Most of you must have heard about Christian Bale’s highly praised performance in The Machinist, for which he dropped his weight to 55kg (he’s 1.80m!), looking like he’s just stepped out of a concentration camp. The movie is as impressive as Bale’s performance, and does not leave you indifferent to the story. It is one of those psychological thrillers, which keep you in tension until the very end. If you enjoy films like Shutter Island and Fight Club, you’ll deffinitely love this one too.
The Machinist tells the story of Trevor Reznik, a young man who’s been suffering from insomnia for one year. As a result, he’s always tired, moody, unfocused and is so skinny that he resembles a corpse. One day at work, Trevor is distracted by his new colleague and makes a mistake, which leads to the mutilation of a co-worker he’s operating a machine with at that time. The incident throws Trevor in a world of chaos, self-haunting and guilt. He’s often experiencing deja vu which brings back painful memories. Strange occurances straight after the incident make Trevor grow suspicious of everyone around him, except for two women he maintains relationships with.
I love independent movies because the fact they have low budgets makes them focus on the acting rather than on special effects, rich decors, makeup and costumes and so on. The focus is simply on the art, which makes you get deeper into the story and feel the characters closer and more realistic. I feel some good actors love independent movies for the exact same reason. Christian Bale is an example of such actor who’s doing what he’s doing in the name of art and who’s ready to dive into great depths both physically and psychologically. Another example is River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho. In order to prepare for his role of a drug-addicted street hustler, he became one, hanging out with real hustlers, using hard drugs and basically staying in character during the whole filming period and after. His dedication resulted in him giving the best performance in his career but this also cost him his life three years later.
Method actors are extremely dedicated and devoted to roles they believe in. Sometimes a method actor could become so deeply attached to a role that they are never able to fully step out of it. This is a devotion in the name of art and such actors deserve respect and admiration. Such actors are no stars or celebrities, they are simply artists.
L. V. K.
Most of you will recognise this line immediately; yes, this post is about Shutter Island.
Have you ever seen Shutter Island? If you haven’t I highly recommend it. It is one of those movies that make you feel strained from the beginning until the end and even after. It plays with the mind and makes it reveal its complexity even more. The story Martin Scorsese tells is very intricate and grim, but at the same time gripping and touching. The cast is also very well chosen – Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer. DiCaprio has proven his talent within the years. He’s not the sweet, blonde boy we all know from Titanic. He transformed into a serious actor- one of the best Hollywood has ever had. This man made some really high-quality movies in the past few years: The Blood Diamond, The Aviator, Inception, The Great Gatsby etc.
But let’s go back to Shutter Island. There are movies that are a must and it is one of them. I would describe it as a psychological thriller with drama elements but mixed in so incredibly good way that the end product is brilliant. Of course, there are many critics that would not agree with me like The Guardian for example, whose review on the movie uses phrases such as “old-fashioned melodrama” and “shaggy dog tale”. Of course, everyone has the right to have an opinion and my personal one is that the movie trains one’s reason and logic and does not leave the viewer indifferent to the story it tells and the way it’s telling it. I have made my personal investigation on people’s reactions while they are watching the movie and straight after its end (which reverses the action at 180 degrees). They were all stunned but deeply impressed. I have a friend, who in the first minutes after the end of the movie, believed her mind was playing games with her.
Leonardo Dicaprio as Teddy Daniels in “Shutter Island”
We don’t realise the power of our mind. It is so big that it’s out of our control, moreover, it’s in control of us. That is scary but impressive at the same time and proves us we are not as great as we think we are. We are not in full control of our emotions, desires, thoughts, but our mind is. And who is in control of our mind? Well, that question hasn’t been answered yet. But it raises a number of others like, “Is there any particular reason for mentally ill people to get ill?”, and “Do we know what’s in these people’s heads?”, “Do we actually know what’s in our head?” After watching Shutter Island, you start asking yourself all these questions. I praise the power of films of this type because they make you think and analyse yourself and the surrounding world. They raise questions and make you look for the answers.
After all, we are rational creatures and one of the reasons we are living in this world is to fight for the privilege to know the truth…
L. V. K.