Saturday, September 02, 2006

The amazing and creepy transformations of Christian Bale

This past week, I watched two creepy movies in which the main character was played by the same guy: Christian Bale.

The movies were:

American Psycho
"A wealthy New York stock executive hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he escalates deeper into his illogical, gratuitous fantasies."

The Machinist
"An industrial worker who hasn't slept in a year begins to doubt his own sanity."

Two very understated descriptions of very intense movies, by the way.

The movies themselves are disturbing enough, but what I found most creepy about watching them almost back to back was the astonishing contrast between the Christian Bales of these two movies.

In American Psycho, the psychopath pampers his body, hones it to a buff, highly developed machine. This is critical, as it serves as a human covering over what he recognizes is an empty husk. Thus, an attractive physique is transformed into something menacing and un-human.

In The Machinist, Bale plays a man who hasn't slept for a year. We find out at the very end of the movie why that is. But during the year, he not only doesn't sleep, but he apparently doesn't eat very much at all, either. By the time the climax of his year of decay takes place in the movie, the character is, well, a skeletal figure. Literally. The thing is, this is Bale. He really did this. He starved himself for this movie.

It is hard to look at him ,and even more troubling to think....
  • That Bale made this enormous sacrifice for a movie that tanked and disappeared almost overnight. I wonder how he must have felt, after all that suffering...
  • About the extremes to which actors and actresses will push themselves and their bodies for their craft.
Bale was good, very good, in this movie, but it was just such a painful thing to watch that I would not recommend it to anyone....