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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing walk on the dark side of paranoia
If you like your movies dark, depressing, eerie, mysterious, and borderline insane, The Machinist should definitely be on your "to see" list. In these days of sequel- and remake-itis, it's always a treat to find a movie that dares to be original and to walk a dark line all its own. Director Brad Anderson and Christian Bale definitely get an A+ for effort here, but I...
Published on 5 Aug. 2005 by Daniel Jolley

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 reasons to watch this movie
The cinematography. Colours are washed out of each frame more effectively than a biological detergent (or the bleach that Reznick compulsively washes his hands with). The effect provides a potent symbol of the netherworld between sleep and consciousness that Bale's character now resides.

The soundtrack. An homage to Bernard Hermann that echoes the roiling...
Published on 30 Aug. 2006 by customer


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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing walk on the dark side of paranoia, 5 Aug. 2005
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Machinist [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
If you like your movies dark, depressing, eerie, mysterious, and borderline insane, The Machinist should definitely be on your "to see" list. In these days of sequel- and remake-itis, it's always a treat to find a movie that dares to be original and to walk a dark line all its own. Director Brad Anderson and Christian Bale definitely get an A+ for effort here, but I don't think the ending is quite as effective as it could have been. It's easy to cross the line when you're dancing in a dark and narrow place, and the movie went just a little too far into "the whole world's crazy and everyone's out to get me" (which, on a completely unrelated point, is my personal motto) territory before bringing everything into focus. (That doesn't stop me from giving the film five stars, however - The Machinist is worlds better than most of the junk coming out of Hollywood these days.) Speaking of effort, I don't know what to say about Christian Bale - no Fat Albert to begin with - dropping 63 pounds in order to play the character of Trevor Reznik in this film. He is painfully thin here; a few less pounds, and you could zoom him right through your copy machine and have all the Christian Bales you could want. Why is his character so thin? Well, he hasn't slept in a year, and that kind of wears on a fellow after a while.
Trent is - you guessed it - a machinist. It doesn't look like a great job, but he obviously makes a killing, as he leaves $20 tips every night at the diner and enjoys many an evening with a call girl who sort of becomes his girlfriend. Jennifer Jason Leigh is about the only pretty thing you'll see in the 102 minutes of the film. We first meet Trevor when he's approaching his breaking point. The job of machinist can be quite hazardous, especially if you work with Trevor. When a guy punches in with two arms and punches out with only one, the co-workers get a little restless. Technically, it's Trevor's fault, but he was distracted by this seriously weird co-worker he had just recently met - a guy who, according to everyone else in the shop, doesn't even exist. As you might expect, Trevor becomes rather obsessed about finding out who the guy is and what he wants. As he goes increasingly cuckoo for cocoa puffs, his only links with sanity are Stevie (Jennifer Jason Leigh) the call girl and Marie (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon), his regular waitress at the airport café.
The best way I can describe The Machinist is to suggest that it must be a lot like one of Tim Burton's dreams. There's an oppressive pallor over the whole thing that seems to drain every single image of any color or vitality, and Trevor moves around rather wraith-like in his emaciated form. The mystery of it all starts out with great strength, but I think the director just overplayed his hand a tiny bit - and, by doing so, made the ultimate ending somewhat (but not completely) predictable. It's still a five-star effort all the way. If you just want to forget the world and be entertained for an hour and a half, seek your pleasure elsewhere. When you're ready to indulge the dark side of your personality and engage your mind at the same time, though, you could do much worse than settling yourself into a cocoon and entering the surreal world of The Machinist. This film is, in a word, different.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crime and Punishment, 28 Sept. 2005
By 
L. Davidson (Belfast, N.Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Machinist [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
"The Machinist" is one of the best films I have seen this year; it has great acting, a mysterious and thought-provoking plot and is visually stylish. The viewer is never quite sure if the insomniac machinist Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) is paranoid, hallucinating or being subjected to a form of supernatural mental torture as a series of disturbing events unhinge him. As the film progresses, the distinction between reality and imaginary blurs as Bale's mind becomes a hell to him. "The Machinist"is gripping and intriguing throughout and its ending will make you revisit the whole film again in your mind , a bit like "The Usual Suspects".Christian Bale's performance is remarkable as a tortured soul trying to identify the source of his torment in a loveless, isolated world where sleep and peace of mind remain constantly elusive.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "What's going on in that crazy head of yours?", 15 May 2009
By 
@GeekZilla9000 "I am completely operational a... (Doncaster, Yorkshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Machinist [2004] [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Trevor Reznik looks like a ghost of a man, only half existing, his body is on the brink and his mind is breaking down...

