Rated R for strong violence, sexuality, drug use and language.
Written and Directed By: Mary Harron
Based On The Novel By: Bret Easton Ellis
Staring: Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Jared Leto, Samantha Mathis, Reese Witherspoon, Chloe Sevigny, Josh Lucas, Bill Sage, and Matt Ross
“There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman; some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me: only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable… I simply am not there.”
This is a movie that has on occasion be greatly misunderstood. It’s not an exploitation of violence, but an exploration of the power of delusions in the human psyche. A satire against 80′s style Wall Street and the dementia that this lifestyle and stress of holding up it’s exterior could create. American Psycho is far more witty and darkly humorous than it is usually given credit for. The writing, some of which is directly copied from it’s novel creation, is violently delectable, while visually intoxicating as well. Whether you end up loving or hating this movie, there is no turning away from it while you are watching it.
Talk about delusions of evil and ideas of grandeur. Patrick Bateman is the ultimate sociopath. His ability to blend so efficiently in society yet be so detached is the most compelling aspect of Patrick Bateman to endure. His fixation with Huey Lewis and Phil Collins showed an obsession with details and things, but an indifference to people and life. Obsessing over his business card and the best restaurant in town becomes an anxiety driven focus. His apathy towards the people that he was supposedly engaged with in friendships, relationships, or sexual partners with has moments of pure and utter amusement, but only because we are perceiving the situations from Bateman’s perspective. The impassive perspective of his vision of the world is strange and darkly enchanting. Even in his most grave moments of violence and reality being distorted, there is something gruesomely delightful about it all, but I guess that’s the point.
The writing and dialogue provided give this story it’s grit, but this performance by Bale is what gives it life. Only Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates seemed to fully capture the cold detached evil that Bale did as Bateman . The supporting roles in this movie seem almost irrelevant, only pawns that are a mere cloud in the perception of reality created by Bateman, keeping himself a constant center stage. The entire film supports this whirlwind perspective as we see things only threw Bateman’s eyes.
There are moments in American Psycho that are completely gruesome, disturbingly hysterical, and plenty that challenge your mind. This is a movie for a smart, thinking audience that isn’t afraid of a little gore or ambiguous moments of confusion. Some movies simply get to you, and this was one that I fell in love with. It offered so many levels of enjoyment and is still incredibly original, and never loses it’s sharp edge by maintaining a sarcasm that is timeless. American Psycho is one of the movies I watch when I need to be reminded why I love the movies so much. This is one of my personal favorites. The novel is also highly recommended on my part.