A workplace incident further alienates him with his coworkers, and in conjunction with some unfamiliar pieces of paper he finds in his apartment, Trevor believes that someone or some people - probably one or some of his coworkers - are out to get him, using a phantom employee named Ivan as their front. How and why this film was passed up by so many awards is a puzzle almost as difficult to solve as the film's own plot. Haunted by a deformed co-worker who no one seems to think exists, and an ongoing stream of indecipherable Post-It notes he keeps finding on his fridge, he attempts to investigate what appears to be a mysterious plot against him and, in the process, embroils two women in his madness. This movie is one you should definitely see if you enjoy such quality films like Vertigo, Psycho and most recently Identity. It's adorable how the movie constantly establishes new plot points without ever getting tedious. The film was well shot in Catalunia Spain though to be just like whatever American city. I have never seen any movie like it before, nor after.
Much later, when you've already left the theater and you rethink the whole thing, you'll find that the script is much cleverer than you had thought at first. Periodically, Trevor continues to see Ivan in different parts of the city, but no one believes in the existence of this man, because apart from him no one sees the mysterious stranger. Massive kudos to Christian Bale who turned himself into a skeleton for the role and the wonderfully articulate pace of the director! If you are looking for a typical popcorn Hollywood thriller, this is not what you are looking for. It is the getting there that is the tough beauty of this amazingly rich film as written by Scott Kosar and directed by Brad Anderson. His direction of The Machinist, and of Session 9 as well, is detached, clinical, unengaged.
Although the film abounds in Hitchcock references, Anderson, screenwriter Scott Kosar, and Bale fail to assimilate the master's most important lesson: that the film's weirdo should be its most sympathetic and likable character. Both references comment on the underlying nature of The Machinist, one in parallel, the other more ironically, but we could also see both as parallels given a more phenomenological progression of events. At home on the refrigerator Trevor finds a piece of paper with a strange pattern, and later he realizes that there is encrypted word he must guess. Is there a conspiracy against him or is he going insane? Why are others denying knowledge of him? And if that was part of Brad Anderson's intention in directing this, I have to commend him on the execution because it is uncanny. The genre seems to have hinged at least a bit on its mindjob abilities, and predictability isn't exactly compatible with that.
Now, here's an eggheaded thing, but did anyone notice the constant stream of Dostoyevsky references in the movie? Not only did Resnick remind anyone of Raskolnikov? A strange story about freedom and guilty. The Machinist is a slow, hallucinatory descent into a nightmare world for Trevor. The lead character is played with discomforting perfection by a repulsively thin and unrecognizable Christian Bale. Christian Bale delivers one of the most committed performances on film. He is so thin he looks skeletal and extremely unhealthy achieved by Bale incredibly almost abusing himself for the role--he lost 60 pounds, or a third of his weight.
Or that Sharian's character is called Ivan cf The Brothers Karamazov - especially the chapter Ivan's Dream? The thin exclusively for the film Christian Bale makes a top-notch performance similarly to supporting cast who is frankly good. And his performance is, throughout the movie, mesmerizing. And this one is a perfect example. Now the rest of the workers, seeing strange behavior Trevor decide to stay away from him. It is amazing this movie didn't win an Academy Award. My only complaints about this very well made film are minor. After the accident Reznik is plagued with a series of Post-Its sporting a game of hangman that leads to a few clues to his rationale and ultimately to his fate of 'Who Am I? Apparently he hasn't been able to sleep in a year.
Overall, I would recommend this film, but not to casual movie-goers. It's adorable how the movie constantly establishes new plot points without ever getting tedious. The pace is a bit plodding, but the excellent performances, and the highly compelling plot pay off very well. Yet he keeps coming back, as his next assignment, a remake of George Romero's The Crazies, shows. But if you aren't primarily looking for something fast paced or action packed and you have a ken for thematic subtlety and complexity, The Machinist just might fit your bill for a relatively twisted and gloomy thriller.
Excellent supporting work by Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michael Ironside help drive the story. Early on, we see Trevor reading Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, and later, we see a reference to his novel Crime and Punishment. We see him roll up a body in a rug and drive it in his pick up truck to eventually dump it in a body of water. Every scene has its purpose and that is not often the case in horror and mystery movies. Christian Bale takes things to the extreme in his embodiment of his character. I have ever since American Psycho been fully convinced of Bale's talents as an actor, and this further proves his talent and commitment. Use direct links to download or Watch Online.
Despite Bale's best efforts, Trevor Reznick is a blank, a cypher, unpleasant and uninteresting. Full of symbolism, every scene is worthy of deep analysis - leaving you wanting to watch it again and again just not so soon, due to its depth. Although the whole cast did a fine job, Christian Bale's terrific performance must be mentioned. The presence of God in this movie is the way of resurrection. The second reason for The Machinist's failure is that Anderson seems to have trouble abandoning himself to his chosen genre. As the story goes on it gets hard to believe that the ending will be able to explain everything and you start pondering that there can only be one possible conclusion for all the weird events.