The Machinist

Release Date: October 22, 2004
Limited release

Movie of the Day for Wednesday, June 9, 2004
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I'm telling you I'm Batman, dammit.

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How does Brad Anderson, the director responsible for one of the creepiest films in recent memory, Session 9, follow up such an impressive effort? He delves further into the realm of madness by creating a thrilling tale about an insomniac who keeps getting blood his hands. Literally.

The Machinist tells the story of Trevor Reznik (the new Batman, Christian Bale), a tortured soul who has been unable to sleep for a full calendar year. The physical effects of such a living nightmare are readily apparent, as Trevor has become little more than stretched flesh over visible skeleton. More alarming is the way that the titular machinist keeps seeing a Tyler Durden-esque co-worker. Making matters worse is the fact that one night on the job, an accident claims the arm of a fellow employee and the guys at the mill all think the incident was Trevor’s fault. He has become the very definition of mad, bad, and dangerous to know.

Desperately trying to cope with the odd congruities of his life (who is it that keeps leaving half-finished games of Hangman on his refrigerator?), Reznik finds solace in the arms of an all-too-willing call girl (Jennifer Jason Leigh portraying a skank…go figure). He also spends part of his endless waking hours in the company of a Coffee Shop waitress who doesn’t shun the insomniac like she probably should. Plus, Trevor is becoming buddies with the far-too-jovial one-armed man he just created. It’s not enough to drive a man out of his mind…assuming he’s not already there.

If the appeal of Anderson as an auteur isn’t enough, the reckless nature of Christian Bale as an actor should be a strong selling point. Rather than allow make-up to sell his condition, the American Psycho starved himself to a degree that would have impressed Dustin Hoffman during the Marathon Man shoot. Gaunt and afflicted is the only way to describe Bale’s physical status during filming of The Machinist, but it appears to have paid off. The critical reception to Bale’s harrowing performance has been universally positive, though more than one critic has commented that Bale is so distressed looking that it’s uncomfortable to watch him. Insomnia is not an unusual subject matter these days as exemplified by, well, Insomnia and the previously referenced Fight Club. It is frequently one of the most fertile fields for an exploration of madness, so the combination of the director, subject matter and Batman makes this one of the most anticipated releases of the year for the BOP staff. (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Machinist
Main Cast Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sanchez Gijon
Supporting Cast John Sharian, Michael Ironside, Larry Gilliard Jr., Reg E. Cathey, Anna Massey, James DePaul, Matthew Romero Moore, Craig Stevenson
Director Brad Anderson
Screenwriter Scott Kosar
Distributor Paramount Classics
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating R
Running Time 102 minutes
Screen Count 3
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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