[[image:090519_machinist.jpg:The Machinist:right:0]]The Machinist is a well-known film, but mostly because of the insane amount of dedication Christian Bale showed for the role. If you’ve seen any of the trailers of promotional stills, you realize how much weight Bale lost to portray the lead character, Trevor Reznik (in a small nod to the screenwriters favorite band Nine Inch Nails). The Christian Bale that stars in this movie is unrecognizable as the same man who starred in Equilibrium and American Psycho, and looking at his gaunt, 120lb frame it is unbelievable that the next film he shot was Batman Begins. There is a rumor that the producers of the Batman reboot lost their minds when Bale showed up early in the preproduction process looking so unlike a superhero.
Christian Bale’s physical transformation for the role of Reznik has overshadowed the movie itself, which is director Brad Anderson’s follow up to the cult classic Session 9 and seems similar, at least at first. Reznik is an insomniac factory worker who claims he hasn’t slept for a year. He is haunted by a man who he thinks means him harm, but no one else believe exists. Someone is leaving inscrutable messages on post-it notes in his apartment which seem more and more sinister. The story of the film follows Reznik as he uncovers the truth behind the strange things that are happening to him — a truth that the audience senses he might not want to hear.
[[image:090519_machinist2.jpg::left:0]]The movie is obviously being released on BD to try and get some spillover from Terminator: Salvation, but I think fans of “action hero” Bale might be shocked to see him in this film. Although, if the rumors are true about how incredibly dark the new Terminator is, it might end up being an excellent choice for a double-feature after all.
Another tie-in you might consider is that Brad Anderson directed four episodes of the first season of Fringe, including the excellent finale. While Session 9 is a ghost story and The Machinist is something else, something I don’t want to spoil, I still think that Fringe and Brad Anderson are a match made in heaven.
Early reviews indicate that the new version of Terminator 2 hitting Blu-ray this week has a significantly poorer image than the previously released BD. This is because the producers of the disc fell prey to the current trend in HD transfers of trying to remove all the film grain, which results in a very soft image and a loss of a lot of fine detail. Apparently the guys at the studios who make these kinds of decisions think that consumers expect every BD to look as crisp as a Pixar movie or something shot digitally. We don’t mind film grain! This trend is as annoying and wrong-headed as when it was difficult to get a movie on home video in its original aspect ratio. Eventually most consumers were educated about the benefits of widescreen vs pan and scan or open-matte, and now it is hard to find fullscreen transfers outside of Wal-Mart. I think most HD consumers, given the choice, would rather have film grain that preserves the cinematographers original intentions than a soft-image scrubbed clean of grain. Just look at the outcry regarding the new Star Trek movie Blu-ray discs: some Trek fans are demanding a recall and repress, so much do they dislike the transfer quality on a few of the films in the set, caused once again by this wrongheaded impulse to remove film grain.
Thanks for reading Add to Queue, GameSpite’s weekly round-up of US Blu-ray release highlights. Sorry, rest of the world; region locks are the industry’s way of saying they still don’t understand the Internet. Well, don’t look so surprised. Even a call girl can scramble an egg. Cover art courtesy of Amazon. Follow Levi Tinney on Twitter, or add him to your PSN or XBL friends list: VsRobot. You can also contact him via e-mail via levivsrobot [at] gmail [dot] com.