Film Review

The Infernal Machine

todayApril 20, 2023 192

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By – Gareth Jones

For fans of Memento, Guy Pearce, meta-narratives, mystery novels

This week’s film is not going to win any awards.  It is not a brilliant film.  I watched it for one reason and one reason only, Guy Pearce. I must admit first that I would watch Guy Pearce wash his laundry and find it fascinating.  He is one of those actors who is always excellent and can elevate any film to the level of watchable.  That is the case with The Infernal Machine, a film from 2022 that is written and directed by Andrew Hunt.  It tells the story of Bruce Cogburn (Guy Pearce), a writer who has abandoned society and is living reclusively in the desert after a mass shooting inspired by his book. Suddenly, he starts to receive a series of letters and the mystery surrounding the shooting, the book, and his life begins to unfold. HIs investigation into all of this is a fine-tuned balance of buffoonery and brilliance.  

Much of this has the similar feel to Memento which helped launch Pearce into the stratosphere.  However, Pearce’s performance here may be even better.  His accent is so specific and unique and his character is such a delight to watch and listen to, that these comparisons begin to become less important. He makes this cantankerous hermit a empathetic human in spite of his disdain for the world he lives in.  Jeremy Davis joins him for the ride as well as Alice Eve and Alex Pettyfer. The plot gets convoluted and some of the effects around de-aging with CGI leaves a bit to be desired, but Pearce keeps you riveted with his performance. It is the little things that he does with his performance; the way that he smokes a cigarette or drinks his liquor.  His drunken phone calls are simultaneously humorous and frightening. I also must admit that I loved to see and hear a typewriter in use in this film.  The sound alone brought back a rush of memories, much like Pearce’s performance.  His career merits celebration and this film gives him the space to remind us of his talents.

Available to stream on Amazon Prime

Written by: Gareth Jones

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