Having kind of grown up with him, cinematically speaking, 'Empire of the Sun' was one of my favourite films as a youngster I have a certain affection for him as an actor.
'American Psycho', 'Harsh Times' and 'Rescue Dawn' are some great films, which display a little more range than the husky voiced, frowning bloke that has perpetuated his more recent offerings.
Agree totally with Jonesy, his ability to morph physically for certain roles dominates those projects and subtracts from those films and performances. 'The Machinist' is excellent, but will always be known as the film where Bale was skinny.
Contrast that to Matt Damon buggering his liver while losing weight for 'Courage Under Fire'.
You have to admire actors willing to go the extra mile for a role, in much the same way actors get in shape, lose shape, or erm wear fat suits. It becomes a distraction though when that's all the focus is on and films, in my opinion get unjustified positive criticism for essentially expert make up, 'Monster' springs to mind.
Back to Bale though, 'American Psycho' is practically a comedy, I'd like to see him try something a little light hearted, he's in danger of getting Guy Pearce syndrome. Was a time, not any more, when Pearce was so pretentious and ego driven about projects it made him appear unlike-able.
'Ravenous' wasn't that bad! I really, rather liked it..