Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Kirk’s Movie Review - The Machinist By: Kirk bage

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In his most high-profile feature to date, founder of Nomad films and relatively inexperienced helmsman, Brad Anderson, tries to deliver something with the spine-tingle of a Hitchcock and the savvy of a Fight Club or a Memento - and fails admirably on both counts. The problem is that he underestimates his audience, signposting plot devices too blatantly and embellishing scenes that would have been better served with stillness and eerie silence with melodramatic music and flashback imagery. You can see what he aspires to, and there are promising moments in the washed out cinematography and use of character, but ultimately you are left feeling (and it's a familiar feeling) that this could have been so much better in the right hands. What is notable, of course, is Christian Bale, and the fact that he lost X amount of weight to do the role. Man, he wasn't messing around! More bone than flesh, and reminiscent of a prisoner of war, he creates a striking, haunting, disturbing image that stays with you long after the DVD has been returned. And it's not just his physical aspect that is startling - it's a terrific performance of a man lost in paranoia, guilt and sleeplessness: every time his eyelids droop, we find ourselves begging the Gods of cinema to let the poor fucker nod off for a bit. But no. Just a shame then that with this much (some would say psychotic) commitment he didn't get a better film to surround him. It was nice to see Jennifer Jason Leigh again (she doesn't make enough films), and she was fine, but the supporting cast never seemed more than extras in a horror film (the appearance of Michael Ironside, for one, is never a good sign). I just felt that every time it got interesting and approached new territory it shied away just as quickly and subsided into the mediocre, badly scripted, or just plain daft. Worthy of a remake, but God, please don't make Batman go on that diet again!!! 6/10

1 comment:

Mark said...

Personally, I rather liked the film when I saw it at the cinema. Maybe it's one of those films that loses something on the small screen. But then, I thought Memento was over-rated, and while I love Fight Club, it was never that innovative story-wise either.