The Machinist 2004


Brad Anderson’s cache as a director has fallen somewhat since 2004’s The Machinist, with a regular diet of jobbing TV work and the dubious Halle Berry phone-line drama The Call hardly suggesting an auteur at work. But The Machinist is an intense low-budget thrill[er, with Barcelona doubling for a seedy Los Angeles, and a stunning performance by Christian Bale at the centre. As Trevor Reznik, Bale dropped 70 pounds and appears emaciated as a man whose tortured soul doesn’t allow him to sleep due to a guilty conscience; he blames himself for an industrial accident in which co-worker Miller (Michael Ironside) lost an arm. The appearance of a crudely-drawn hangman figure suggests that Trevor was external persecutors, but it’s also possible he’s losing his mind. The Machinist is an uncomfortable[e film to watch, but if dark thrillers are to your taste, Anderson’s film falls somewhere between Memento and Se7en in terms of exposing the jet-black side of modern life.


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