‘El Maquinista’ is a movie about a man whose subconscious still makes him thinner and thinner. While I have committed a horrible crime, I have not been able to see myself as a criminal; in fact, he doesn’t remember the fact that I committed a terrible crime. However, deep inside his memory, he remembers his crime, and this makes him thinner and thinner, allowing him to physically remove his existence in time. ‘El Maquinista’ is apparently heavily influenced by Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. In fact, there are quite a few specific similarities between ‘El Maquinista’ and ‘Crime and Punishment’.
i) Similarities in two narratives
1. ‘Crime and punishment’ consists of three parts. Part 1 is the murder committed by the protagonist, Part 2 is his discovery and acceptance of the crime, and Part 3 is the rebirth of the protagonist. ‘El Maquinista’ basically draws part 1 and part 3 and focuses only on part 2. The main character in ‘El Maquinista’, Trevor Reznik, played by Christian Bale, is unable to detect and accept the fact that he killed one young boy; he has no physical defect, yet he is mentally distressed that he cannot connect his life and the murder that he committed. Raskolnikov in the field of crime and punishment also finds similar problems in accepting the fact that I have murdered a person.
1.2. While both characters have great difficulty accepting their crimes, they both choose to suffer to seek salvation subconsciously. Trevor Reznik is constantly losing; he suffers physically and continues to raise the level of suffering as more time goes by. Raskolnikov also chooses to suffer; he chooses to suffer psychologically more than physically, but the extent to which they both choose to suffer is pretty extreme, and this is where we find similarities.
2. Both the woman who comforts the protagonist Trevor Reznik in ‘El Maquinista’, Stevie, and the woman who comforts the protagonist Raskolnikov in crime and punishment are prostitutes, even though they meet their women in different circumstances. Trevor Reznik meets Stevie as a customer, but Raskolnikov meets Sofya through Sofya’s father; Raskolnikov is not a Sonya customer. There are many similarities in how these two women comfort their husbands and lead them to free their souls.
ii) Similarities in symbolism
Trevor Reznik is getting so thin that he barely exists physically. This symbolizes his state of mind, which is that he does not want to exist. More specifically, he wishes that a part of him that killed a young boy would not exist. Raskolnikov does not physically fasten or torture himself, but he spends a lot of time in his apartment. He also wants to remain low profile; he is not someone who wants everyone in town to know about him. While he is a very intelligent man and has a strong will, his actions do not indicate that he wants to raise his visibility.
‘El Maquinista’ is a well-developed film; the story has depth, and it’s like a classic literature. If you like reading a (dark) classic literature like Dostoevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’, you will probably enjoy watching this movie.