The Machinist

November 11th, 2004

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The Machinist

Still of Christian Bale in The MachinistStill of Jennifer Jason Leigh in The MachinistChristian Bale at event of The MachinistStill of Christian Bale in The MachinistStill of Christian Bale in The MachinistStill of Christian Bale in The Machinist

An industrial worker who hasn't slept in a year begins to doubt his own sanity.

Release Year: 2004

Rating: 7.8/10 (114,340 voted)

Critic's Score: 61/100

Director: Brad Anderson

Stars: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón

Trevor Reznik is a lathe-operator who suffers from insomnia and hasn't slept in a year. Slowly, he begins to doubt his sanity as increasingly bizarre things start happening at work and at home. Haunted by a deformed co-worker who no one seems to think exists, and an ongoing stream of indecipherable Post-It notes he keeps finding on his fridge, he attempts to investigate what appears to be a mysterious plot against him and, in the process, embroils two women in his madness.

Christian Bale - Trevor Reznik
Jennifer Jason Leigh - Stevie
Aitana Sánchez-Gijón - Marie
John Sharian - Ivan
Michael Ironside - Miller
Lawrence Gilliard Jr. - Jackson (as Larry Gilliard)
Reg E. Cathey - Jones
Anna Massey - Mrs. Shrike
Matthew Romero Moore - Nicholas (as Matthew Romero)
Robert Long - Supervisor Furman
Colin Stinton - Inspector Rogers
Craig Stevenson - Tucker
Ferran Lahoz - Gonzales
Jeremy Xido - Evangelisti
Norman Bell - DMV Clerk

Taglines: How do you wake up from a nightmare, if you're not asleep?

Release Date: 11 November 2004

Filming Locations: Barcelona, Cataluña, Spain

Box Office Details

Budget: $5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $64,661 (USA) (24 October 2004) (3 Screens)

Gross: $1,082,715 (USA) (7 April 2005)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | Turkey: (TV version)

Did You Know?

The time of 1:30 AM is significant throughout the movie. Trevor often notices something out of the ordinary at this time. During the 1 hour 30 minute mark in the movie, the major plot twist is revealed.

Revealing mistakes: The energy bill that Reznik opens, 20 minutes into the film, shows the unlikely meter number of "123-456789". Presumably it was hoped this would not be spotted with the distraction of the large FINAL NOTICE above it.

[first lines]
Ivan: Who are you?

User Review

A strong mood piece, but not for everyone

Rating: 8/10

There are many good things about The Machinist that are well deserving of praise. The very atmospheric nature of the film is supported very strongly by excellent performances all around. Christian Bale takes things to the extreme in his embodiment of his character. It is hard to take seeing him in his near-starvation body mass, which elevates the tension of this piece even further. The storyline leaves a little to be desired. While it creates its mood excellently, it does tend to plod along a little too much.

One thing that does stand out is how reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock this film plays. Almost everything about the film screams Hitchcock, from the editing of certain scenes (the driving sequences are very much in the style of Psycho) to the Bernard Herrmann-esquire score (lots of bass clarinet), the lack of fully-exploring/revealing some of the creepier points of the film (what is dripping from the fridge?), and the washed out, grainy photography. If you want to see what a film would look like if Hitchcock were alive to film it today, this is the closest thing you could probably come across. And if that was part of Brad Anderson's intention in directing this, I have to commend him on the execution because it is uncanny.

Overall, I would recommend this film, but not to casual movie-goers. This is very much a movie-phile experience for those who appreciate character development and cinematography as much as plot points and a storyline that can be defined and followed from one action to the next. In that way it is closer to films like Magnolia or the Others, where the apex is the characters. If you are looking for a typical popcorn Hollywood thriller, this is not what you are looking for.

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