The Machinist

2004

The Machinist

Critics Consensus

Brad Anderson's dark psychological thriller about a sleepless factory worker is elevated by Christian Bale astonishingly committed performance.

77%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 143

83%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 155,901
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Movie Info

Brad Anderson directs the psychological thriller The Machinist, a production of Spain's Filmax company. Christian Bale plays Trevor Reznik, a factory lathe operator who has developed a serious case of insomnia. Lack of sleep has already started to wear down on his brain and his body. When he's involved in an accident at work, his co-workers turn against him. He starts to find strange notes in his apartment and see people that apparently aren't there. Jennifer Jason Leigh stars as call girl Stevie. The Machinist premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for The Machinist

All Critics (143) | Top Critics (39)

  • Until now Bale's screen persona has been defined by a graceful athleticism; here his physicality is repellent, yet he carries the occasionally creaky plot of Scott Kosar's unsettling screenplay to a resonant finish.

    Oct 24, 2011 | Full Review…
  • One can't deny the dubious appeal of the spectacle of the skin-and-bone Bale, quite possibly endangering his health for the sake of his art.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Some people will pick up the clues early in The Machinist and some won't. I got some, not all, but I remained unengaged throughout, largely because of the film's deliberateness, which feels like lack of passion.

    Jun 10, 2005 | Full Review…
  • You'll join the dots in Anderson's thriller within the first five minutes - a real crying shame since Bale deserved much more for his pound -- or 63 -- of flesh.

    Jan 26, 2005 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Jamie Russell

    BBC.com
    Top Critic
  • [Bale's] is a great performance, full of commitment and sacrifice, and The Machinist is one of the year's best films.

    Dec 10, 2004 | Rating: 5/5
  • It's one of those movies that you admire more than you enjoy, but Anderson and Kosar are clearly talents to watch.

    Dec 3, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Machinist

  • Dec 08, 2015
    "The Machinist" is a superb film drama film of 2004. "The Machinist" has superb acting there is no overselling performances or weak every actor/actress in this film is great, this film especially has great acting from "Christian Bale" and "John Sharian". The plot "The Machinist" is amazing, it's so exciting through out the movie, another thing that makes this movie better is it be so unpredictable. The music in "The Machinist" is great, it makes the intense scenes so amazing. The drama in "The Machinist" is handled well the movie could've been handled very badly and been so many plot holes, but director "Brad Anderson" and writer "Scott Kosar" made the movie right. One of my favourite things about this film is that it's filmed so incredibly, the scenes are filmed perfect, there's no Shaking from the camera man, this film is so beautiful thanks to the way it was filmed. If you are a person who enjoys psychological drama films then I highly recommend you watch "The Machinist" as it is a superb film of 2004. I give "The Machinist" an 8/10.
    Steve G Super Reviewer
  • Jul 14, 2015
    Christian Bale's dramatic physical transformation proves not to be the main attraction in this dark, gripping, slow-burn psychological thriller.
    Isaac H Super Reviewer
  • May 02, 2015
    Way better than expected. Surprisingly, Christian Bale isn't the only one worth seeing here. Great film.
    Maymay A Super Reviewer
  • Apr 24, 2014
    Insomnia is an all too common writing device that lends itself in creating a story where the lead character reality conflicts with the actuality of the world. Much like Aspergers, Insomnia is highly favored in its usage to add flair to a story that in a direct narrative wouldn't have worked. "The Machinist" is such a case by removing a linear narrative and eliminating conventional characteristic is an psychological thriller that delivers one stimulating and thought provoking experience. The Machinist is about an industrial worker who hasn't slept in a year doubting his own sanity. Its protagonist, Trevor Reznik, starts off as a sympathetic blank page. Merely creating an image of man who from the setup is seen doing something bad, but upon viewing him live appears to be an innocent man suffering without a crime committed. Reinforcing a positive image on Reznik personality and questionable one about his lifestyle. Once Reznik is setup as a character the next step is to fill in the blank to how he got to where he ended up. Steadily through the course of the movie more about Reznik is revealed entirely through his dialogue. While visuals do play a factor in understanding Reznik psyche, it's not on the same level as the spoken words. Revealing Reznik entire life story indirectly to the audience with Reznik interactions. Reznik is by definition and description is average, but his action in delicate situations suggest otherwise. Until the revelation near the end Reznik maps other suffering onto himself. Turning exterior conflicts into internal ones when Reznik is uncovering himself through the worst possible action. Aside from Reznik, another plot device is a hangman game on a post-it note. The word only has six letters and the last two letters are filled out. If this plot device was to be removed it would have taken away from the writing. It understands that the journey it more pivotal than it's predictable destination. Because of it, the word can be guessed correctly or make a guess that comes close to it, but doesn't detract from its story. Instead it adds a dimension that's worth examining. Alongside his trouble psyche, poor physical conditions, and now his inability to defeat guilt are all traits that follow him. Weaving an intelligent, psychological thriller that is both hard to read in development and engaging in its complicated protagonist. Director Brad Anderson creates an uneasy atmosphere at a steady pace. A bleak, nearly colorless look, sadness and dread combined to portray the world through Reznik eyes. The atmosphere is aided by Roque Banos' moody score, but it is especially conveyed by the tasty cinematography, which is extremely desaturated--almost approaching black and white at times. It suggests an appropriate desolation. This is also reflected in the locations and set designs. Everything relating to Trevor current matter in his apartment, the machine shop, or in his car is in muted, blue-gray tones. As if fabricated by some unknown nature that has a score to settle with Reznik. Playing with his head that those around are after him. In contrast to the brightly lit scenes that highlight a real world quality to them. Not removing itself from tragedy, Reznik in brightly lit scenes feels naturalistic. Never does he feel anything in particular is dead set against him in the bad turn of events finding some truth to them. Christian Bale is skeletal as Trevor and visually captivating in embodying all his flaws. Christian Bale more than visually matches his part, but acts it with the same level of dedication. His physical appearance becomes a part of the character not so much the sole characteristic of the character or Bale performance. Physically we see Bale for the broken and hollow man he is, but also adds a trait of humor when joking about his skinny body. Bale portrays he can fit into society, and shows various traits of an unstable mind with his obsession that turns into rage. Becoming another broken person and not just a walking skeleton. The rest of the cast is overshadowed by Christian Bale terrific performance. They do a solid job even if they don't leave a big impression. John Sharian plays pretty much a "Devil" type character with his sinister smile and deep voice. To say there's nothing subtle about his performance is understatement, but rather fits the role just fine. He's energetic always hinting at something sinister with his line delivery. Jennifer Jason Leigh much like her other co-stars is given a single personality just like Aitana Sanchez Gijon. Aitana Sanchez is more cheering and Jason Leigh is broody. Their characters receive minimal amount of development, but can't do anything beyond the exterior of the characters. The Machinist is a steadily paced psychological thriller driven by one character and actor. Christian Bale becomes Trevor Reznik disappearing into the role matching it perfectly both physically and in his portrayal. Bale performance alone would warrant "The Machinist" is worth viewing, but add an intelligent story and with a physiologically broken lead you have a film that demands your attention.
    Caesar M Super Reviewer

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