It seems to me that Christian Bale enjoys this kind of role and story. I say this because The Machinist is American Psycho but worse overall with a more “hey, this is what was happening” ending. I kind of just picked this movie at random, and by “kind of” I mean I might as well have taped a bunch of movies to a board and had someone with Parkinson’s blindfolded, and made them throw darts. It had two stars though so I figured I’d get some easy low blows, plus I usually enjoy Christian Bale so win-win. To the contrary, however, it was actually rather good. Again, not better than its near mirror but that bar is set pretty high so there’s quite a bit of room for solid cinema under it.
We open with the most unhealthy looking version of Christian Bale anyone has ever seen, rolling a body wrapped up in a rug into the ocean. We don’t know it at the time but this is actually the end of the movie that we will come back to for the big reveal at the end when we are informed of what is actually fucking happening in the movie. Following the intro scene is the life of Trevor Reznik (Bale) as he relocates to the township of Outofyourfuckingmind, of which he has just been named mayor. He works in a factory which is seemingly where the name The Machinist came from. Not the most creative way to name something but at least he didn’t work at Burger King because The Burger Flipper just doesn’t have the same ring to it. We get to see most everything about Trevor’s lifestyle from his romantic interest in this one blonde hooker to his affinity for airport diners. It starts to get weird, though, when he says he hasn’t slept for a year. We then get introduced to Ivan, the obvious “I am not actually real but you don’t know that yet” guy of the movie. And so, Trevor begins to see Ivan everywhere bippity bop, starts to turn on everyone he knows because he thinks they’re with Ivan boppity boo, and finally realizes “holy shit thats just my minds imagining of someone to get me remember the thing I did” boppity bum. It doesn’t really shy away from the formula that’s pretty standard for these kinds of movies but thankfully for said movies it’s a formula that works.
Like I said, I liked this movie. Christian Bale does a great job most of the time and this wasn’t any different. I’m not sure, however, how I feel about how they tied things together. It’s kind of one of those things where I’m not sure if it was brilliant or just kind of jumbled up weirdness. So much of what happen in this movie was of Trevor’s imagination, and it wove together in this way that was just so complex if you really think about it. For example, the waitress Trevor goes to see every night at the diner invites him to spend Mother’s Day with her and her son. So they go and do the thing, but thats not important. What is important is that later not only do we see that this woman wasn’t actually his waitress, but the person he though his waitress was is actually (Spoilers) the mother of the kid he hit in a hit and run he’d repressed. In addition to that, the trip he took with this not-actually-there woman and her not-actually-there child, was actually a recreation of a trip he took with his mother that has seemingly no real relevance. Like holy fuck, there is some Daren Aronofsky type shit going on here. It’s seriously trippy to think about and I recommend you all watch this film I you like this sort of thing and haven’t seen it.
I’m fairly confident in giving The Machinist an 8/10. This is mostly due to the fact that I think the debate in the previous paragraph leans more towards the side of brilliant. That combined with Christian Bale usually make for some good shit. Now if you’ll excuse me I seem to have a Christian Bale boner I wasn’t aware of.