Christian Bale dropped a shockingly immense amount of weight for Brad Anderson’s The Machinist, but like the film itself, Bale’s drastic pound-shedding is a gimmick with no real payoff. Sure, Bale – as Trevor Reznik, an industrial machine operator whose sanity begins to unravel due to a year-long bout of sleeplessness – is a frightening sight, his sallow face marked with bruises and his ribcage and collarbone clearly visible under his pasty skin. Yet Scott Kosar’s script fails to conceal its central surprise from the get-go – the film is so predictable that I immediately guessed the answer to the hangman game (written on a post-it) that mysteriously appears on Trevor’s fridge, and anyone who’s seen Fight Club, Memento or any number of similar movies will immediately be hip to the big mystery. As in the superior Session 9, Anderson creates a mood of disquieting dread, and it’s always nice to see the great Michael Ironside getting some work (though he’s tragically underused as a co-worker Trevor accidentally injures in a work mishap). But aside from Bale’s harrowing portrait of insomnia-induced madness, The Machinist is downright defective.