The 15 Greatest Christian Bale Movie Moments

For “The Machinist,” Christian Bale slimmed down to 120 pounds to portray Trevor Reznik, a man dealing with grief resulting from a past incident. Creepy, haunting, and unreasonably grim, “The Machinist” is an engrossing psychological deep dive into the dark pits of despair, highlighted by Bale’s go-for-broke performance.

Director Brad Anderson paints Trevor as a pathetic figure trapped in a personal hell of his making, drenched in moody grays and heavy shadows. “The Machinist” is borderline horror with its gruesome imagery, frightening monsters, and incredibly dark subject matter. Indeed, in arguably the film’s most memorable bit, Trevor visits a haunted house called Hell Ride on Route 666 and relives memories he tried hard to suppress. This is where everything comes together, and we see a realization on Trevor’s face even as he tries to make light of the situation: “This is one heck of a ride,” he quips after seeing dismembered body parts and a man hanging next to a “Guilty” sign.

At one point, he and Nicholas (Matthew Romero), his traveling companion, reach a fork in the road — right to salvation or left to Hell. Naturally, they go left, much to Trevor’s annoyance, and the poor guy continues his downward spiral.

I’ve only seen “The Machinist” a few times, but this scene haunts my nightmares. Sure, it’s a little on the nose, but Anderson uses the sequence to illustrate Trevor’s inner turmoil and allows us to see a visual manifestation of his grief. It’s brilliant.

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