In the movie The Machinist, Ivan shows that he lost his fingers and they were replaced with his toes. Given Ivan was not real, what is the relevance of the toes replacing the fingers? Does it stand for some kind of metaphor?

  • Do you have a screenshot or a clip? I've seen the movie many times, and it's in my top 5 all-time favorite movies, but I don't think I ever noticed what you're talking about!
    – GendoIkari
    Dec 30, 2020 at 16:11
  • 2
    @GendoIkari See edit, I added the clip.
    – Charles
    Dec 30, 2020 at 16:46
  • @Charles Thanks; I'd just forgotten that bit; been too long since I've seen it!
    – GendoIkari
    Dec 30, 2020 at 18:08

1 Answer 1


Ivan's features are the representation of Trevors's normative masculinity, from brightlightsfilm

Ivan’s size and shaved head are notably phallic, but the most striking feature is his hand. To know more about Ivan, Trevor follows him to a bar where they sit, drink, and chat about life. This is where Ivan reveals his deformed hand. He apparently had an accident years prior and lost fingers. To repair the hand, they subsequently had to take “a big toe from [his] left foot and a pinky from [his] right. [This] is why [he] walks with a limp.” Ivan further admits that he cannot “shuffle cards like [he] used to, but the ladies sure like it,” while wiggling his finger in a sexually suggestive manner. In other words, Ivan sacrificed his gait to maintain his ability to please women.

  • Thanks @ankitsharma, I understand why Ivan did it. I'm trying to find what is the mapping for "Gait" and "ability to please women" in Tevor's life. These things that Ivan has done to his physical self, would reflect upon Trevor's mind or body (or a combination). What would those be? (also, "gait's" mapping is not body weight, that is happening as a result of his insomnia triggered by guilt, it's not voluntary).
    – MovieMe
    Jan 1, 2021 at 9:30

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