The Machinist

 (1,277)7.71 h 41 min2004X-RayR
An industrial worker who has not slept in a year begins to doubt his own sanity
Directors
Brad Anderson
Starring
Christian BaleJennifer Jason LeighAitana S?nchez-Gij?n
Genres
SuspenseHorrorDramaArthouse
Subtitles
EnglishEnglish [CC]
Audio languages
English
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4.4 out of 5 stars

1277 global ratings

  1. 69% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 17% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 6% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 4% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 4% of reviews have 1 stars

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Top reviews from the United States

Justin JeromeReviewed in the United States on May 16, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Brad Anderson
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As a lifelong horror fan, I first learned of director Brad Anderson from his excellent, underrated, disturbing, and creepy as hell film Session 9. As its still one of my all time favorite horror films, I didn't think he could top it. He did. This has to be one of my all time favorite movies. Of ANY genre. So disturbing some call it a horror film, also could be called a mystery, but for me I'd say if it had to be classified as one thing: dark psychological thriller. Very dark. About how guilt can cripple your body and mind to the point of self destruction. I think we've all done things we'd like to "turn back time" and un-do, all haunted by regrets (and if you disagree, I don't believe you), some more than others, but this film takes that to the absolute extreme.

The dedication Christian Bale put into this part was phenomenal. I've never had a problem with insomnia (one of the issues tackled by the movie), but as someone who's unfortunately dealt with starvation recently myself, I can still say I don't envy him at all for putting his body through what he did. And it would all be for naught if this was a sub-par movie. Its not. Believe me, its not. This movie is the reason I'd still give a chance to anything Brad Anderson releases from here on out. Made me want to check out all his other films as well, even the early romantic comedies (and some were surprisingly good). Anyway, if you agree with my review at all, you can mostly find me these days at twitter dot com/ShyLivesMatter Peace :)
46 people found this helpful
Star MessengerReviewed in the United States on December 11, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Christian Bale Is A Sight To Behold In "The Machinist".
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I read in "X-Ray" that every film studio that read the screenplay thought that it was "too weird" and passed on it. But eventually, they found a film studio that took a chance and decided to make the movie.

Enter super-weird Christian Bale. In the opening screen, I said to myself, "wow, this guy is definitely from the "old school" of acting". He looked like something out of WWII Concentration Camp - skin and bones and not much else. He was so skinny that the muscles in his legs almost prevented him from running in one of the chase scenes. I don't know how he was able to make this movie. Watching him perform in such a weakened condition was absolutely amazing. Chrisitan, you did it again. Cheers!
23 people found this helpful
Ron BakerReviewed in the United States on December 26, 2017
4.0 out of 5 stars
Extreme Manic Psychosis
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This film personifies delusion, psychosis, reality detachment, darkness and crushing paranoia. Breadcrumbs to what happened are left throughout the plot challenging the viewer at every twist and turn. That type of suspense/mystery storytelling keeps me trying to figure out what is real and what is not, and that is entertaining. Recommended.
17 people found this helpful
not havin itReviewed in the United States on August 9, 2019
2.0 out of 5 stars
so indulgent, so dull
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The acting is good and the locales are interesting (the story is set in America but you can tell it was filmed in Europe which makes for unexpected visuals and overall it's a very moody, almost dreamlike asethetic). But The Machinist is essentially the same scene repeated over, and over, and over. The main character's experience is as follows:

a) everything is pretty normal
b) *slow-dawning realization* oh wait no it's not, look at this creepy thing!
c) LOOK EVERYONE, LOOK! THIS IS SO CREEPY
d) oh wait it's actually NOT creepy, I'm just hallucinating and now the people around me think I'm crazy. End scene.

That's all this movie is, the same scene repeated at least 20 times. It felt incredibly long even though it was only about 90 mins. This is one of those movies that should've been just an episode of Twilight Zone/Outer Limits. As a feature-length film it's far too shallow an experience even if the themes are profound (guilty conscience, denial, trauma). I found myself quite irritated and fighting the urge to fast foward as Christian Bale once again let his jaw drop to the floor and verrrrry sloooowly realized things are not always what they appear to be.
3 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on April 14, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Haunting story and one of a kind performance by Christian Bale
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The Machinist is a crazy thriller and haunting story. Christian Bale feels like he is going insane. He keeps seeing people and images he’s not sure are real or not. If you pay close enough attention you can figure out the mystery of the story about halfway through but it’s still a one of a kind tale and performance. Bale is known for his method acting and this was another amazing transformation. He is nothing but skin and bones literally. He looks like a ghost which people keep telling him. He did a similar weight loss for Rescue Dawn two years later. Once you see him I don’t think you can forget it.
2 people found this helpful
Joseph HortonReviewed in the United States on June 26, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
Polanski's Repulsion redux
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I saw Roman Polanski's movie, Repulsion, when I was in college. This is another descent into madness. Until the end, it's not obvious what's going on. But unlike Polanski's movie, this one has a resolution: you know what has driven him mad, and in retrospect, his actions make sense, given an event you don't know about until moments before the movie ends.