...Having not slept properly for a year and seemingly having hallucinations, the grim style of directing frames a fractured story which reflects the state of mind of the antagonist. As a viewer I shared Reznik's disorientation over what he was experiencing; never quite understanding what was real and what was the creation of a damaged mind in his perceived reality. There is always a feeling that there's some unifying link between everything he is seeing, a trigger which has caused it all, and that once this is identified - order can be restored. Will Trevor Reznik recognise the significance of his mind's tricks to resolve his disorder so he can finally sleep at night?

Christian Bale shows his dedication to his art by giving a truly believable performance as the emaciated factory worker. The sense of paranoia and vulnerability comes through strong without ever being over-acted. His alienation is perfectly depicted as he becomes an outsider to the people he has worked with for so long, and Bale often says everything that needs to be said just by his facial expressions.

In a nutshell: A troubled mind is losing grip on reality, a year of sleepless nights and constant paranoia has caused a man to forget what caused the mental trauma. There are echoes of Hitchcock and dark psychological thriller Pi in this gripping film which keeps you thinking that you've solved the underlying mystery - but it's only watching everything come together in the final moments which satisfies your suspicions as the symbolism of the previous hour and a half becomes apparent.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Original psychological thriller, 6 Jun. 2006
This review is from: The Machinist [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
This is a fairly dark, surreal, psychological thriller about an industrial machine operator living a life of solitude in his own dreamy hell.

The central character acts brilliantly through the torment and confusion. Searching out the truth following some strange events and encounters, he finds some buried information painful to discover.

Without revealing too much about the plot, it's a good story. Not so odd it's never been done before, but with some originality. The confusion is built up well, and the truth is revealed for those of us who don't latch on. When that happens, everything gets tied up neatly and you re-evaluate everything you saw, 'sixth-sense' style.

Good entertainment, and something for your mind to do. Reccomended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great performance, a great film, but somehow missing something, 8 Aug. 2011
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
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An amazing performance by Christian Bale, a very good one by Jennifer Jason Leigh,
and a cool, desaturated look.

A man who has hardly slept for a year slips further and further into his own
paranoia, as he, and we, question his sanity.

It works really well as a psychological thriller, setting up a creepy, unique, dreamlike
mood for most of it's length. But the ending is so neatly ties up the loose ends in such an
obvious, 'you can see it coming' way that it takes away from all that precedes it. I was sad to
realize that ultimately, it was less smart, and about less thematically, then I kept assuming.

BTW - I've heard reports of technical/quality problems with the Blu-Ray, but
the copy I saw looked pretty perfect.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ominous and Intriguing, 12 July 2007
By 
Eddie (Derbyshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Machinist [2004] [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
You may well have at least an inkling about where this film is going fairly early on, but don't expend too much energy trying to figure it out as you would be far better advised to let the film simply engage you and carry you with it. Even if I were to give away the ending, it probably wouldn't impair your enjoyment that much. But I wont.

But this is not a negative observation: The Machinist doesn't really ask you to follow a story, instead it involves you in the head-state of Resnik who, thanks to Christian Bale's extreme diet, looks very ill indeed. This is largely due to the fact that Resnik hasn't slept for a year, although I do wonder if this is biologically possible. Needless to say, he's not getting a clear perspective on things and his life seems to be in meltdown.

The depiction of mental states has seen few worthy appearances in film. Perhaps one mistake has been to attempt to realise it though use of effects: distortions, extreme camera techniques and so forth. While these may conjour up a sense of disorientation, fear and alienation, they generally fail to offer any real empathy with the character in question. The Machinist avoids these devices. Through the use of desaturated colours which range from sombre to downright sinister, along with a series of coincidences, repetitions and motifs which are often quite casual but ominous in their appearance, the film subtly allows us to sense the state of Resniks mind. The joins between what may and what may not be fantasy are seemless and this stirs up a greater sense of alienation and unease.

