Yesterday Jonna and I rented The Machinist, a movie starring Christian Bale and Jennifer Jason Leigh and directed by Brad Anderson. We had remembered seeing the preview at the show and it looked like a really dark movie definitely worth a shot on video. It was definitely worth the shot.
The movie is about a machine worker who hasn’t slept in “about a year”. He is not sleeping or eating, and his weight has dropped to under 120 pounds. Christan Bale has never looked worse, choosing to completely emaciate himself for this role. His appearance alone is scary. He doesn’t look healthy at all and one may find themselves distracted with just how bad he looks. It really added a sense of realism to the story, even though it was extremely painful to look at.
The Machinist does a really good job providing a look at the effects that guilt can have on ones mental and physical well being. From this perspective, the movie was an excellent piece of work. The acting was incredible. I had only seen Christian Bale in the movie American Psycho (which I also liked by the way). This movie was a really different kind of movie and showed his versatility as an actor.
Overall I really liked the movie and what it was trying to express. However, the movie doesn’t move quickly — at all. You really need to be patient to get to the end of the film. Things plod along at a pretty slow rate and the characters shift locations almost immediately, jostling you into a “what the hell did I miss?” mentality. Later in the movie, the location shifts make sense, but you have to get to the end of the movie. There were definitely a few points where things weren’t moving fast enough that I wanted to just start reading or something just until “something started happening”. So be prepared for some slow story movement.
The thing about this one is, the payoff at the end of the movie ties everything together and makes the time spent well worth watching the movie. Its strange to say that, as I’m normally impatient sitting through slow moving stories, but this one was well worth the time.