Other reviewers have pointed out that the movie is filmed in a way that brings out the desolation that is Reznik's life, and I agree entirely with then: the word bleak describes it to a T. Background music seems to come mainly from a Therumin, played softly and eerily. In another genre, you'd expect a monster to emerge or someone to spring out from behind a curtain. Nothing like that happens here, but the movie's intentional creepiness is perfectly augmented by the sounds.

Not cheery by a long shot. But fascinating.
13 people found this helpful
Keily ShieldsReviewed in the United States on May 15, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Watch it!
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Though creepy in ways I did not expect, it is so well done. Amazing writing and acting and the fact that Christian Bale actually got that thin, brings it to a whole new level.

So, yes, prepare to be creeped out but in all the best ways!
17 people found this helpful
D. LarsonReviewed in the United States on March 7, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
The First Rule of Machine Shops is You Don’t Talk About Machine Shops!
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This kind of thing just cannot be good for you.

Good for Christian Bale, that is. Losing fifty or sixty pounds to play the emaciated “Machinist”, packing on forty pounds to play Dick Cheney, bulking up with massive exercise to be Batman….it’s only flesh and blood, Bale, the body can only take so much. At some point, I’d think these swings in body type have to cost some kind of long term toll.
There’s dedication to the role, and then there’s self-abuse. Dustin Hoffman, another Method actor, went for days without sleeping or bathing to prepare himself for a role. Sir Laurence Olivier asked him, “Why not just “act”, dear boy? It’s ever so much less trouble.”

Anyway, Christian Bale sure did get scary thin to play Trevor Reznik, the eponymous machinist. Concentration camp thin. Bataan Death March thin. If I’d been the company insuring the production of “The Machinist”, I’d have been worrying and asking higher premiums. So scary thin that it’s hard to say if he is just a great actor, of if the skeletal boniness is carrying the performance.

Jennifer Jason Leigh is inexplicably hot for Skeletor here, too. As a hooker with a heart of gold, or maybe a heart of brass, she’s OK but would even a HwaHoG not be skeeved by a walking anatomy lesson? She does abused and amused tolerance well enough, but it’s not much of a role, really. Even less so, the other woman in Trevor’s life, the waitress at the airport diner. Again, what a woman would see in a guy who looks like the Crypt Keeper is hard to register, and would you leave your child in the care of a Walking Dead? Doubtful.

I always like seeing Michael Ironside, though. He lends that little air of simmering to even a small part like this one. Of course, none of the supporting players can compete with Bale’s exposed ribcage and knobbly spine. So, on to the

SPOILER ALERT. Read no farther to avoid spoilage….

Hasn’t this concept been covered better in the much more amusing “Fight Club”? I was trying to figure out what Trevor Reznik is an anagram for, but I kept getting sidetracked by Tyler Durden. It’s pretty much the same deal, except that neither Brad Pitt nor Edward Norton bothered to diet themselves down to their bones and gristle. I don’t really see why Christian Bale felt it necessary to do the role as an animated skeleton. To show desperation and insomnia and paranoia, I guess, but I’ve known a few insomniacs, fewer desperate types, and maybe one true paranoid. None of them looked as severe as Christian Bale in “The Machinist”.

Was it really necessary for Bale to drop fifty pounds? Or was he showing off? “Look what I’m willing to do for my art!” Almost seems more like a stunt than dedication to the Method. I’d have been perfectly able to see that Trevor Reznik was in bad shape with just a sallow face, baggy eyes and maybe the shakes. All of which can be done with makeup and acting and keeping his shirt on. Instead of endangering one’s health. Was this kind of emaciation that necessary to the story?

Still, it’s an interesting movie, it has a satisfactory ending, and nobody can doubt Bale’s commitment to the role. There’re some good bits of ordinary acting by the rest of the cast, the ultra-creepy “funhouse” was a nice touch, and the atmosphere of paranoid suspense was good; the color-drained, high contrast lighting was perfect for the film, the score a little too intrusive. When you’ve got a refrigerator seeping blood, you don’t really need an orchestral sting. Speaking of score, was that a real Theremin? Sure sounded like a Theremin. I suppose it was just synthesizer, but I am a sucker for the real electronic deal.

And while I’m picking nits, I have actually worked in industrial settings with large and potentially hazardous machines. OSHA and plant managers are very strict about “Lock-Out, Tag-Out” when doing maintenance. That is, if you’re sticking your arm into a lathe or printing press, you have to turn off the power and put an actual physical lock on the circuit breaker or lever or whatever activates the machine, so it can’t be accidentally leaned on, like poor Trevor does. And along with the lock, a big red tag that tells anybody wandering by not to mess with it, and who has the key for the lock. Which is you, if you’re reaching inside your lathe. You lock it out, you tag your lock, and then you do something foolish. It’s a pain and people complain about it, but you still have to do it. I guess The Machinist’s shop is a lot more sloppy; it’s dirty, messy and badly lit, all things you do not want to see in a well-run plant.

Over Reknit! The best anagram I’ve come up with.
One person found this helpful
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