‘The Machinist’ and Four More Films For Christian Bale’s Birthday

It’s Christian Bale’s birthday! To mark the occasion, here are 5 of his overlooked or lesser-known performances. Check some of these out!

The Machinist (2004)

There are transformative method acting performances. And then there is Christian Bale in The Machinist. To prepare for the role, Bale dieted for four months with a reported daily intake of water, one apple and a cup of coffee. He lost 62 pounds by doing so and apparently wanted to lose even more weight, but was told not to by the filmmakers due to health concerns. He plays Trevor Reznik, a machinist whose insomnia and psychological problems lead to a serious workplace accident involving a co-worker. We watch on as he struggles mentally to deal with the subsequent events.  Overall The Machinist is an intriguing film with a strange atmosphere, but it’s worth watching just to see how far Bale pushed himself for the role. 

Equilibrium (2002) 

Sometimes you just need a fun movie with a simple plot and lots of kick-ass action. Equilibrium fits that bill. Set in a totalitarian city-state which was established by the survivors of World War III, feelings and artistic expression are outlawed. To aid this regime citizens take daily injections of drugs to suppress their feelings. One day Bale’s character Preston accidentally misses a dose and begins to feel a variety of emotions. From there we see underground movements, love interests and lots of fantastic gun-play mixed with martial arts action. It’s leave your brain at the door stuff, but sometimes that’s not a bad thing. 

Out of the Furnace (2013)

Out of the Furnace has a stellar cast. Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whittaker and Willem Dafoe. Yet, as is so often the case, Christian Bale is the standout attraction. He plays steel mill worker Russell Baze. His younger brother Rodney (Affleck) is an Iraq war veteran struggling to adjust to civilian life. He gets involved with the wrong crowd when trying to make ends meet bare-knuckle boxing, landing himself into deep trouble as Russell does all he can to protect his younger sibling. It’s a tale of revenge and redemption as Russell has plenty of his own personal demons to conquer. With a slick and stylish directorial feel, it makes for a great watch.

3:10 to Yuma (2007)

In the remake of the 1957 Western of the same name, we follow notorious outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) and his escorts, as they endeavour to get him on the 3:10 train to Yuma prison where he is to be tried and hanged for numerous crimes. Bale’s character is a broke rancher and Civil War veteran, with mouths to feed and bills to pay. Desperate for money to save his ranch he winds up on the escort mission. After lots of great action and a developed mutual respect between the two lead characters, we end up with one of the best Western remakes ever made. And it’s in no small part down to the chemistry between Bale and Crowe. 

The Fighter (2010)

Inspired by the 1996 documentary High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in LowellThe Fighter follows young boxer Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) who is trained by his older half-brother Dicky (Christian Bale). Dicky is a former boxer himself who went the distance with Sugar Ray Leonard in his heyday. Unfortunately, it’s all been downhill since then. The film follows the usual rise and fall tropes, but in playing the crack-cocaine addicted loose canon Dicky, Bale single-handedly transforms what would otherwise be a standard sports drama into something much greater. He deservedly received an Oscar in 2011 for his efforts. 

What are some of your favorite films to feature birthday boy Christian Bale?

Author: Lee McCutcheon

Happy to watch absolutely anything, with a soft spot for world cinema.