30 Day Film Challenge - 1. My Favourite Film

Aaaarrrggghhh! This is such a hard one for me, as I'm sure it would be for most people. The reason being is that my 'favourite' film changes all the time. I could go for years with one film holding a special place in my heart and then I see something that blows me away, which changes everything. Maybe I am fickle? I don't know. 
Anyway, the one I've chosen is.... (drum roll pleaese...)

The Machinist

This is a fairly recent watch for me. I don't understand why I had never seen it before because I was in complete awe of it from beginning to end. It's very rare that a film with a guaranteed twist can take me right to the conclusion without even an inkling.It's even rarer that after watching a film, I would then restart it straight away to watch it again. The Machinist did all of that and more.

I knew the film starred  Christian Bale but as his eyes widened with shock or horror in the opening scenes so did mine. I didn't recognise him. I know him as Batman, strong in physique and stature but the figure on my screen was literally skin and bone. He was zombified and wraith like, a freak of nature that I was almost afraid to look at too closely. His character Trevor Reznik hasn't slept for a year, eats very little and seems to have the weight of the gloomy world he lives in on his shoulders. Bale obviously took all of this board in his preparation by loosing a reported 62 pounds and taking method acting to a whole new level.

Reznik, a metal shop worker is trapped in a nightmarish state of paranoia convinced that someone is out to get him. With few friends and his work mates turning against him he flickers from reality to hallucination and back again as his  psychological torment descends into utter chaos. The question is, whether that chaos is all in the mind or if the newcomer in his life, the peculiar Ivan played by John Sharian (Fifth Element, Saving Private Ryan) holds the key to the mystery.

The mood of the film is haunting. It's atmospheric in the heaviest sense. With it's washed out look and prominent hues of blue and grey director Brad Anderson echoes Reznik's character perfectly making the world he lives in consume him utterly.The mounting tension felt by Reznik is passed through the screen with eery easiness and although slow in build up the film doesn't seem to loose pace.

Although, probably not the most original of story lines writer Scott Kosar has a subtlety that only allows one peek under the shrouds of mystery at a time. It was this concise splattering of cryptic clues throughout that forced my second viewing and even now, I still notice the new. 

Kosar, Anderson and Bale work together like a triple threat with motif and actions that demand second guessing and I jumped to all manner of conclusions in my head before the end played out. It isn't a pretty film and neither did it leave me with a nice feeling in my stomach. It is cohesive though with a harrowing soundtrack to add to the thrills. It's entertaining and it deserves to be watched.

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