IMDb Rating: 7,7/10
Genres: Drama, Thriller
Director: Brad Anderson
Writer: Scott Kosar
Stars: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón
Imsonia is one of the disorder that I hate more than anything and for people who always have this disorder, it’s so difficult to get rid of it. My experience didn’t sleep for one day has become a habit for myself and one of my friends has tried to not sleep for two days. But, what if you don’t sleep for a year? That is one impossible thing to do but some people have this fatal insomnia disorder. Well, have you ever heard of “The Machinist” behind the making of this movie? Of course, I’m talking about Christian Bale who is doing an extreme diet in order to become a real character in this movie. Before he cast in “Batman Begins,” Christian Bale went on a diet so that his weight dropped to 54 kg which was 82 kg. By just consuming a cup of coffee without sugar, a can of tuna, and an apple every day, Christian Bale seems a zombie when I watch this movie. In fact, the director Brad Anderson refused to Christian Bale who wanted to lose more weight again because it could endanger the actor’s health. Even so, “The Machinist” shows an unusual story about a mental disorder of a person and psychology in depth, especially insomnia.
Trevor Reznik is a machinist in a factory. An extreme case of insomnia has led to him not sleeping in a year, and his body withering away to almost nothing. He has an obsessive compulsion to write himself reminder notes and keep track of his dwindling weight, both scribbled on yellow stickies in his apartment. The only person he lets into his life in an emotional sense is Stevie, a prostitute, although he has an infatuation with Maria, a single mother waitress working in an airport diner. His co-workers don’t associate with and mistrust him because of not knowing what is going on in his life that has led to his emaciated physical appearance. A workplace incident further alienates him with his coworkers, and in conjunction with some unfamiliar pieces of paper he finds in his apartment, Trevor believes that someone or some people – probably one or some of his coworkers – are out to get him, using a phantom employee named Ivan as their front. As Trevor goes on a search for evidence as to Ivan’s schemes and whereabouts, Trevor may come to a true understanding of what has caused his insomnia.
“The Machinist” actually isn’t one of the psychological movies. Before this film, there were many films which discussed a depth psychology of a person such as “Fight Club,” “Taxi Driver,” “The Exorcist,” “Insomnia,” and etc. So, I think that Brad Anderson’s “The Machinist” is an ordinary movie for myself as a film enthusiast with a heavy theme. But, wait a minute. “The Machinist” is actually not about the story of a person’s intent from the beginning to the end but this film explores more about insomnia even as deep as possible into a more terrifying phase. Trevor Reznik, which Scott Kosar as the writer really loves Nine Inch Nails, represents a fatal insomnia disorder with various rage conflicts in his mind and even affect his own life. Trevor, who initially became someone who as a normal person for a long time became an anti-social person, even his friends were so worried about him who turned into a different person. In this film, I didn’t really care about the character but I care more about Christian Bale with a very worrying totality. In fact, he is no longer a Christian Bale which we always see in every movie. But, because of the story which was shown in this film, Trevor became more hallucinated in his past, a hangman puzzle games posted in his refrigerator, another person of himself, to dilemmas that destroyed him from outside and inside. So, I’m not really discussing how the process of the main character until he cure his insomnia but this film shows a plot-twist which at least entertaining to watch.
This film is also like a reality and dream tied into one. Kinda reminds me of “Paprika” which this movie came out in 2004 while “Paprika” came out in 2006. The answer to hallucinations seen as the true identity of Ivan is actually the viewers already know from the beginning. “The Machinist” also keeps a mystery that holds many other surprises to be witnessed by the viewers. Although there are a lot of movies which used concepts like this, what I feel from this film is that this film discusses more about one’s psychology even to the dark side about one’s personality, tension, hallucinations, mental breakdown, and etc. Because this film also used Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “The Idiot” as the main reference, if you read the novel it might be familiar with the used of similar characters such as Aitana Sánchez-Gijón as Marie and Matthew Romero Moore as Nicholas. This film seems like an indie horror movie that shows a dark and strong atmosphere, an aura of isolation about someone. Kinda reminds me of “Taxi Driver” about a person’s struggle for solitude against injustice from outside the zone. In addition, this movie cannot be separated from its mystery element. The viewers will guess more about Trevor’s character with a few clues that will become a plot twist at the end to make it more curious and so focused on itself. A puzzle in life that follows from Trevor allows us to compile all the puzzles with some available clues. However, I see that the plot twist isn’t too memorable because the viewers also know from the beginning of the circumstance about the character.
In addition to the Christian Bale’s extreme totality, we don’t forget the other actors and actresses who also showed their best performance. Jennifer Jason Leigh as Stevie is a character who becomes a subplot for Trevor’s character because their relationship is nothing more than a couple even though Stevie as a prostitute cocktail is nothing more than that too. Aitana Sanchez-Gijon as Marie is also no more than Stevie but is inversely proportional to the character. On the other hand, Trevor who likes to drink a cup of coffee and eat a slice of pie at the airport makes him more comfortable than being a quiet person. The two characters keep a guilty feeling about the clue investigated by Trevor so that it doesn’t mind it at all if you didn’t watch this movie yet. John Sharian as Ivan is a character who holds various mysteries and became one of the main points. As one that often bothered Trevor while he worked even caused Trevor to make an accident so that one of his co-workers lost his hand. With a twist ending that isn’t too focused, “The Machinist” actually tells the story about a process and an exploration of a person’s disorder. While looking for strong evidence of how the film would end, various clues will make you compile and interpret what the film is about.
“The Machinist” makes everyone assume about insomnia. What exactly is insomnia and why do we not always sleep at night? When for some didn’t like their disorder and wanna to cure it and for some people also like to do things like that at night, “The Machinist” makes an interesting assumption about the exploration of an insomnia, about what is the importance of getting up in the morning without doing anything or stay up at night without doing anything. It’s a contradiction between the two sides which some also stick to it. With a Christian Bale’s totality did an extreme diet, “The Machinist” is a not-too-heavy movie to be appreciated but it interesting to be analyzed together.