Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Machinist

(El Maquinista, Spain, 2004)

I don’t know why the IMDb lists the Spanish title first, except that all the producers have Hispanic names. Oh, wait, I see that it was filmed in Barcelona. I’d never have guessed.

A man claims not to have slept in a year. I don’t even know if that’s possible, but you’d figure big-time hallucinations, so we assume a lot of what we see may not be real. His life is clearly coming apart, but he doesn’t seem to be a bad guy. A loner, but not crazed. He even has a sense of humor, and is reaching out to a waitress at the airport and a whore with a heart of gold. So you wonder what is really going on, and when you find out at least it’s not some lame SF idiocy or supernatural bullshit. It worked okay, in that it was believable, but still a bit of a letdown. The movie looks great in a creepy way, and the music is pure dark and spooky.

But the real story on this movie is that Christian Bale lost 60 pounds (from 180) to play it. I submit that this is insanity. This is health-threatening, and you can’t help stare at him. Looks like he just checked out of the Treblinka Holiday Inn. Okay, De Niro porked up for Raging Bull, and it was effective, and Renee Z. added weight for Bridget Jones and took it off for Chicago, but this is ridiculous. None of my business, of course, but I can express my disapproval, okay?