Volume 11, Number 25
5 Aprýl 2005

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Atii.jpg (5753 bytes)Warning: If you haven't seen "The Machinist," please hold off on reading this review until afterwards.
Are you okay?
- Don't I look okay?
Gosh! If you were any thinner, you wouldn't exist!
These lines will sound familiar if you saw the movie "The Machinist." The reason is that the conversation above sheds light on the physical appearance of Christian Bale, which is combined with a style of acting far stronger than that seen in any standard movie. "The Machinist" is a dark film, and its genre is a combination of thriller, mystery, drama and (a little bit of) horror.
The leading roles are shared among Christian Bale ("Equilibrium"; "American Psycho"), Jennifer Jason Leigh ("Road to Perdition"; "In the Cut"), Aitana Sánchez-Gijón and John Sharian. The movie is a deep character analysis, featuring Bale as the main character, Trevor. For almost two hours, you try to figure out what's going on in Trevor's head. Either Trevor is crazy, or the people around him are. It's not hard to figure out that there's a problem with Trevor, because he acts completely weird and psychic. As the movie progresses, he puts the blame on people around him, because he believes that he's normal while they're all crazy. However, this chaos arises from the anguish of his guilty mind, and Trevor himself is the main problem.
This film relies on the technique of reverse storytelling, where you know the results but have to watch the movie almost right up to the end to learn the reasons behind them. However, you might be able to completely figure out some aspects of these reasons as early as the beginning scene. Since there is no clear correlation between the beginning and following scenes, there appears to be a gap. It's too much of a cliché to start a movie with a scene like this, which tells you what type of storytelling you're going to see.
During almost the entire movie, the images are captured in gray or black and white tones. This is an effective way to enhance the atmosphere created by the story. In addition to the colors in the background, in the foreground we have Christian Bale, who lost almost 60 pounds and played this role weighing only 119 pounds (54 kg). I mean, he is simply a combination of skin, bones and haunted eyes. It may not be important to you how much weight he lost, but his physical transformation is a convincing piece of acting. Throughout the movie, we see this skinny, ugly character. Although it's really great to combine physical appearance and artistic performance, at some points it was unnecessary to further sharpen this visual effect, because the images force the audience to focus on gaunt bodies.
Believe you me, most of you are familiar with this type of movie, where everything seems to be disconnected until the end. You wait for hours and hours (actually nearly two hours--hahaha), and at last the whole movie becomes logical/ meaningful during the final scenes. Besides, even though the crew tried to make the film mysterious, it is almost impossible not to see when Trevor is dreaming, and when he is not.
So, if you feel like you need to be excited, confused, and a little bit scared (this depends on whether or not you figure out what's going to happen next), "The Machinist" is an above-average film for you to see. Have a scary and mysterious day! Ok, just kidding, have a nice day and be cool! :)


Atilla Karakurum (IE/IV)


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