Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Machinist

Directed by Brad Andersen, written by Scott Kosar: Rating 9/10

Making movies is a highly complex process. And The Machinist demonstrates that perfectly. After not finding any funding for the movie for almost 2 years, Andersen and Kosar found a Spanish producer. Which meant that Barcelona had to be made to look like L.A, and that involved carefully making changes in everyday filming like replacing Spanish licence plates with American ones, Spanish traffic signs with English language props, etc. But the most challenging aspect of the movie had to be to get the lead actor to look like 120 pounds. How can a male look that skinny? By not eating ofcourse! And that is exactly what Christian Bale did -- he didn’t eat for an extended length and ends up looking like the human skeleton that was required for this role.

The story has shades of other movies ( Fight Club mostly and Memento to a lesser extent) and keeps one guessing as to what is going on -- Trevor Reznik has not been able to sleep for a year. He works the graveyard shift as a machinist. He is losing weight on a daily basis. Slowly, he starts losing his mind as well. Incidentally, he starts getting paranoid at the same time as he meets Ivan. Who is the mysterious Ivan? Images get hazy as Trevor tries to stay awake to find out what really is going on.

Overall, I quite liked this movie. The build up was amazing and even though the ending was subdued, it was logical. The entire movie is wickedly shot with excellent production values. The gray and dark visuals combined with the eerie background score give the movie a dark feel, something straight out of a Kafka novel. As far as the locations go, I think in a few scenes, I could make out that the setting was not America at all (I think the subway trains was one), but I figured it might have been a small American town which had some European elements. But I didn’t imagine the entire movie was shot in Barcelona.

And despite all the hardwork and sacrifice by the new Batman, did this movie really find an audience in North America? No. Making movies is a really complex process? No, that is incorrect. Making good movies is a really complex process!

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