Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

The Top 5 Christian Bale Performances

He has his critics, but there is no doubt that Christian Bale has an incredibly high commitment level to his roles, or as seen in “American Hustle”, a commitment to his rolls…

The Brit is not a one trick pony that relies solely on his extreme body transformations to drive home the believability and encapsulation of the character, he is a highly talented and passionate (sometimes too passionate) actor with a fantastic list of films under his belt; here are my Top 5 Christian Bale Performances.


1 – American Psycho

Never will you look at Christian Bale again. Sure, he’s Batman, but before that, he was Bateman. Patrick Bateman is a fascinating, obsessed unprovoked killer who is a big shot on Wall Street. He is a ravenous, psychotic, jealous, wealthy, slick, handsome, womanising murderer with a questionable taste in music. This black comedy is incredibly underrated, with protagonist Bateman epitomising or even reinventing the term ‘alter-ego’. It’s witty, clever, disturbing and strange with Bateman being such a different human being, it’s almost as if he’s satirising himself at points. This is definitely Bale’s most definitive performance.


2 – The Prestige

When sharing a leading role with the likes of Hugh Jackman, it’s easy to be swept away and put aside by his on screen presence and overall brilliance. Bale does not conform. Alfred Borden, an illusionist competing maliciously with Jackman’s Robert Angler in a constant war of one-upmanship is brilliant and incredibly dramatic. Bale already impressed audiences with his comedic, satirical and Jim Carey-like energy in “American Psycho”, but “The Prestige” opens up a whole new side of Bale; serious dramatic acting.


3 – The Machinist

Just looking at Bale’s Trevor Reznik, an insomniac industrial labourer who has not slept in an entire year, sends chills down the spine. The grotesque look of Reznik and the looming theme of mystery make “The Machinist” a great film, operated by Bale’s brilliant and commendable performance. The gritty, gut-wrenching embodiment of Reznik is rather eery and disturbing, but it is admirable nonetheless seeing how far Bale is prepared to go to literally transform into a character.


4 – American Hustle

From one extreme to another. Bale’s Irving Rosenfeld is pure class in “American Hustle”. From the receding hairline, to the meticulous procedure to assemble his combover, to the sheer enormity of the man, to the accent; Rosenfeld has it all, and he backs it up with  bad tempered attitude. Once again Bale has committed and gone the extra mile (or extra Big Mac) to embody the overweight con-artist.


5 – The Dark Knight Franchise

Christopher Nolan’s darker, caliginous ‘Caped Crusader’ trilogy has not only been incredibly successful commercially, but it has boosted Bale’s status amongst the Hollywood elite immensely. The contemporaneous spin on The Dark Knight has become arguably the most well known instalment of the Batman franchise.

Bale’s ever so classy Bruce Wayne and the slick but ever so husky Batman have become the ‘face’ of the comic book characters, but will it be only temporary? With ‘Bat-fleck’ looming, Bale’s Batman could quickly be dismissed and over shadowed, but for now, Bale is very much safe.


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