Movie Talk

Busy day, lots of work, no time to blog, yadda yadda yadda. Unwound this evening with “The Machinist” after the work was done.

What an awful way to unwind. What an amazing movie.

It’s packaged like a horror movie. It’s shot like a horror movie. It is, I suppose, a horror movie. But then you reach the end and realize it really quite isn’t.

Christian Bale lost 60 pounds for the role of Trevor Reznik, a factory worker who hasn’t slept in a year. I’m a Bale fan, and have been for years – even enjoyed him in “Equilibrium,” which might be the silliest concept ever played out so seriously. But Bale made it work, even the totally unbelievable “gunkata” fights. In “The Machinist,” we don’t get those movie star good looks. We get a skeleton of a man speaking with Bale’s voice. Unsettling, to say the least.

I won’t try to describe the plot. You’ll just have to figure that a guy who works around heavy machinery and hasn’t slept for twelve months, isn’t going to keep his sanity.

As entertainment, it does what it aims to do: Creeps you out for ninety minutes, and lets you enjoy some (typically) fine performances from Bale, Michael Ironside, and (schwing!) Jennifer Jason Leigh. As a movie with a message, that’s where “The Machinist” really shines. I won’t even hint at the ending, except to say that it’s powerful, positive, and not at all what you’d expect.

Let me emphasize that middle point again. Despite the creepiness, despite Bale’s hollowed-out self (physically and spiritually), and despite the gloomy color scheme, this is a movie with a positive message. In fact, if my kid inherits his/her old man’s penchant for horror movies, I’ll encourage them to watch it years before the R rating would suggest. There’s nothing quite like sneaking a lesson in past a little gore and a couple of nipples.

See it if you haven’t already.

UPDATE: Just a quick word about those aforementioned nipples. Even at the age of 43, Jennifer Jason Lee still has the finest B-cups in all of Hollywood. This I say as I dedicated leg man.