January 10, 2013

The Machinist (2004)

"An industrial worker who hasn't slept in a year begins to doubt his own sanity."

I'm sure that you've all seen "The Machinist" at some point in your lives so I'm not going to go into any detail about it. I only bought it on DVD fairly recently so last night was the first time I rewatched it since it came out. I didn't plan on reviewing it for "Thriller Thursday"; I was just in the mood for something other than any more "coming of age" dramas full of teenage girls who make me feel like a pervert. I could have chosen any horror movie to watch, but I wasn't really in the mood for one of those either. It happens to the best of us which is why I'm back on the daily subgenre changes until I get my horror mojo back.

I wouldn't call "The Machinist" a horror movie, but it certainly contains a lot of horror elements. There's a lovely arm-severing industrial accident, a guy with toes for fingers, the most horrific ghost train you will ever see, and the way Christian Bale looks is still legendary.

For those who don't know, this is the film which Christian Bale lost loads of weight for so that he could play the part of Trevor looking like a concentration camp inmate. He's so skeletal that I had to eat several times just to make myself feel better. It probably won't interest you, but I ate 4 boiled eggs, 5 beef and bean burritos, and a bag of crisps the size of a potato sack during "The Machinist". Yes, I'm the kind of guy who does that kind of thing in front of anorexics too because I'm sick that way.

As for the story, I can't tell you much about it because it relies on a twist near the end which is far too easily spoiled. Suffice it to say that 90% of the things Christian Bale's character sees aren't what they seem. You'll pick up on that in the first ten minutes so I'm not giving anything away. If you want to watch this movie "cold", do not even read the back of the DVD sleeve!

Critically, "The Machinist" is not without flaws. Even the sexiness of Jennifer Jason Leigh and the beauty of Aitana Sánchez-Gijón can't hide the fact that the truncated cuts from one Hitchcock-style scene to another are jarring, or that some of the acting isn't really that great.

With its washed-out hues, "The Machinist" is a lot of style over substance which appeals to a certain type of movie lover rather than a mainstream audience. Mercifully, it's not too arty and, as far as dark dramas go, it's one of the better and more depressing ones.

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