I've asked myself why the imaginary co-worker of Reznik in The Machinist (2004) is called Ivan, and why Reznik himself reads "The Idiot".

According to Wikipedia, Ivan is reference to "The Brothers Karamazov" and the movie is influenced by "The Double: A Petersburg Poem" by Dostoyevsky. But are there really references to "The Idiot" and "The Brothers Karamazov" in the movie, or they are used just because they are some of the most famous Dostoyevsky's books?

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    Fun trivia: When Trevor and Nicolas take the "Route 666" ride one can see a sign saying "Crime and Punishment". You can see it behind Bale as he says "Shady Lady". Subtle, but nice.
    – user5870
    Aug 21, 2013 at 18:36

2 Answers 2


I found this article in relation to the link between The Machinist, The Idiot and Crime and Punishment:

Firstly the novel The Idiot presents a protagonist in the form of innocent Prince Lev Nikolaievich Myshkin who as a youth was prone to blackouts, his current mental condition is unclear; [...] Myshkin meets his reverse in Rogozhin, who is associated with darkness in contrast with Myshkin’s lightness. Trevor Reznik seems to be the embodiment of both these characters; in his relationship with Marie he is charming, kind and gallant (Myshkin) while with Stevie he is mistrustful and vicious (Rogozhin)...

Stevie is a much more dangerous woman as she seems to be derived from Anastassya Filippovna Barashkov, the femme fatale of The Idiot who Myshkin mistakes his pity for her, as love. Stevie also seems to be associated with another Dostoevsky heroine in Sonya from Crime and Punishment. Sonya prostitutes herself for the sake of her family and falls for murderous Raskolnikov, the alienated protagonist of Crime and Punishment. [...] Stevie’s extended kindness is revealed to be the true saviour of Reznik as one of his final conversations with her reveals he has finally transgressed from killer to victim and he now understands his crime and acknowledges his guilt and moral responsibility...

The devil incarnate Rogozhin, can be link to the hellish figure of Ivan, a deformed character [...] whose confidence and personality are equally repulsive and inciting. Ivan can also be described as a guardian angel as he also helps Reznik understand who he is. Ivan is seemingly Reznik’s opposite and yet the two are cut from the same cloth as their identities overlap. [...] Ivan is Trevor Reznik’s conscience but he is also a strand of his former personality [...] It is the fictional Ivan who forces Reznik to confront his sins, till the very end and perhaps Reznik’s views his machinist self through the transgressed identity of the grotesque Ivan...

I personally have only read Crime and Punishment and always thought that there was a direct link between this and the Machinist due to the main character in each ultimately being driven mad by the guilt from the act they committed and ultimately handing themselves in.

Reading the first article above would suggest there is a rather large link with The Idiot as well.

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    Welcome to Movies and TV Beta! Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference.
    – Tablemaker
    May 18, 2012 at 15:01

As I see it, all his books are referenced in the movie... notes from the underground... notes, do you get it? Crime and punishment, no need to explain that, besides, in the haunted house,there was written "crime and punishment'" in neon right above him.

Then of course, there's the protagonist reading, the idiot. I didn't read it but the description on goodreads should give you an indication of how it compares to the movie: the Christ-like epileptic Prince Myshkin finds himself enmeshed in a tangle of love, torn between two women'' remember the epileptic kid? Remember the two woman? Maybe I'm wrong but to me it seems all so obvious.

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