In this slick little psychologicla thriller from director Brad Anderson, Christian Bale plays Trevor Reznik, a lathe operator at an industrial machine shop whose life is really in a bad way: he's been unable to sleep for around a year, he's lost an extreme amount of weight, he begins to see thigns that are merely hallucinations, and, after these distractions cause him to maim a co-worker in a gruesome accident, things really get worse: his co-workers turn against him, he starts recieving cryptic messages left on post-it notes, and it becomes harder and harder for him to determine what's really going on.
The basic premise is nothing new at all, and there are times when this variation on a theme moves along decently, but overall, there's really not enough here to make it stand out. Even though the film has a great atmosphere, and the set up is nicely done with lots of moodiness and mystery, the end result really doesn't addd up to much, the conclusion is unsatisfying, and it really seeems too jumbled t work like it should. Some of the cinematography is decent, I'll give it that, but unfortunately there's an overuse of washed-out blue tint to everything, and it's overbearing after a while.
The score is good though. It's very Bernard Herrmannesque, and that's fitting. That's one thing that I really don't have much of an issue with, if ast all. Now, we come to the acting. I love Bale. He's a really good actor, but here, the ONLY thing about his performance that really stands out and is worth mentioning is the ridiculous amlunt of weight he lost. He lost a record breaking amount of over 60 lbs in order to illustrate just how deterioriated Trevor had become mentally and physically. That's defintiely impressive, as is the fact that he was able to gain in all back in time for Batman Begins. However, the strength of his overall performance cannoit be judged by his dedicated method acting alone. Take away the weight loss, and his take on a guy wit ha severely fractured mental state is rather run of the mill and underwhelming. Jennifer Jason Leigh does pretty decent though as Stevie- an affectionate prostitute who seems ot be Trevor's only real source of comfort. John Sharian is quite good though, and probably gets the best role as Trevor's mysterious nemesis like figure Ivan. I do enjoy Michael Ironside, and heck, even Larry Gilliard, but those two really could have used more screentime (and Gilliard deserve a lon of more work in general anyway).
All in all, this could have been a real stunner. Unfortunately, it doesn't all quite come together, and, despite a few really good and well done moments, as well as some decent mystery and atmosphere, the final product is just rather blah and seems ot be relying on Bale's method work to carry everything.