Directed by Brad Anderson. USA. 2004.

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Trevor Reznick is panicky, heís uncomfortable in whatever skin he has left on his bones, and heís totally breathtaking. I could not take my eyes off him for one moment. Maybe it was the morbid fascination with how someone alive could be that skinny, but it was also the fact that he couldnít stand still, but yet he wasnít really going anywhere.

Christian Bale has morphed into the ultimate insomniac. Whilst watching the film, I wondered whether the dark circles under his eyes were make-up or if they were actually real. The Machinist is one of the most troubling films 
Iíve seen all year. Not only does it confront the trauma, anxiety and paranoia of Trevor, but it engenders these conditions in the audience. There are some shocking scenes and an absolutely terrifying Exorcist-esque 
sequence in a fairground fun-house. My eyes were glued to the screen and my heart was pounding from the very beginning.

The film allows the audience to live through Trevorís eyes, and they are tired and veiled and worried. We notice various repetitions throughout the film which raise red flags in our minds, but we dismiss our concerns as we 
hungrily consume the film, waiting and worrying what Trevor will do next. Bale gives a shiver-inducing performance and must not go uncredited for his skeletal stage-(lack-of-)presence. In a film where he plays the protagonist, it is astounding how ghost-like and shadowy he is. The Machinist explores the aftermath of trauma in a realistic way; exploring the fragmentation and fragility of the human mind through an equally fragile and fragmented human being.

Shari Last
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