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 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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