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The Machinist

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Jan
The Machinist
from Film Forum, 11/24/03

The Machinist cuts the pounds off Christian Bale

Have you ever lost sleep because somebody got on your nerves? In the troubling psychological thriller The Machinist, Trevor Raznik, a lathe operator, suffers from chronic insomnia due to the provocations of a man he believes is following him. As he's pushed to the edge of madness, he seeks his girlfriend's help in finding clues to the cause of his distress.

Director Brad Anderson is winning moderate approval for his film. But critics are expressing astonishment at the efforts of actor Christian Bale (Reign of Fire, Empire of the Sun), whose portrayal of Trevor is disturbingly convincing. Bale, who is likely to become a superstar with the lead role in David Goyer's upcoming Batman Begins, lost so much weight for The Machinist that he appears emaciated. It remains to be seen whether Academy voters think his performance is more than merely a weight loss stunt. Jennifer Jason Leigh co-stars.

David DiCerto (Catholic News Service) says, "Anderson has crafted a grimly stylish and suspenseful meditation on guilt, alienation and paranoia, dripping with nightmarish atmospherics and noir moodiness, buttressed by Roque Banos' Bernard Herrmann-inspired score. Filmed in creepy, washed-out tones for added bleak effect, the movie, though unremittingly cheerless, ends on a redemptive note."

from Film Forum, 12/23/04

Darrel Manson (Hollywood Jesus) says, "In the end, we get a glimpse into some important questions about life. We think about how one deals with guilt. We think about the power of confession to set us free. We think about the way we try to hide from our problems, but know that the more we hide, the more powerful those problems become."

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