Having seamlessly adapted into his various characters, which include being a psychotic murderer, a sleepless worker, a magician, a maniac or an innocent young man, Christian Bale is a force to reckon with. Bale has become synonymous with Batman after having appeared in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy where he added a brilliantly moody dimension to the broken superhero.
With hordes of incredible performances that are a witness to his prolific acting skills, Bale’s genius is validated by a Golden Globe, an Academy Award and many more trophies.
After he made his acting debut on television at the young age of ten, his name catapulted to fame after his role in Empire of the Sun. After a string of performances in films like Swing Kids, Little Women, The Portrait of a Lady, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bale gained critical appreciation with his iconic role in Mary Harron’s American Psycho.
With various other brilliant films that add to his wonderful legacy, Bale, 48, will next be seen in the MCU film Thor: Love and Thunder that is scheduled for a May 2022 release as well as the Netflix film The Pale Blue Eye, also set to release in 2022.
Here are the five best Christian Bale films you can watch on Netflix:
The 5 best Christian Bale films on Netflix
5. The Prestige (Christopher Nolan, 2006)
Starring a brilliant ensemble cast, namely Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine, Andy Serkis and David Bowie among others, the film sees two magicians becoming arch-rivals at the end of the nineteenth century due to a stage accident. Soon, they get into an intense battle to create the ultimate illusion to outwit each other. But, soon, tragedy strikes.
In this intriguing story of rivalry, obsession and vengeance, the film abounds in twists and turns, as is characteristic of Bale films. The brilliant camaraderie of hatred and despise among the two leads, Bale and Jackman is a testament to their prolific acting.
Available: UK, Australia, India
4. Batman Begins (Christopher Nolan, 2005)
Exploring Batman’s origin story, the film focuses on how being a witness to his parent’s brutal murder during his childhood has a deep-seated impact on the billionaire playboy, Bruce Wayne. Wayne adopts the alias of Batman after several years of training and decides to cleanse Gotham of all kinds of evil, especially organised crime. His main targets are the Scarecrow and Ra’s al Ghul who want to shove the city into a state of chaos and madness.
After a string of really poor Batman movies, following Michael Keaton’s brilliant performance, Bale finally outshone his predecessors, becoming the embodiment of the dark, brooding and stylish superhero in this mature and gritty version of the comics.
Available: Canada, UK, Australia, India
3. The Machinist (Brad Anderson, 2004)
A factory worker, Trevor Reznik is suffering from an extreme case of insomnia that has a negative impact on his body. Lack of sleep and rest induces him to be in a state of haze, panic and delusion, giving him an emaciated look and causing further alienation. Starring Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh and more, it sees Bale deliver a show-stopping performance.
Being the focused method actor that he is, Bale lost more than 62 pounds for his role. Even the director himself was shocked by his haunting appearances and the actor found himself in a haze of euphoria often in between shoots due to the extreme starvation.
Available: Netflix US
2. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)
Set in the timeline within a year after Batman Begins, Batman, James Gordon and Harvey Dent are busy protecting the city against criminals when a sadistic and psychopathic criminal mastermind, The Joker begins to wreak havoc in Gotham. Batman’s rivalry with the Joker becomes extremely personal, leading to the epic emotional turmoil as a burgeoning love triangle between himself, Dent and Rachel Dawes, too, comes to the surface.
One of the finest films in the history of superhero movies, it won the iconic Heath Ledger a posthumous Academy Award for his brilliant performance as the Joker, following his tragic demise. Bale, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman were a part of the talented ensemble who added to the moody brilliance of the film.
Available: Canada, UK, Australia, India
1. American Psycho (Mary Harron, 2000)
Hailed by Jim Jarmusch as his favourite horror film, this cult-favourite is an adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ 1991 novel. Starring Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Reese Witherspoon, Chloe Sevigny and Jared Leto, the film saw Bale as an affluent investment banker who turned into a menacing psychopath at night.
With his twisted sexual fetishes and lust for blood, Bale is an enigma who manages to uphold the contrasting facade of being a gentleman with tact and poise. Often, his hedonistic indulgences blur lines between moral and the immoral and take him tumbling down a rabbit hole of madness, terror, mania and despair.
Available: Netflix UK, Canada