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The Machinist

Released: 2004

Genre: Mystery & Suspense

Runtime: 1 hr 41 min

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Brad Anderson

Starring: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, John Sharian, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Michael Ironside

A machinist can’t sleep.

Anderson suffuses the movie with atmosphere and dread.

Review by: MiamiMovieCritic

Added: 7 years ago

Christian Bale famously shed 60 pounds to play the part of Trevor Reznik, a paranoid insomniac who, when we first meet him in Brad Anderson’s dark-as-midnight thriller The Machinist, hasn’t slept in a year.

Trevor works as a factory drone in a nameless American city, where industrialization has borne a perpetually cloudy skyline. Here, Trevor has carved out a safe routine, visiting a friendly waitress (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón) at the airport café, where he always orders the same coffee and pie, and paying for the services of a beautiful prostitute (Jennifer Jason Leigh).

Then Trevor meets Ivan (John Sharian), a burly, bald coworker with toes grafted onto one of his hands. Soon, his fellow machinists are whispering conspiratorially about him, and someone begins pasting hangman’s notes with ominous missing letters on his fridge, clues that may unlock the secret surrounding Trevor’s sleepless nights.

Bale, who was so indelible as the serial killer Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, performs an astonishing disappearing act. His commitment to his craft is humbling, and even a little frightening.

Anderson suffuses the movie with atmosphere and dread. Directing a script by Scott Kosar, Hollywood’s go-to guy for horror remakes (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror), the filmmaker works with metallic colors and deep shadows, audaciously visualizing Trevor’s gloomy mindscape.

While The Machinist’s puzzle pieces add up to less than they should, they do fit perfectly.