The Machinist: Wikis


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The Machinist

Promotional poster for The Machinist
Directed by Brad Anderson
Produced by Fantastic Factory (Filmax/Casteleao Producciones)(Spain)
Written by Scott Kosar
Starring Christian Bale
Jennifer Jason Leigh
John Sharian
Aitana Sánchez-Gijón
Michael Ironside
Music by Roque Baños
Cinematography Sylvia Steinbrecht[1]
Release date(s) January 18, 2004 (USA)
Running time 102 min.
Language English

The Machinist (also known as El Maquinista) is an English-language Spanish-made psychological thriller film directed by Brad Anderson that was released in 2004. The film was written by Scott Kosar, and starred Christian Bale. It was produced by the Fantastic Factory label of Filmax and Castelao Productions (Spain).



Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) is a machinist who has had chronic insomnia for a year and has progressively lost weight to the point where he has become severely emaciated. His alarming appearance and strange behavior cause his co-workers to stay away from him; they eventually turn on him after he is involved in a machine accident that costs a man, Miller (Michael Ironside), his left arm. Trevor, who was distracted by an unfamiliar co-worker named Ivan (John Sharian), bears the blame for the accident. No one at the factory knows of Ivan and there are no records that he is an employee. Trevor seems to find peace only in the arms of Stevie (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a prostitute who develops genuine affection for him, or in the company of Maria (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón), a waitress at the airport diner where he spends many of his nights.

Trevor is haunted by brief flashes of recurring imagery, and everyday objects take on a menacing air, like the car cigarette lighter he seems almost afraid to touch. A mysterious series of post-it notes that appear on his refrigerator depict a game of hangman; these vaguely threatening incidents send Trevor further into paranoia. Another near-accident at work causes him to lash out in incoherent rage at his co-workers and as a result he is fired. Trevor is no longer able to think clearly, and begins to suspect that the bizarre events in his life are a concentrated effort to drive him insane, ideas which are fed by small clues, such as a picture of Ivan fishing with one of Trevor's old co-workers, a man named Reynolds. He nevertheless attempts to establish a tentative romantic relationship with Maria. Meeting her at an amusement park, Trevor accompanies her son Nicholas on a grotesque funhouse ride called "Route 666", that causes the boy to suffer an epileptic seizure.

Growing increasingly distracted and alienated, Trevor forgets to pay his utility bills and his electricity is disconnected. A dark, viscous liquid begins trickling out of the freezer, eventually coating the refrigerator door with streaked lines of what appear to be blood.

After several unsuccessful attempts at confronting Ivan, Trevor tries to trace him through his license plate. He follows Ivan's car to read its license plate just before his gas runs out. When the DMV clerk insists that he cannot release personal information unless a crime has been committed, Trevor throws himself in front of a car in order to accuse Ivan of committing a hit and run. After filing a police report with Ivan's plate number, the battered Trevor is dumbfounded when the investigator tells him that the car in question is his own: Trevor reported the vehicle destroyed one year ago.

He runs from the baffled policemen and goes to see Stevie, who clothes and washes him. However, Trevor finds the fishing picture of Ivan and Reynolds in her home and accuses her of conspiring against him. Stevie is confused and says the picture is of him -- Trevor, not Ivan -- but Trevor refuses to look at it. After a short fight, Trevor is thrown out.

In the film's climax, Trevor sees Ivan take Nicholas, who appears to have been kidnapped, into Trevor's apartment. Fearing the worst, Trevor sneaks inside. Nicholas is nowhere to be seen and does not respond to Trevor's calls. Trevor confronts Ivan in the bathroom, and asks him what he has done with Nicholas. Ivan tells him "you know he's dead". Trevor struggles with and ultimately kills Ivan, then flings open the shower curtain, expecting to see Nicholas' dead body but the bathtub is empty. He walks out to his refrigerator and opens it to find dead fish. His mind then flashes back to the fishing photo, which now shows a heavier, healthier Trevor with his co-worker Reynolds, just as Stevie claimed. Ivan was never in the photo; Trevor imagined it.

The scene then returns to one which occurred during the opening credit roll, in which Trevor tries to dispose of someone's corpse (presumably Ivan's), rolling it in a rug and struggling to cast it into the ocean. When the rug unravels, there is nothing inside. Ivan, very much alive, appears holding a flashlight, laughing. Trevor, suddenly home again and staring at himself in the mirror, begins to repeat "I know who you are." The hangman game on his refrigerator has filled in the letters as "Killer." He then recalls his own role in a hit-and-run accident a year ago, in which he ran over and killed a boy identical to Nicholas after taking his eyes off the road for a moment to use the car's cigarette lighter. The boy's mother, who he knows as Maria the waitress, was present; Trevor fled the scene.

Trevor briefly considers going to the airport and escaping, but instead he goes to the police station, escorted by an encouraging but silent Ivan, who bids him adieu from outside the station. At the front desk he confesses his crime from one year earlier. With his guilty conscience finally at peace, Trevor falls asleep in a holding cell for the first time since the accident.


Bale lost more than 27 kg (60 pounds) for his role in The Machinist.

Despite its setting in a West Coast American city, the film was shot in its entirety in and near Barcelona, Spain.

Christian Bale starved himself for over four months prior to filming, as his character needed to look drastically thin. Allegedly his eating consisted of one cup of coffee and an apple (or a can of tuna) each day (approximately 1.2 kilojoules, or 275 calories).[2] According to the DVD commentary, he lost 28 kilograms (62 lb), reducing his body weight to 54 kilograms (120 lb). Bale wanted to go down to 45 kilograms (99 lb) but the filmmakers would not let him due to health concerns. He later regained the weight, plus an additional 18 kilograms (40 lb) due to weightlifting, and proper eating, in preparation for his role in Batman Begins.

Brad Anderson hurt his back during filming and directed much of the film while lying on a gurney.[3]


The name Trevor Reznik is derived from Trent Reznor, the founder and primary creative force behind the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, and the original script had NIN lyrics on the first page.[3] Other NIN tributes include the reversed N on the movie poster and early press articles describing Reznik as experiencing a "downward spiral".

However, the strongest influence is the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky. In the DVD commentary, Scott Kosar states that he was influenced by Dostoyevsky's The Double: A Petersburg Poem. The character Reznik is shown reading Dostoyevsky's The Idiot early in the film. When Reznik is riding the "Route 666" attraction, one of the faux movie marquees reads Crime and Punishment.


The Machinist was well received critically with the review tallying website Rotten Tomatoes reporting that 75% of the critics' reviews tallied were positive.[4]


Actor Role
Christian Bale Trevor Reznik
Jennifer Jason Leigh Stevie
John Sharian Ivan
Aitana Sánchez-Gijón Maria
Michael Ironside Miller
Anna Massey Mrs. Shrike
Larry Gilliard Jr. Jackson
Reg E. Cathey Jones
James DePaul Reynolds

See also


External links

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