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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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What good is a home if you can't relax in it?, 17 Jan. 2007
By 
Deanne Dixon "deanne9499" (Sunny South Shields) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Machinist [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
To be honest with you, I am slightly disappointed with myself that it has taken me so long to get round to buying this DVD, given that I saw (and adored) the film on the day it was released in the cinema. I am, however, glad that I watched this again AFTER watching American Psycho - otherwise I would have totally condemned Bale as an actor. Recognisable only by his voice, Bale is totally convincing as the insomniac machinist in this film. Full marks (and five stars) must be awarded to this film on the strength of his performance alone.

I won't go into the synopsis of this film, as the thirty-three people who have reviewed this before me have done that job more than admirably. I will, however, comment on a couple of the positives that make this film a must-see. Having seen this film before, I wasn't really watching it for the (albeit outstanding) storyline, moreover I was watching it for the same reason that we all watch "Sixth Sense" again* - to pick up on the subtle clues that I missed the first time round. Although technically not clues, I must comment upon two of the outstanding features of the film: the cinematography and the ghost-train scene. The film is largely shot in a blue-grey (film noir?) setting - a stroke of genius which accurately reflects the whole mood of the story-line. The "washed out" colours not only serve to disguise the fact that the film was shot in Barcelona, but also represent how "washed out" Bale's character must feel having not slept for a year. Secondly, the ghost train is one of those scenes that you see in film that will haunt you long after you have watched it - not because it is scary as such, but because it is so close to reality (think of the reason "why" the scene where the girl cimbs out of the TV in "The Ring" is so frightening - because we can identify the TV as a household appliance that we use everyday). I have been on some good ("Terror Tomb" at Chessington World of Adventures) and some very bad (Brighton beach) ghost-trains - but never any that are good because they are so bad. Although the character's that he sees on the way around the track on the ghost-train are cheap-looking, the fact that they resonate so much with Bale's state of mind makes them so effective.

The product placement in this film was also very effective and is generally only noticeable on the second time of watching - keep your eyes open for Dostoyevsky's "The Idiot" lying on the coffee table - not there (as a previous reviewer has said) to make the character look pseudo-intellectual, but no doubt placed there because he feels that he is becoming "The Idiot" as his sanity slips away. I also noticed at the climax of the film that Bale is wearing a t-shirt with the logo "Justice Brothers" on it - a nice touch considering how the film ends.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bale, as ever is totally convincing, 28 Jun. 2005
A little guilt goes a long way...
Having not slept for a year, lathe operator Trevor Reznick (Christian Bale) is dying of insomnia. Why he can't sleep, he can't remember. His every waking minute has become an unrelenting nightmare of confusion, paranoia, guilt, anxiety and terror; each of which is part of an escalating series of
clues that will lead him to the source of his mysterious affliction...
Method actor Christian Bale, who favours total immersion in the roles he plays, lost an astonishing 63 pounds from his already lean frame in order to convey the shockingly gaunt physique of the main character. Exhausting in his preparation, close to the point of permanent physical damage, Bale is the centrepoint of this extraordinary film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent mystery to resolve, 31 July 2011
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Machinist [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
There is a touch of film noir to THE MACHINIST, and a lot of Alfred Hitchcock, but mostly it is a very good mystery story that attempts to throw you off the scent by a series of shocks. The "hero", brilliantly played by Christian Bale, is obviously not a well-man, but why? How much of what we see is happening, and if it is happening is what we are seeing the actual event? Those of you driven mad by CACHÉ with its missing clues and multi-answer ending will find THE MACHINIST much better value. It shows you everything but in Eric Morecombe style not necessarily in the right order. This is a thoroughly good film if you like working out puzzles; the music is especially effective, and the acting universally excellent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual psychological thriller that's worth a look, 28 Jun. 2014
By 
Mr Baz - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Machinist [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
I watched this purely by accident having skipped over watching it many times (after all how exciting does a film about a machinist sound?) However this is well worth a watch, and Bale's performance is excellent and notable...some would say it's one of his most challenging acting roles.

Christian Bale plays Trevor Reznik, a gaunt and starved looking man who has insomnia, and is mentally fragile and considered odd by his factory co workers. He lives a non life of simply going to work as a machinist at a factory and staying awake at night with little to no contact with other people. Trevor is isolated and alone deep inside himself. Later as the plot unravels we find out the reasons why Trevor looks so ill, and why he can't sleep. I don't want to spoil the story for new viewers, some might see it coming and some won't but it's well executed and holds your attention throughout.

