26 February 2011

OMENS: The Machinist

The Machinist

Starring Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, John Sharian, Michael Ironside, Larry Gilliard Jr.
Written by Scott Kosar
Directed by Brad Anderson
Release: 22 October 2004
Paramount, 101 mins., Rated R

Plot: Trevor Raznik hasn't slept for a year, and that's doing a number on his psyche.

The unfortunate consequence of watching THE MACHINIST is not all the hype and news surrounding the film, it's that as obsessive film watchers, we tend to pick up on things rather quickly and spot similarities to other movies which in turn make whatever 'twist' at the end that explains all the weirdiness from the previous hour and a half a bit predicted. The people who aren't there that plague Trevor's mind, the conversations he never had, the mysterious notes, the red car, and even his physical appearance - ultimately guessable for those who have watched plenty of movies.


That doesn't stop THE MACHINIST from being captivating, highly intriguing, atmospheric, and making me more then willing to come along for the ride. When the credits roll up and the complete narrative is revealed to us, I 'get' the structure and story Kosar set out to write and Anderson brought to realization. The truth of the matter is MACHINIST is so splendidly made that I was sucked up by every second of it, and even figuring out the whole story not even halfway through deterred me from thoroughly enjoying all of it.

MACHINIST unfolds at a fine pace, allowing the mystery and overall freakiness to leave their impact, in addition to the relationships he forms with a 'entertainer' and his waitress. Christian Bale's performance is just as bizarre, mesmerizing, and complex as mentioned by everyone out there. Bale's in every scene, and he takes that honor and friggin' grabs us from the quasi-comedic opening scene to the satisfying and dark finale. The supporting cast is just as stellar, although I think a call-out to Jennifer Jason Leigh as Bale's favored company is in order for her stealing the scenes from Bale she's in. When the two of them are onscreen, it's definitely some good material.

Overall, MACHINIST nearly fulfills the critical rave and promise of something interesting everyone's been saying about it. The only real downside is the simplicity and predictability of Trevor's year-long sleepless life. Perhaps I wanted something more complex, or unique or original, but what we got wasn't what the doctor ordered. In the end, MACHINIST remains a movie I recommend to all parties: it's compelling, Bale is amazing, and the visual style alone (and holy God the trippy music) yell 'watch me'!

Netflix Rating: Liked It


Fitz said...

Bale gave an excellent performance. Glad we can say Academy Award winner for him now.

Andy the Time Lord said...

Based on his win and all the critical accolades, I really now must see FIGHTER, despite me disinterest, to see how it can compare to this (especially this).

On a unrelated note, Fitz, just wanna say about your blog - that 10 Words or Less feature...I bloody love it. Keep that up.

Fletch said...

Well, his physical transformation is more impressive here (and in Rescue Dawn, for that matter), but his overall performance in The Fighter is fucking awesome. One of the best performances of the last decade, easy.

I dig The Machinist, but you make a bunch of valid points. It just missed the mark.