Brooding psychological thriller, starring Christian Bale. Trevor Reznik (Bale) is a factory machine-operator who is suffering from crippling insomnia. His weight has plummeted, he suffers from hallucinations, and he finds himself unable to concentrate at work, leading to a horrific accident involving one of his co-workers. Ostracised from the other men at the factory, Reznik starts finding threatening notes and begins to fear that someone is trying to kill him. Is his paranoia part of his psychological breakdown, or is it possibly justified?
As a bleak and chilling mood piece, The Machinist
gets under your skin and stays there. Christian Bale threw himself into the title role with such devotion that he shed an alarming 63 pounds to play Trevor Reznik (talk about "starving artist"!), a factory worker who hasn't slept in a year. He's haunted by some mysterious occurrence that turned him into a paranoid husk, sleepwalking a fine line between harsh reality and nightmare fantasy--a state of mind that leaves him looking disturbingly gaunt and skeletal in appearance. (It's no exaggeration to say that Bale resembles a Holocaust survivor from vintage Nazi-camp liberation newsreels.) In a cinematic territory far removed from his 1998 romantic comedy Next Stop Wonderland
, director Brad Anderson orchestrates a grimy, nocturnal world of washed-out blues and grays, as Trevor struggles to assemble the clues of his psychological conundrum. With a friendly hooker (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and airport waitress (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón) as his only stable links to sanity, Trevor reaches critical mass and seems ready to implode just as The Machinist
reveals its secrets. For those who don't mind a trip to hell with a theremin-laced soundtrack, The Machinist
seems primed for long-term status as a cult thriller on the edge. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com