This is a dark and moody film (notable mention to some of the lighting which is just perfect for this production, lots of effort here) with good direction from Brad Anderson, as well as some strong supporting performances from Michael Ironside (who plays a co worker) and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Both are convincing, but it's the dedication of Bale to his part that impresses most. Bale's physical appearance is disturbing he looks withered and emaciated, a commitment to a role that deserves praise (you later see flashbacks during the film where Bale looks healthy), it's a stark difference and quite shocking in many ways. Bale also does a fine job of portraying a man who's life merely exists and has no meaning any longer, it's a difficult part to play with conviction and pull it off but here he drags you into the dense desolate mind of Trevor.

One of those films to put on late at night, it does hook you into a deep and dark world in the intense atmosphere credit to the production team overall good script and screenplay/camera work; this might not be for everyone (personal taste it's not a film to put on if you're in a great happy mood), but it is certainly worth a watch for fans of the psychological thriller genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I haven't slept in a year..., 24 Feb. 2014
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Machinist [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Christian Bale is one of those rare actors whose devotion to his craft goes way beyond the usual "I gained/lost ten pounds, so give me an Oscar!" stuff.

No, this guy whittled himself down to the bone for "The Machinist," a movie where nothing can be trusted and nobody is what they seem. This is one of the movies that convincingly depicts what it's like to lose your mind, little by little, and director Brad Anderson fills the entire movie with a bleak, industrial feeling that makes you feel like you're locked in a dystopian nightmare.

Trevor Reznik (Bale) works in a factory in Los Angeles. He hasn't slept in a whole year, and barely eats anything. He's only able to keep his life organized with post-it notes. Clocks are stuck. His sole comfort comes from the nurturing prostitute Stevie (Jennifer Jason Leigh), and his nightly visits to a restaurant to speak with the beautiful waitress Marie (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón).

But strange things are happening in his life. Someone leaves a hangman game on his fridge. A coworker (Michael Ironside) loses his arm in an accident. And a mysterious new worker named Ivan (John Sharian) seems to be following Trevor everywhere -- but everyone else claims that Ivan doesn't exist. Trevor becomes convinced that a conspiracy is being built up around him, but the only way he can get to the truth is if he remembers the past...

Christian Bale is the key to "The Machinist" working as a movie. He gives a brilliant performance as a man whose life and sanity have been slowly chiseled away over a year, yet he doesn't seem to realize that anything is wrong with HIM. It's painful to see an essentially nice, ordinary guy degenerate into a wild, forgetful maniac convinced that everybody is working against him.

He also lost sixty pounds to do this movie, and his emaciated body and sunken eyes are just PAINFUL to watch. But you have to admire the dedication of a man who does this sort of thing for his art -- especially if he's playing Batman next.

But Brad Anderson's direction is important in making that performance shine. Everything is bleak and industrial, with lots of steel, concrete and glaring fluorescent lights. Everything is filmed in a sickly grey-green color that leaves everybody looking washed out and dirty, and everything we see and hear seems slightly "off."

In fact, everything has a feeling of profound WRONGNESS. Everything feels surreal and off, and the world sometimes seems to warp as Trevor drifts through it. Trevor's increasingly erratic behavior begins to reveal that the madness all centers on him, and it's only at the end that things finally snap into clarity.

And yes, it's crammed with symbolism, but it's not immediately clear what some of it means. The most shocking example is when Trevor rides into the "highway to hell" funhouse, and is confronted by demons, corpses, fire and severed limbs.

"The Machinist" is not an easily movie to watch, but it is a brilliant one -- a bleak, bizarro film revolving around one man's guilt and madness. And Christian Bale proved through it that he is one of our greatest living actors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "A little guilt goes a long way", 27 July 2008
By 
Nicholas Casley (Plymouth, Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Machinist [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
"A little guilt goes a long way." So says Trevor Reznik to the waitress in the airport café at midnight.

Christian Bale, who lost 63Ibs to play the part, is Trevor Reznik, the machinist in the title. He's the worker who cannot sleep, whose life is a daze, the man slowly tortured by his own living dream. Why is he so emaciated? Why cannot he sleep? Why is he plagued by sinister tricks of the mind? So many questions; what are the answers? I'm not going to spoil it by giving them here, but suffice to say that his colleague Ivan is not all that he seems. (Bale appears in every scene and his commitment to the film is clear. How he failed to be nominated for his role is beyond me.)

