Sunday, December 05, 2004

The Machinist (IMDB) (Netflix)
If you've heard of this movie, you know that actor Christian Bale lost sixty-three pounds for his role, and it's not like he had many of them to spare. He is beyond gaunt, completely unable to sleep, and yes, it's getting to him. As life becomes all-the-more bewildering, he finds partial solace in two women, a waitress with a heart of gold (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon) a similarly equipped hooker (Jennifer Jason Leigh, for at least the third time in her career). Even without the private detective, this could not be noir-er.

One thing about losing sixty-three pounds, the skeleton does all the acting for you. But Bale's specialty is the intense character study (American Psycho), which will serve him well as he becomes the next Batman, so it's a double treat. Yet the pacing calls for dragline buckets of patience as Bale tries to make sense of what's happening to him and why. Some similarities to Memento, but with less inventiveness and verve. Go for the performance, not the story.