The Machinist

Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 32
  2. Negative: 2 out of 32

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Critic Reviews

  1. A brilliantly honed tale of dementia, starring a skeletal Christian Bale as a tormented insomniac wasting away and terrorized by his irreal existence.
  2. Psychological suspense at its finest.
  3. 88
    Anderson gives The Machinist a sickly noirish look that contributes to the creeping horror - but it's the emaciated Bale's spectral presence that leaves the imprint.
  4. Bale is totally convincing, if not especially endearing.
  5. 80
    The Machinist is so brave and visually impressive, it should demand an audience.
  6. 75
    Director Brad Anderson tightens the screws of suspense, but it's Bale's gripping, beyond-the-call-of-duty performance that holds you in thrall.
  7. 75
    A harrowing experience for those to whom this sort of story appeals.
  8. Bale gives a near-great performance as a man with all the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia and the film weaves an ingenious psychological web.
  9. In the hands of a less talented filmmaker, The Machinist would have felt like a stunt. But Anderson, with a terrific assist from Bale, makes his character's plight achingly physical.
  10. 75
    A moody psychological thriller with a stunning performance by Christian Bale at its core.
  11. 75
    The director Brad Anderson, working from a screenplay by Scott Kosar, wants to convey a state of mind, and he and Bale do that with disturbing effectiveness.
  12. The film presents a compelling portrait of mental illness, but looking at Bale may make audiences feel as though they're watching a documentary.
  13. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    70
    An intense, precision-controlled psychological mystery built around a very creepy lead performance by Christian Bale.
  14. Not quite stunning enough to live up to a boldly bleak and unrelenting buildup.
  15. Here his (Bale's) physicality is repellent, yet he carries the occasionally creaky plot of Scott Kosar's unsettling screenplay to a resonant finish.
  16. Never gives us the nuts and bolts of mental illness and guilt, just the sight of cooped-up steam escaping from a valve that’s about to blow.
  17. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    63
    Give Anderson credit for at least sustaining a mood. This is the kind of all-or-nothing movie in which a filmmaker probably can't waver from his tone.
  18. An hallucinatory mix of the imagined and the real, all revolving around the mystery at the cold heart of the tale.
  19. 63
    Turns out to be something entirely different than it initially seemed, and while the conclusion brings everything to a logical close, it also renders the movie less interesting -- a stunt that didn't merit Bale's startling, and dangerous, transformation.
User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 335 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 46
  2. Negative: 4 out of 46
  1. Oct 1, 2011
    8
    Director Brad Anderson's "The Machinist" provides a great script with precise dialogue. However the film mostly succeeds in shocking theDirector Brad Anderson's "The Machinist" provides a great script with precise dialogue. However the film mostly succeeds in shocking the audience by the amazing performance of Christian Bale. Full Review »
  2. Aug 20, 2014
    9
    The Machinist is absolutely riveting. Anderson has create the type of movie where the viewer never knows what's real and what's not, and thereThe Machinist is absolutely riveting. Anderson has create the type of movie where the viewer never knows what's real and what's not, and there is a reasonable doubt to everything. Once it is revealed why the situation is like it is, everything makes sense. Aside from that, Christian acts wonderfully and is obviously committed to the role with how much weight he had to lose. There are subliminal messages, red herrings, and many hints expertly scattered throughout, as well as some meaningful themes and values. For those who like this genre, it's a must-see. Full Review »
  3. Sep 20, 2013
    8
    What we have here is a disturbing, distracting but important thriller which explores the boundaries and broken states of not only the humanWhat we have here is a disturbing, distracting but important thriller which explores the boundaries and broken states of not only the human body, but the mind as well, powerful as it is, it can also deceive to the point of self-destruction and doubt of oneself. Christian Bale is the almost unrecognisable lead in this sombre and dark piece, he plays a machine worker in a factory by day, and sits in an empty airport cafe by night, trying to overcome his year long insomnia. When we meet him, he seems to be in an unhealthy yet manageable state, going about his life, but Bale cuts a gaunt and sunken figure, losing extreme amounts of weight to play the part if routine worker Trevor Reznik, a man who alienates his co-workers and does the exact same thing day in and day out, until something shakes his routine and he begins to experience horrific events that he cannot explain nor can he piece together. He turns to a call girl called Stevie (Jennifer Jason Leigh), the only real friend he has, to get a second opinion on his dilemma.
    The Machinist studies the effects of traumatic events and how one can choose to repress and forget, Reznik is an emaciated yet focused individual, living a life by black and white rules while also trying to keep on top of everything through sticky notes and cleanliness. While the film studies the emotional impact and aftermath of life-changing events, it often tries to hard to hide its predictable plot which begins to unfold, this definitely distracts what could have been a near flawless thriller, but the deliberate attempts to mask the unwinding story and the distracting appearance of Bale at a mere 121 pounds stop this from happening. But there is still a thrilling story and an excellent performance from Bale, who clearly throws himself into his work and commits to the experience, there are of course arguments about how much actors and actresses get paid, but this is a prime example of money well spent, while harmful to himself, Bale proves his loyalty and willingness to his work, the performance outweighs the sombre and often slow paced film, it has an overall decent approach, but inconsistencies and deliberate out of focus points towards the audience, stop it from being truly great.
    Full Review »