The movie opens at its ending (so keep your eyes well-peeled). A languid pace is prevalent from the start. In his commentary, director Brad Anderson admits to Hitchcock being a direct influence in the making of this clever film - "the last Hitchcock movie never made". The colours are often dark, almost black/white in places with many of the colours leached out; much of it was shot at night. Sinister and curious tropes appear, such as the game of hangman, photographs from a past that was not lived, memory problems, paranoia, nosy old landladies, and cars coloured red. Just what is real and what is not? (The very useful director's commentary will point out clues that you may have missed.)

The Hitchcockian feel extends to the score, written by a Spanish composer but in the style of Bernard Herrmann. There are repetitive harp figurations and deep long breathing in the strings; even the sound of the theremin is resurrected. Anderson says that the film is "a parable about guilt". It's not a horror movie; rather it is a dark drama a la Kafka. Indeed, the screenwriter was inspired by Kafka and Dostoyevsky, and there are references to the latter in the film: Reznik is reading "Crime and Punishment" (nudge, nudge: clue!).

Because Brad Anderson had difficulties raising money in the States for his movie, it was shot in Barcelona and Andorra. But you'd never guess! This was such a surprise to me when it was explained by the director in his commentary. This explains the presence of the Spanish composer, the Spanish DoP, the French production designer, and so on. The team has performed marvels in translating the production into a convincing American milieu from a European base.

As well as the director's commentary, the extras also include a 25-minute interview with Brad Anderson, a 25-minute "making of" (with interviews with the actors and some of the production team), and some deleted scenes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Need to Sleep ....I WANT TO SLEEP ....I CAN NOT SLEEEEEEEEEP...!!!, 27 April 2012
This review is from: The Machinist [2004] [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
(THE FILM)A little guilt goes a long way...Having not slept for a year, lathe operator Trevor Reznick (Christian Bale) is dying of insomnia. Why he can't sleep, he can't remember. His every waking minute has become an unrelenting nightmare of confusion, paranoia, guilt, anxiety and terror; each of which is part of an escalating series of clues that will lead him to the source of his mysterious affliction...Method actor Christian Bale, who favours total immersion in the roles he plays, lost an astonishing 63 pounds from his already lean frame in order to convey the shockingly gaunt physique of the main character. Exhausting in his preparation, close to the point of permanent physical damage, Bale is the centre point of this extraordinary film.
WHAT CAN I SAY?.
Christian Bale is outstanding, if grossly undernourished, in Brad Anderson's mesmerising tale. Delivering a excruciatingly pained performance as Trevor Reznick you'll be captivated immediately and share his obsession in discovering the truth behind the mystery. Haunting, though-provoking and quite, quite brilliant
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and memorable, 23 July 2008
This review is from: The Machinist [2004] [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
If you like mysterious movies that make you think and appeal to your darker side, The Machinist comes highly recommended. The film's atmosphere is not only dark but unnerving, aided and abetted by a film noir-style soundtrack. Bale is excellent in the title role as Resnick, the machinist. His character is grotesquely gaunt and pale and he becomes increasingly deluded and ill as the movie progresses. The plot moves at a decent pace and there is never any lull. Who is out to get Resnick and just who is the mysterious and creepy Ivan? Well, the movie doesn't take too long to give the game away but it doesn't spoil the viewer's enjoyment of the ending. I'm normally very critical of movie endings but this one is satisfying enough and encourages you to watch it again and experience those "ah-ha!" moments. Some people have compared The Machinist to Memento for the same reason, but while I thought that movie was clever (perhaps too clever for its own good) I enjoyed The Machinist much more. A good night's viewing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Facinating stuff from Mr. Bale et al, 14 Mar. 2011
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This review is from: The Machinist [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
This story line kept me on the edge of my seat and was full of surprises. The film is even better second time around, when you have time to pick out the really clever detail.Brilliant acting too.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark, disturbing, yet amazing film!, 20 Aug. 2005
By 
J. Page "J Page" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Machinist [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
If you want to feel what it is like to be inside a slowly unravelling mind then you should watch this film. Christian Bale plays Trevor Reznik, a machinist who has not slept for a year. Apparently Bale lost around 60 pounds to get into character and his emaciated figure on screen is truly disturbing. We are unable throughout the film to distinguish reality from the product of Reznik's sleep deprived mind and this gives a sense of disorientation that is genuinely unnerving. Bale's performance is amazing and he really manages to capture the viewer in his world and, to be honest, it's not a very nice place to be, but the fact that he achieves it is testament to his ability as an actor. This film is probably not for everyone but it I would still recommend it because it contains some truly stunning acting and it is superbly directed.
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The Machinist [2004] [DVD] [2005]
The Machinist [2004] [DVD] [2005] by Brad Anderson (DVD - 2006)
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