Movie Review: The Machinist

Genre: Low-key psychological thriller, maybe, or stylish, non-gore horror drama - I'm not sure. In general: This movie, featuring Christian Bale and Jennifer Jason Leigh, is one that I had been looking forward to seeing for some time, as I think both Bale and Leigh are good actors and the trailer seemed intriguing. Therefore, I had fairly high expectations, and I wasn't let down.

Very brief synopsis: Trevor is a lonely mechanic suffering from severe insomnia. He becomes the target of a plot to frame him for accidents and murders, and as he struggles to find out what's going on, he's also rapidly losing his grip on reality.

What's good: While the twist becomes rather obvious after a while, it doesn't matter too much as it's the acting and the cinematography which make the movie shine. Bale is supreme as the haunted machinist Trevor Reznek (and if that name isn't a homage to Trent Reznor, I don't know what is) and Leigh is equally capturing in her role. Furthermore, the overall creepiness - and there's a lot of that, especially if you're a fidgety sissy like me when it comes to horror - in this movie is due to lightning, framing and acting, rather than cheap all-of-a-sudden-effects and loads of gore. There's great imagery and lots of room for the cast to (gasp!) actually act.

What's bad: Well, as said, the plot is quite transparent, and while most of the cast is very good, there are a few letdowns. In addition, I am weary of seeing prostitution portrayed as less devastating than it actually is. Leigh does a great job with her part, but the scenography in her shots simply isn't believable.

Trivia: The setting is meant to be Los Angeles, but since the production team is Spanish, they decided to shoot the entire thing in Barcelona, of all places! This meant that they altered gazillions of details such as signs, traffic lights, cans, lighters, boxes, cars and so on, in order to make it look more American.

Grade:  A solid 4 out of 5


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