Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Machinist

The Machinist is a difficult film to classify. I suppose Psychological Thriller is the best genre to describe it I can think of, but the movie is sort of all over the place. I don't really think this is a detriment to the film since it makes parts of it less dry and more entertaining, but suffice to say you won't be predicting how this movie ends all that quickly.

Perhaps I've been spoiled by Christopher Nolan but I do like a film to have somewhat useful foreshadowing tools, in this there is foreshadowing but the vast majority of it is extremely difficult to notice your first time watching the film. While I imagine watching the film a second time would make several more scenes seem like foreshadowing it doesn't have quite a tight enough plot to keep it together.

Christian Bale is a factory worker who hasn't slept in a year and you quickly come to realize that everything revolves around what happened a year ago. When he's asked when he met someone it's "about a year ago" or when he tries to find out something it's a year ago et cetera. He eventually fucks up at his work and sort of zones out while assisting another worker, thus causing that worker to lose his arm, why it takes him an entire year to screw up a delicate operation is anyone's guess (right at the start Bale is established as one of the more competent workers).

In addition to insomnia he's also lost about 80 lbs of weight from his standard bale frame, think Dicky Eklund but much more holocaust victim looking. Bale's devotion to the craft is admirable, and it sort of adds to the number of things pushing you further away from what really happened a year ago. This film has a mostly Latino production cast and feels fairly foreign in it's construction, it is still pretty good but as I've said it is extremely difficult to predict what happens, while you may discern bits and pieces of the truth the reality is still going to be much different than what you anticipated (I personally predicted like 25-30% of what happens at the end).

Overall I do like the film and its atmosphere, one memorable moment for me was when he was chasing one of his many phantom pursuers he finds out what the guy's license plate is but in a 1 second shot it shows the license plate is the exact reverse of the one already on his truck. As I said you could consider that foreshadowing but how exactly you'd determine precisely what occurred prior to actually seeing it is beyond me. Another good performance by Bale in a non Stoic Lawman role!

Final Score: 7.5/10

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