Directed by Mary Harron [Other horror films: The Moth Diaries (2011)]
This is an interesting one. Based on a novel by Bret Easton Ellis, which I’ve yet to read, American Psycho follows a disturbed yuppie (played fantastically by Christian Bale) as he kills people and attempts to maintain his cool exterior under increasing pressure.
Of course, the question here is whether or not he did kill anyone, or if what we saw were simply fantasies he came up with in his mind?
There’s a lot about this one to talk about, because it’s not at all your typical film. From the whole issue of mistaken identity to the mental issues that Bateman’s character is battling, American Psycho keeps you entertained in one of the more disturbed ways possible.
Perhaps my favorite thing in the movie is the fact that these people, investment bankers all, incessantly mistake the identities of their peers. Some people, for instance, speak to Bateman thinking he’s someone else, and that’s a common occurrence among these people. What’s even more interesting is the fact that, based off the somewhat well-known business card scene, they pretty much all hold the same position (Vice President) in the same firm.
It’s from these little things that show a damning critique of the yuppie lifestyle, and when one of the character’s complains about a restaurant’s bathroom not being ideal to snort coke in, you know that these caricatures are on point. The fact that no one here can tell each other apart, or form any real connections with people (a trait that’s not just true for sociopathic Bateman) really nails what this yuppie, hedonistic class is like.
If you’re not here for the social commentary, well, you’re watching the wrong movie, but there’s still plenty of baser pleasures here, especially when Bateman starts killing people. The scene in which he exhorts the values of ‘Hip to Be Square‘ to a drunk Paul Allen (Jared Leto from Urban Legend) is a classic, and of course when he’s chasing a woman with a chainsaw while nude, well, there’s another scene that’s not easy to forget.
There’s a lot I like about American Psycho, and it’s just not the descent into madness that Patrick Bateman is feeling. The whole ending, from his confession to his secretary paging through his office journal, is just fantastic, and speaking of her, I did like Cholë Sevigny in this role, especially during her date (if that’s what you want to call it) with Bateman.
To an extent, I do think Willem Dafoe’s not the best choice for a private detective, but he was still an interesting face to see here. Really, with Bale, Leto, Sevigny, and Dafoe, it’s a pretty strong central cast.
Of course, it’s Bale who really puts in a fantastic performance here. Who doesn’t love the way he talks throughout the film, be it what the country needs to prioritize or his many talking points on the music of Genesis and Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, and Huey Lewis and the News?
American Psycho is far from a typical movie, which very much works in it’s favor, and it’s a definite favorite of mine, despite some of the content here not being the most pleasant to watch.