The Machinist (2004) – Four More Letters

Insomnia is one of the disorders that I hate more than anything. 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. 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. He was doing an extreme diet to become a real character.

Before he cast in “Batman Begins,” Christian Bale went on a diet. His weight dropped to 54 kg which was 82 kg. He just consuming a cup of coffee without sugar, a can of tuna, and an apple every day. Christian Bale seems like a zombie when I watch this movie. The director, Brad Anderson, refused to Christian Bale who wanted to lose more weight again. 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.

“The Machinist” actually isn’t one of the psychological movies. Before this film, many films discussed the depth psychology of a person. There were “Fight Club,” “Taxi Driver,” “The Exorcist,” “Insomnia,” and more. So, I think that Brad Anderson’s “The Machinist” is an ordinary movie as a film enthusiast with a heavy theme. But, wait a minute. “The Machinist” is not about the story of a person’s intent from the beginning to the end. This film explores more about insomnia even as deep as possible into a more terrifying phase.

Trevor Reznik represents a fatal insomnia disorder with various rage conflicts. By the way, Scott Kosar as the writer loves Nine Inch Nails. Trevor at first became a normal person into an anti-social person. His friends were so worried about him who turned into a different person. In this film, I didn’t care about the character. I care more about Christian Bale with a very worrying totality.

He is no longer a Christian Bale which we always see in every movie. Trevor became more hallucinated in his past. A hangman puzzle games posted in his refrigerator, another person of himself, dilemmas that destroyed him from outside and inside. So, I’m not discussing how the process of the main character until he cures his insomnia. This film shows a plot-twist which at least entertaining to watch.

This film is also like reality and dreams 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 the viewers already know from the beginning. “The Machinist” also keeps a mystery that holds many other surprises witnessed by the viewers. There are a lot of movies that used concepts like this. What I feel from this film is that it discusses more about psychology to the dark side. It’s about personality, tension, hallucinations, mental breakdown, etc. This film used Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “The Idiot” as the main reference. If you read the novel, it might be familiar with the similar characters’ names 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 the “Taxi Driver” about a person’s struggle for solitude against injustice from outside the zone. Also, it cannot separate from its mystery. 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. “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? People didn’t like their disorder and wanna cure it. Some people also like to do things like that at night. This movie makes an interesting assumption about the exploration of insomnia. What is the importance of getting up in the morning without doing anything? Stay up at night without doing anything? It’s a contradiction between the two sides which some also stick to it. Christian Bale’s totality did an extreme diet. “The Machinist” is a not-too-heavy movie but it interesting to analyze in-depth.

4 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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