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The Machinist

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Machinist

Starring: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Director: Brad Anderson
Rated: R
RunTime: 102 Minutes
Release Date: October 2004
Genres: Mystery, Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Aitana Sanchez-Gijon, John Sharian, Michael Ironside, Larry Gilliard Jr., Anna Massey, James DePaul, Matthew Romero Moore, Craig Stevenson, Reg Wilson

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

Brad Anderson's THE MACHINIST is a Kafkaesque tale about a psychotic and paranoid anorexic who works the aptly named graveyard shift on dangerous, old machine tools. At 6' 2" and weighing 121 pounds, Christian Bale, as the eponymous Trevor Reznik, looks like a concentration camp survivor. Having lost a third of his body weight for the part, Bale provides us with images that we won't soon forget. Scott Kosar's script, however, is never nearly as good as the film's indelible images.

As the story opens, Trevor is busy trying to dispose of a dead body. Trevor is an obsessive guy who uses bleach and lye to wash his hands and who plasters his bathroom wall with Post-its to track his rapidly falling body weight.

Unable to sleep at all for the past year, Trevor's only solace comes from a prostitute named Stevie (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and a waitress named Marie (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón). Marie works at a coffee shop at the airport, where Trevor goes every night for a piece of apple pie and a cup of coffee, always leaving an extremely large tip. On his one date with Marie, he takes her and her son to an amusement park. One of the movie's many memorable visuals occurs during a horror ride called Route 666, which proves too much for the little boy to take. Suffice it to say that you aren't likely to see such an attraction at Disneyland anytime soon.

In an insightful and repeated line, both Stevie and Marie tell Trevor, "If you were any thinner, you wouldn't exist." After setting up the plot, the movie drifts for a long time until it ends very well. The story, which keeps getting more and more confusing, is finally explained as lucidly as such a nightmarish tale can be explained. It may not be a fun film, but I challenge you to be able to forget it.

THE MACHINIST runs a little long at 1:40. It is rated R for "violence and disturbing images, sexuality and language" and would be acceptable for older teenagers.

Copyright © 2004 Steve Rhodes

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