The Machinist

The Machinist (2004)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Ironside
Extras: Commentary Track, Deleted Scenes, Featurette, Trailer

’The Machinist’ is a dark and often times gritty-looking film that has the right mix of dark humor to take the viewer inside the world of a shockingly, ghostly-looking insomniac, Trevor Reznik, played by Christian Bale (who reportedly lost sixty or more pounds to play the role). Trevor is a factory worker who seeks frequent companionship as well as a friendship in a lonely hooker named Stevie, played brilliantly by Jennifer Jason Leigh. ’The Machinist’ is a fresh and original film from director Brad Anderson that plays out like a great mystery that Hitchcock himself would be proud to see, right down to the haunting film score from composer Roque Banos. This often paranoid and nightmarish tale has Trevor having to distinguish between what fantasy is and what actual reality is, right up until the final scenes of the film are revealed.

Paramount Pictures presents ’The Machinist’ in an almost flawless, anamorphic enhanced widescreen transfer, displaying the film’s original aspect ratio. The deep, rich blacks help showcase the night scenes with great shadow detail and the intentional washed-out blues and grays are well defined in the presentation.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is well balanced showcasing the film’s excellent score. Sound dispersion is well placed and dialogue comes across as very clear and natural sounding. There is subtle use of the surround and low frequency channels that bring the ambience of the factory scenes to life. A Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is also available.

Extras include a 25-minute documentary titled ’The Machinist: Breaking the Rules’, eight deleted/extended scenes and an audio commentary by director Brad Anderson. Rounding out the extras on the DVD is a theatrical trailer and previews for other various Paramount Pictures Classics films.

’The Machinist’ won’t appeal to everyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed this film that will more than likely gain a true cult following on the DVD format.