Trevor Reznik is a machinist in a factory. An extreme case of insomnia has led to him not sleeping in a year, and his body withering away to almost nothing. He has an obsessive compulsion to write himself reminder notes and keep track of his dwindling weight, both scribbled on yellow stickies in his apartment. The only person he lets into his life in an emotional sense is Stevie, a prostitute, although he has an infatuation with Maria, a single mother waitress working in an airport diner. His co-workers don't associate with and mistrust him because of not knowing what is going on in his life that has led to his emaciated physical appearance. A workplace incident further alienates him with his coworkers, and in conjunction with some unfamiliar pieces of paper he finds in his apartment, Trevor believes that someone or some people - probably one or some of his coworkers - are out to get him, using a phantom employee named Ivan as their front. As Trevor goes on a search for evidence as to... Written by
Scott Kosar wrote this screenplay on spec straight out of film school. He then touted it round all the usual Hollywood studios for several years. The writing was well thought of, but the overwhelming dark mood was not, and financing could not be secured in America. See more »
Trevor can be seen washing himself above a bathroom sink branded "Roca". This brand of Spanish origin is not distributed in the United States, where the movie is supposed to take place. See more »
It's a common rule that people subconsciously decide within the first ten minutes whether they like a movie or not. It didn't even take me that long to know that I would be intrigued by "The Machinist".
The set up is perfect. It's adorable how the movie constantly establishes new plot points without ever getting tedious. As the story goes on it gets hard to believe that the ending will be able to explain everything and you start pondering that there can only be one possible conclusion for all the weird events. It may be disappointing at first to learn that your predictions are probably dead-on and you might go: "Not that old twist again." The beautiful thing, however, is that there's an explanation to the twist that really adds a lot to the concept. Much later, when you've already left the theater and you rethink the whole thing, you'll find that the script is much cleverer than you had thought at first. To me the biggest achievement of the movie in retrospective is, that it's never creepy just for the sake of freaking the audience out (and hell, the carnival-sequence is so friggin creepy and well made, it's delightful). Every scene has its purpose and that is not often the case in horror and mystery movies.
Although the whole cast did a fine job, Christian Bale's terrific performance must be mentioned. Usually I'm annoyed by stories about actors losing or gaining weight in preparation for a role, because mostly it's uncalled for anyway and not even worth a mention. What Bale did to prepare for "The Machinist", however, is nothing short of heroic. He lost 60 pounds and looks so unhealthy throughout the whole movie that it's hard to believe he turned into himself again after the director yelled "cut!".
I can recommend "The Machinist" to anybody who's looking for a movie that keeps you intrigued longer than just during its running time. If after 10 minutes you like the movie, after days you'll find yourself still obsessed with it. I love it, when a movie does that to me!
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