Many films of this type are let down by a poor resolution but the Machinist wraps things up neatly and doesn't leave you with the feeling that you've been undersold. It is Bales' film and his performance completes the experience of Resnik's disintigrating world, a process in which he is both helped and hindered by the other characters in his life, all of who are quite believable thanks to a solid supporting cast.

The film is certainly a very visual one and style does win out over content if you're looking for a psychological thriller. Psychological, yes. Thriller, no. The Machinist seems to want to be an art-house film but it holds back, falling somewhere between that category and the mainstream. This is a pity because it is an honest, well rounded and skillful piece of work which is worth a second viewing and while it's not actually that easy to find anything wrong with it I do feel that it could have been more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To sleep, perchance to dream, 3 Aug. 2008
This review is from: The Machinist [2004] [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
The Machinist is a haunting study of a man's slide into delusional paranoia and obsession. Christian Bale's performance as Trevor Reznik, the eponymous machinist, is as compelling as any performance I have seen. His dedication to the role included losing so much weight that I can only hope he did so under medical supervision and that it hasn't left any long-term damage. The image of his emaciated form will stay with the viewer for some time. I can't help but wonder if he might have garnered an Oscar nomination if this movie had been a more mainstream one.

Although steeped in grimness and horror there are a few darkly comic moments here. The fact that the story revolves around a blue collar worker is a refreshing change from the more typical anti-hero. And the resolution is a satisfying and moving one which does not telegraph itself to you too far in advance.

All in all, although there are echoes of other films here, the Machinist is an impressive and original piece of independent cinema.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very watchable clever piece of work., 8 Jan. 2006
By 
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This review is from: The Machinist [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
This is the sort of film where you need to stay awake. Certain landmarks and remarks have specific meaning to the storyline which can easily be missed if the audience does not pay full attention. The directing was superb, demonstrating the dangerous effect caused on the mind of long-term insomniacs. Christian Bale who plays Trevor Reznik gave an outstanding performance. His skeleton appearance and tortured demeanour truly convinced the viewer of the agonised guilt he experienced which resulted in him not having slept for a year. The film kept you guessing throughout, was this reality or hallicinations. Maybe Trevor without realising it was lapsing into short bursts of REM(Dreamstate)sleep as chronic insomniacs sometimes do. My only criticism was the dark and gloomy film effects causing the film to almost verge on a black and white movie, but I think the director probably felt this appropriate to capture Trevor's misery.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Actor Becomes One With The Part., 23 April 2006
By 
nmollo (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Machinist [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
"The Machinist" is a bleached, taught and engaging Motion Picture. The standout feature of this pessimistic film is the remarkable central performance by Christian Bale. On its impressive strengths alone the film should be seen.

Christian Bale is a very talented actor, it did not come easy, but he has finally made it. His performance in "American Psycho" was excellent and marked the moment of his arrival as an actor. That does not mean that all his subsequent work and choices have been good, I have seen him act very poorly. This may not be his fault, as usually the blame for poor performance should rest with director. This performance is marked by that of an artist becoming one with the art. Is he acting or being? It is truly impressive how far actors will go for the sake of their art (See my review of Visitor Q).

In this case the director Brad Anderson seems assured and confident. The result is a controlled and claustrophobic Motion Picture, that seems almost to have been shot in black and white.

I really enjoyed this film more for the lead performance than anything else.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "And I Fell Into A Dream"..., 15 May 2010
By 
Ian Millard - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Machinist [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
This is a pretty gripping film and one which I can certainly recommend even to those who, like me, have a preference for linear narrative and clear storylines.

The film follows the day to day life of a machinist in a workshop, who has not slept for a year. Without wishing to spoil the film for anyone, I can say that the film explores the nature of reality in the human mind under stress and guilt.

The film is made in colour, but, by an interesting film-making technique, the colour seems to strengthen and weaken depending on the main character's grip on reality. Quite fascinating.

Set in one of the warmer parts of the USA (never specified in the film itself), it nonetheless reminded me somewhat of the some of the work of the Russian film-maker, Tarkovsky.

Recommended.
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The Machinist [2004] [DVD] [2005]
The Machinist [2004] [DVD] [2005] by Brad Anderson (DVD - 2006)
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