie (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon), to keep him in reality. In his own distraction, Trevor causes an accident at the factory where he works, costing a fellow employee his arm and garnering the distrust of his co-workers. Paranoia leads to madness, as Trevor begins to see things others don’t. Things keep spiraling further and farther out of control as Trevor tries to piece together the reason for his visions.
Criticism: Christian Bale’s dedication to the acting profession cannot be denied. His willingness to put his body through such rigorous transformations is as method as it gets, whether it’s to bulk up for the role of Bruce Wayne or to trim down for a character like Trevor Reznik. For The Machinist, Bale lost 60 lbs. and looks frightening, but his performance is phenomenally devastating, cementing his role as one of the finest actors of our generation. Reznik is a fascinating character to follow, consistently on the brink of self-destruction. The audience tries to figure out what exactly happened to this man and what is currently happening, and Scott Kosar’s script slowly but surely lays out the pieces, making the final payoff all the more satisfying. It’s not always clear, but Kosar’s work here is as consise as it’s ever been (he also has written the remakes to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Crazies). Directed by Brad Anderson, who most recently made the Halle Berry thriller The Call, it would be confused to say I enjoyed The Machinist per se. The film’s muted colors and bleak imagery command your attention with the distinct lack of joy and vibrancy. But the aesthetic works well with the character at the center, and The Machinist is a film I extremely admire for what that’s worth.