365 films in 2016: film 11 (The Machinist 2004)

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 21.56.24Ah The Machinist, the film that’s more famous for Christian Bale’s insane weight loss than for its actual story, which in a way is just a testament to how dedicated an actor Christian Bale is really, he literally took up smoking and lived off a tin of tuna and an apple for a year for the role and the craziest part about it is no one asked him to go to such extreme lengths, in fact director Brad Anderson was shocked when he walked on set looking like a skeleton, and this was just one year before he had to gain back a ton of weight to play Batman. I’m gonna try to avoid spoiling the film because The Machinist is definitely the type of film where everything gets wrapped up in the last 10 or so minutes of the film and going into the film knowing what’s happened kinda defeats the point but then again this film is like 12 years old, if you wanna see it and haven’t yet you’re probably not going to. The Machinist is the story of a machinist with terrible insomnia, Christian Bale does a great job at making you feel like he really hasn’t slept for a year, and obviously a year with no sleep comes with some side effects, after an accident at work Reznik starts to believe people are plotting against him and we get to experience the deterioration of a person’s mental health, it’s scary watching Bale transform himself into this paranoid zombie like state trying to figure out what is happening to him (which in a way reflects what was happening to him in real life due to the mass weight loss, life imitating art I guess). I don’t think the story or the way it unfolds was anything crazy (especially since directors like Christopher Nolan have re-popularised the ‘leave the viewer confused till the last 10 minutes of the film’ story type over the last 15 years), I mean if you pay attention to the small details as the film goes on the ending is somewhat predictable but that doesn’t make it not interesting or bad in anyway. I’ve seen a lot of people say this is a very ‘Hitchcockian’ film which I can kinda see especially with the use of music and the pacing but I wouldn’t want to pigeonhole this film as a Hitchcock clone, it’s a very interesting film but whereas something like Psycho or Vertigo (more on Vertigo later this week) are films I would rewatch several times to take everything in, The Machinist doesn’t feel like that to me, I feel like I got everything I could possibly get out of this film in my first viewing, not that that’s a bad thing. I enjoyed The Machinist a lot, it didn’t blow me away but at the same time I did enjoy the small visual hints towards the ending and the attention to detail but overall I would give the film a 7/10.


In 2016 i will be watching 365 films (yes, i know there are 366 days this year) and writing about how I felt about them, I decided to do this just because over the last year or so i’ve Sort of pulled away from film and I wanna start to enjoy watching movies again. This will normally be just notes I made or thoughts I have about the film.


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