The Machinist: Review and/or Commentary  

rm_smosmof2 68M
963 posts
8/3/2006 3:49 am

Last Read:
8/11/2006 9:14 pm

The Machinist: Review and/or Commentary

There are movies that never happened. Well, the movies happened, but the events depicted therein didn't.....even in the world that the movie takes place in, the story that we're seeing never took place. The most obvious example is The Usual Suspects. The Machinist is another. Certainly, there are portions of the film that may have existed in this man's reality, but he's too far gone to tell the difference, and neither can we.

This film has the same kind of appeal as watching a train wreck. Hey! That's not a bad thing.. there are two splendid train wrecks on film that I know of--Silver Streak and The Fugitive, both of which I find endlessly fascinating. One of my disappointments in Unbreakable is that the train wreck itself occurs off-screen, as it were. Trevor Resnick is a human train wreck. Thin to a point of starvation, he tells someone early on in the film that he hasn't slept for a year. This is the observant viewer's clue not to trust anything the man sees or believes....even if he could survive with a complete lack of sleep, the dream state would kick in and lead to psychosis, or something very much like it. So watching the film to obtain the clues on what's bothering Trevor Resnick is only interesting because he is, as portrayed by Christian Bale. Bale literally became the character he portrays, physically at least, reducing himself down to the 120 pounds that the character shows himself to be in one scene. We see enough of his body through the film that this is clearly not effects work--this is a body ravaged by denial.... Bale is fascinating and repelling (never repulsive) at the same time. Clearly this is a man on a self-destruction campaign, yet still somehow vulnerable and sympathetic.

The answers when they come tie up the loose ends of the story we've seen, if only to repeat the question of how much we saw was real, and how much only his delusion. The film is in such low contrast as to almost be black and white, and this contributes to the sense of unreality that pervades--the senses have been dulled to shut off the pain.

Recommendation depends on your taste in train wreckage....

moonlightphoenix 46F
6508 posts
8/3/2006 8:39 am

I loved this movie and concur with your review. I'm glad you enjoyed it...although I'm not sure if that's quite the right word.

Have you seen The Station Agent??

rm_smosmof2 replies on 8/3/2006 11:52 am:
Haven't seen station agent.... Yeah, this is another film that I can like without enjoying....

One of my favorite movies of the last six years, I have on dvd, but have never watched on dvd is Memento. I even specifically got the edition where you can watch to film in chronological sequence, but I haven't been able to watch it again, yet. Another film that falls in this category is Resevoir Dogs.

moonlightphoenix 46F
6508 posts
8/3/2006 3:45 pm

AHHHH... another two great movies!!! I've never watched Memento in chronological would be interesting. I did hear somewhere that there was a certain sequence you could punch in on the remote that would unlock and play it, but I never found out.

Resevoir Dogs is another one I own. Big QT fan. I can do without the gore (and this is one of his goriest, only outdone by Kill Bill)...but it's got a really stellar cast and the tension is absolutely perfect throughout.

Can't wait to see what you think of them...they are films I definitely enjoyed.

rm_smosmof2 replies on 8/7/2006 5:19 pm:
I agree with you on Tarentino's use of excessive gore, but I admit that on him it doesn't bother me much because it's sooooo over the top. It always reminds me of the babycart films (you know what I'm talking about, yes?).

The chronological version of Memento is only available on the Limited Edition two disk set, which, along with everything else, has very disturbing packaging.....

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