I was a big fan of the occasionally pedestrian yet always enjoyable Session 9, so I was bound to see The Machinist even before I heard about Christian Bale’s insane weight loss. His emaciated appearance certainly was enough to make me feel distinctly queasy, especially during the opening scenes before we got used to his skeletal form.
The audience didn’t really dig this film*, at time laughing in moments I’m certain the filmmakers didn’t intend. I’m wondering if they only turned up to see ‘Batman’. The central mystery was perfectly entrancing, as Trevor Reznik’s world starts to tumble into chaos. Sure, a couple of the ‘twists’ were predictable (and this was the case with Session 9 also), but the resolution is perfectly satisfying and at the same time incredibly simple. I’m sure repeat viewings would reveal a smattering of clues leading to the conclusion, although I’m not sure if this would be entertaining or simply annoying.
The Machinist features fantastic cinematography – a bleak and washed out world of grey extremes. The slightly surreal imagery is perfectly complemented by Roque Baños’ eerie score. His work imbues a distinctly Hitchcockian feel, often mimicking Hermman’s Vertigo. At times arguably intrusive, the music inspires tension and an overwhelming sense of foreboding… and did I hear a theremin? Very cool…
Christian Bale is fantastic, and I hope he continues his tradition of mixing the more alternative films (like American Psycho) with the mainstream stuff (Batman Begins and Reign Of Fire). The supporting cast is perfect also, particularly Trevor Reznik’s coworkers. Jennifer Jason Leigh does a great job in a supporting role that could have easily been overlooked.
Brad Anderson did a great job bringing this film to life, and I look forward to future films. (Currently it looks like he’s set to remake Romero’s The Crazies).Rating: