A psychological thriller in its purist form, The Machinist makes use of psychoanalytic concepts that some may appreciate such as projection, death drive, and psychosis. Repeat watchings of the film will reveal cinematic and editing techniques that expertly reinforce the narrative's incorporation of the aforementioned psychoanalytic concepts. This film is very nearly a simulation of dissociative identity disorder.
My thoughts after a second viewing, a decade later, are that I am still impressed with Bale's dozy and manic performance, but that I am less impressed with the overall style. Sun-scorched oranges, blown out whites, and overcast greens - the aesthetic feels heavy-handed alongside the sort of tongue-in-cheek noir homage cues (namely the twinkling score and one-dimensional plot). Overall though, it's still a good film.
This used to be one of my favorite movies in my teens. I remember admiring Bale for his suffering as well as his chilling performance. Furthermore the plot was exciting to me, so I'm kinda shocked by the low ratings here.
Good thriller with great atmosphere. The score especially stands out besides Bale´s performance. The story is not as clever as it might think but it doesn´t matter since Anderson really knows how to make it interesting throughout despite some pedestrian stretches. I also like the literary connections that Anderson has put in there for the viewer to find.
OMFG! Never have seen Christian Bale look that skinny and/or that fatigued before, it's a brilliantly-crafted & chilling psychological thriller done in the classic way of the masters behind this genre. Especially how the score sounded, that'll give you the chills as for the feel when seeing this film for the time. Bale, you were about to go out of your mind in it! 4/5
A great descent into madness, but it ignores the first rule for a good thriller: it's far too obvious and gives you all the answers on a plate. Bale is sexy even cadaveric, which made me feel a little necrophiliac. And I probably should sleep more.