Weighing in at a mere 130 pounds, Christian Bale (“American Psycho”) is grotesquely thin in Brad Anderson’s new film “The Machinist.” Bale lost more than 60 pounds for the role of Trevor Reznik, putting to shame Tom Hanks’s startling weight loss for 2000’s “Cast Away.” The inflated amount of media attention directed at Bale’s blatant and masochistic disregard for personal safety may seem a gimmicky attempt to generate exposure for the independent film, but Bale’s skeletal protagonist has a good reason to look like the walking dead — he hasn’t slept in a year.
A tormented and paranoid insomniac, Reznik spends most of his days at work as a lathe-operator, occasionally breaking from his job in order to flirt with diner waitresses or fall into a call girl’s meaty arms. Reznik’s mysterious inability to sleep is the backbone of the simple plot, but the answer to this puzzle becomes irrelevant once the film’s dark mood is established.
Director of photography Xavi Gimenez and art director Alain Bainee employ a bleak industrial setting and muted, monotone lighting to complement the grim, emaciated figure of Reznik. The movie’s surreal, murky colors, complemented by Roque Ba