10 Underrated Christian Bale Movies Fans Need to See
Christian Bale has had an amazing career with quite a few films that often fly under the radar.
He may be our greatest Batman, but there's so much more to Bale's filmography than Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy!
1. Harsh Times (2005)
Life after military service ain't a bed of roses, as "Harsh Times" proves. Bale plays Jim Davis, an ex-Army Ranger struggling to adjust to civilian life in South Central Los Angeles. Jobless and scarred by his combat experiences, he roams the streets with his best friend, Mike (Freddy Rodriguez), getting into all sorts of trouble.
Jim is caught in a cycle of violence and aimlessness, and the plot reveals how he's slowly losing grip on reality. He wants to join the LAPD, but can he escape his own destructive behavior?
2. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
Bale stars as Dan Evans, a down-and-out rancher who accepts the job of escorting outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) to a train that will take him to court. The film is essentially a trek across dangerous terrain, fraught with Wade's gang members trying to free him.
There are gunfights, ethical dilemmas, and moments where you're not sure who to root for. Does Evans manage to put Wade on that train or not?
3. Out of the Furnace (2013)
Set in a small, dying Pennsylvania town, "Out of the Furnace" follows Bale's character, Russell Baze, a steel mill worker with a complicated life. He has a dying father, a troubled brother who's a war veteran, and he himself ends up in jail for vehicular homicide.
When he gets out, things go from bad to worse. His brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) goes missing after getting involved in a bare-knuckle fighting ring. The plot takes a dark turn as Russell starts searching for him.
4. Velvet Goldmine (1998)
Set in the 1970s, "Velvet Goldmine" has Bale playing Arthur Stuart, a British journalist revisiting his past as he investigates the mysterious disappearance of glam rock star Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Through flashbacks and interviews, the plot winds its way through the sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll culture of the time. Soon enough, Arthur starts confronting his own hidden desires and past.
While Bale isn't the main character here, the story is largely told through his eyes.
5. Hostiles (2017)
"Hostiles" puts Bale in the boots of Capt. Joseph Blocker, a seasoned Army officer tasked with escorting a dying Cheyenne chief, Yellow Hawk, back to his homeland. What complicates things? Blocker despises Native Americans after fighting them for years.
The plot centers around this treacherous journey through hostile territories, where they encounter everything from vicious Comanche warriors to ruthless fur traders.
6. The Prestige (2006)
Nolan's "The Prestige" is about two magicians, Alfred Borden (Bale) and Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman), who used to be friends but turn into bitter rivals after a stunt goes horribly wrong. They both aim to create the ultimate illusion, "The Transported Man," and will stop at nothing to outdo each other.
There's deception, betrayal, and yeah, real science in the form of Nikola Tesla's experiments. The plot turns into a spiraling game of one-upmanship where each magician tries to sabotage the other's act.
7. American Psycho (2000)
In "American Psycho," Bale plays Patrick Bateman, a wealthy investment banker with a dark side. He lives a life of excess – fine dining, designer suits, and… murder sprees. When he's not closing deals, he's stalking victims.
The plot mostly follows his double life and the lines start to blur between his polished public persona and his violent tendencies. As bodies pile up, Bateman starts to lose control, and his mask begins to slip.
8. Rescue Dawn (2006)
Based on a true story, this one's all about survival. Bale plays Dieter Dengler, a German-American fighter pilot shot down over Laos during the Vietnam War. Captured and thrown into a POW camp, he quickly plans a daring escape with fellow prisoners.
It's a grueling journey through dense jungles, wild animals, and hostile terrain.
9. Equilibrium (2002)
Welcome to a future where emotions are illegal. In "Equilibrium," Bale plays John Preston, a high-ranking officer in a totalitarian state that suppresses human feelings through a drug called Prozium.
The plot thickens when Preston accidentally misses a dose and starts to feel. Suddenly, he finds himself questioning the system he's upheld for so long. He joins an underground resistance and goes against the very society he used to enforce. There's a lot of gun-blazing action as Preston turns against his former allies.
10. The Machinist (2004)
In a stellar example of dedication, Bale dropped a scary amount of weight for this role. He plays Trevor Reznik, a factory worker who can't sleep. Like, at all. The sleep deprivation starts to mess with his mind, causing him to become paranoid and delusional. Odd events start happening around him, and he begins to suspect that someone is out to get him.
Things complicated further by the mysterious notes he finds in his apartment. Who's sending them? What do they mean?