The Machinist (2004)

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Christian Bale plays an insomniac haunted by hallucinations and a constant feeling of deja vu. When he discovers a series of cryptic notes left for him by an unknown figure, he begins to fear for his sanity.

I’d heard a lot about this film, particularly involving Christian Bale’s dramatic weight loss and his physical transformation is remarkable. These kind of psycho dramas tend only to work if done with subtlety however; the best examples, Fight Club, Memento and The Sixth Sense are exercises in directorial expertise, the audience fed with misdirections and seeds of potential clues which in each case leads to a powerful climactic revelation. During this film I felt like I was having to clamber through a minefield of heavy-handed symbolism and hulking sign posts pointing to a conclusion that had been blatantly obvious for most of the film.

The Machinist is by no means a waste of time; Bale’s performance is magnificent and it is beautifully shot, but it lacks the complexity or depth to make it a truly satisfying experience.

5/10

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