The Machinist

The first thing I thought when I saw the preview for this film was, "oh my God; is that Christian Bale?" Apparently the soon to be Batman really lost the 63 pounds of weight in this recent film to make hiom look like a man who hasn't slept in a year or eaten more than a morsel a day for that same time period. He is abolutely sickly looking. Physically, he doesn't look much different than the concentration camp survivors I've seen in old archival footage. It is absolutely gross, and I don't think any of it was digitized. It was real. Without this aspect, the film would've been far less engrossing and Bale obviously really cares about his role.

      Bale plays a factory worker (a machinist) who slips further and further into some sort of paranoid delusional state as each day goes by. Strange post-it notes on his fridge and people that no one else seems to accept as real are just a portion of his madness...or is it madness at all? The movie runs along fairly slowly with no great scenes in particular; just the overall sense that something isn't right and all is about to go horribly wrong. With a washed out tone and cold hard scenery, every scene is an expose in style. It doesn't bring the film into greatness, but it does create a general sense of menace and intrigue.

      The story is basically a psychological mind mess with the viewer never knowing quite what to expect or what is happening. It's obvious that something is amiss, but we're never really quite sure what. Is it a split personality thing? Is he simply crazy? It is just effects of insomnia? Even for those who are able to piece together exactly what is happening before the movie explicitly reveals everything, The Machinist is still capable of capturing the attention. The film is dark, but rewarding, and it never cheats the viewer. There are no sudden twists designed to blindside an audience. The reveals occur gradually, with Anderson allowing us the pleasure of putting the pieces together.

Jennifer Jason Leigh co-stars as the only
person/hooker he can trust.
      This is not a horror movie, but it is horrifying in many aspects. The Machinist requires a certain kind of viewer - one who is comfortable with grimness and a certain amount of gore. Members of that group will appreciate what this picture has to offer. It is slightly slow, but if you're in the right mood for the dark style, it can be close to riveting. Bale is stunning and I can't wait to see the new Batman.