Notable mostly for Christian Bale’s frightening emaciated appearance (“If you were any thinner, you wouldn’t exist…”), I found The Machinist most like a darker, non-satirical version of American Psycho, in which Bale also starred. The question is the same: how much of what we see is real, how much is a figment of Bale’s imagination? Is it all in his head, or is “someone” messing with his head? At one point he runs past a sign and the camera lingers on the one word printed on it – “Escape.” “Disappear Here,” anyone?
There are fine performances and a scary score, plus a ghost-house ride I wouldn’t mind going on for real But it’s not as original and unique as I’d heard. Bale’s great: but I think he’s done better. The weight thing will obviously lead some to say it’s one of the greatest performances of the year, especially when they start juxtaposing it with his Batman in 2005, but it’s no Patrick Bateman.