'The Machinist [Blu-ray]'
(Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, et al / Blu ray / R / (2003) 2009 / Paramount)
Overview: Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) hasn't slept in a year. The shocking deterioration of his physical and mental health has made his every waking moment an unrelenting state of confusion, paranoia, guilt, anxiety and terror. His only solace from this living nightmare comes from an affectionate prostitute (Jennifer Jason Leigh).
DVD Verdict: Best known as the movie that Christian Bale lost a third of his body weight for, this hallucinogenic thriller about a sleep-deprived industrial worker with a guilty conscience is both weird and yet strangely thought-provoking all at once!
'The Machinist' is the sort of film Hollywood does not dare to make- risky, taut, and smart. While not a great film it certainly is loads better than the usual bilge Hollywood feeds the public. That director Brad Anderson (who directed Session 9) had to go to Barcelona, Spain to finance and film the picture says it all. The film stars Christian Bale (who, as mentioned, lost over 60 lbs. for the role) as Trevor Reznik, a machinist who has not slept in a year and is wasting away physically.
His only sources of comfort seem to be a prostitute named Stevie (Jennifer Jason Leigh) that he sleeps with, and an airport café waitress named Maria (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon), whom he confesses to. Then, one day, on a break at work, Trevor meets Ivan (John Sharian)- a bald biker dude with a Cajun accent, red sportscar, and a claw for a hand- after his left hand was mangled in an accident.
Not long after Trevor accidentally causes the dismemberment of a co-worker named Miller (Michael Ironside) and is shunned at work. He seems to be losing his mind when no one believes him that the reason the accident occurred was because he was looking at Ivan- whom his bosses claim is not on the payroll.... Perhaps the only downsides to the film are Leigh's hooker with a heart of gold (although she does what little she can with the role) and the ending.
As Trevor sleeps he dreams of the first few moments after the accident and then we get a fade out. There should have been something more definitive and climactic than merely Trevor's getting shuteye. The end feels almost tacked on, as if Kosar had no idea how to get out of the corner he painted his character into. Still, were this a Hollywood film there would have been car explosions, pedophilia, and many other overblown elements. The best thing for this screenplay was that it had to be made overseas.
There are a number of excellent little points in the film, such as scattered Dostoevsky and Kafka references, Trevor's looking eerily like his Nine Inch Nails namesake Trent Reznor, Trevor's choosing to turn left, in the Route 666 kid's ride with Nicholas, and in the sewers, when he encounters forks in a road, until the end, where he turns himself in and turns right on the highway, which picks up on the mangled left hands of Miller and Ivan and other left aligned things in the film. Also, Michael Ironside - who works far too little - seems to always lose a limb in his films. [CC] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the following Special Features:
BD Exclusive Featurette: Manifesting the Machinist (23 minutes, HD)
BD Exclusive Featurette: Hiding in Plain Sight (14 minutes, HD)
Featurette: Breaking the Rules (25 minutes, SD)
Commentary by Brad Anderson
Deleted Scenes (SD)