So much is written about actors who gain weight for a role. Charlize Theron for “Monster,” DeNiro for “Raging Bull,” Renee Zellweger for “Bridget Jones Diary.” I dare any one of them to lose the weight Christian Bale lost for “The Machinist.” Eating and drinking as much as you can for a role as the aforementioned have done will mean nothing once people see Bale in “The Machinist.” So much will be said about Bale’s physical transformation, that I hate to do it. I hate to jump on a bandwagon, but it’s so shocking and amazing, it has to be said.
After an entire year of insomnia, Trevor Reznick (Bale) is decimated. Physically and mentally. He looks like a prisoner of a Concentration Camp, yet his prison is his own guilt ridden and paranoid mind. He seeks solace in his favorite hooker (Leigh) and has become a hazard at his job as, you guessed it, a machinist.
Director Anderson and screenwriter Scott Alan Kosar have taken every cool, esoteric theme of Polanski and Hitchcock and brought them to the surface in “The Machinist.” Guilt, loss of self, repression and odd mother fixations all factor in here. Yet Kosar has also constructed an exercise in existentialism that is so literal it’s a true feat that he was able to reign it all back in for the somewhat tidy ending of this film.
Perfect script, direction and performances are almost all trumped by the amazing and classic score which features searing theramins and jaunty bass lines that remind one of Hitchcock composer Bernard Hermann paired with Danny Elfman.
Don’t get me wrong, this film is weird and it’s difficult. It will surely draw comparisons to “Lost Highway” and other David Lynch films. But “The Machinist” is so brave and visually impressive, it should demand an audience.