American Psycho Reviews
The film follows Patrick Bateman, a handsome Wall Street executive in the prime of his life who is surrounded by equally affluent and aesthetic contemporaries. He is achingly vapid and appears to not have a sincere relationship with anyone, not even his 'supposed fiancÚ' Evelyn (Reese Witherspoon). In Bateman's world, everything is for surface value, even his job, which he continues with because he 'wants to fit in'.
The film is adapted from Bret Easton Ellis' 1991 controversial novel of the same name. As anyone who has read 'American Psycho' will testify, there are passages that are simply unfilmable, the film was always going to be toned down in comparison. However, I feel the film has been neutered somewhat, I feel the film is lacking a visceral edge, it nails the satire, but it isn't quite dark enough. As the novel progresses, Patrick Bateman becomes increasingly psychotic and depraved, he descends into the depths of madness, and this isn't quite captured in the film. As sordid as it sounds, I do believe the film should have been crueller, darker; it should have put more emphasis on the depersonalisation and sadism of Bateman. There is one moment concerning an axe and a raincoat which is thoroughly entertaining and memorable, however it borders almost on slapstick, which it certainly didn't in the novel. The violence rightfully didn't enter exploitation cinema territory, I wouldn't wish for gratuity. But, then again, how do you define gratuitous? At what point does a film or book become gratuitous? These are questions that were at the forefront of my mind when reading the novel, and I think it's very hard to answer.
Despite this, it is a good adaptation; Harron and Turner's script is sharp and overall makes good use of its difficult source material. For instance, the film incorporates the book's music chapters to great comic effect; Bateman expressing his admiration and laughably deep analysis of Genesis, Whitney Houston and Huey Lewis and The News to prospective victims. Through these scenes the viewer witnesses the lengths of Bateman's vapidity.
It is a rather difficult film to wholly appreciate and absorb on initial viewing, which is good, because I feel 'American Psycho' has much replay value; I have revisited both the book and film countless times. Much like the novel, the film polarised audiences, and it doesn't surprise me. When viewing for the first time, one must appreciate Bret Easton Ellis used a large helping of hyperbole to convey his message of greed and superficiality, and also a good deal of surrealism. The film isn't entirely rooted in reality. The way in which Bateman's associates repeatedly forget each other's names and identities and how Bateman's actions become questionably implausible may confuse or deter the viewer. However, some would say that in our world of revolting socialites and vacuous celebrity and fashion culture, the extent of American Psycho's hyperbole is becoming increasingly dubious in places.
'American Psycho' is a peculiar creation. Many people get it and love it; however I'm sure many would be perplexed by it, maybe completely disappointed by it. I am biased, but I know that I am one of many people who fully appreciate 'American Psycho', part of a large group who will know what you mean when you say 'I have to return some videotapes'. Some won't like or appreciate it, and that's no detriment of the viewer's, but if you do, then I think you'll find yourself revisiting the film and picking up a copy of Ellis' compulsively readable novel. However, regardless of whether you like it, I can guarantee that you'll never hear Phil Collins' 'Sussudio' in the same way afterwards.
"American Psycho", directed by Mary Harron, is based of Bret Easton Ellis' novel where a unstable business man has a thing for killing random people on his spare time. Whether he feels bad that the person exists at all or he just feels like it, he has to keep killing for some reason. This person is Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), a person who needs to keep his face clean and wrinkle free, who also tries to keep sane with his fianc├ (C) Evelyn (Reese Witherspoon).
The plot works perfectly for some reason. There is a great blend of comedy and gore in this film. Some of these murders are funny to watch because of Peter's hilarious reactions to each setting, others are difficult to view because it can be very graphic. But, somehow, "American Psycho" does this so well that it doesn't become overbearing and just stays entertaining.
The best part of the film is Christian Bale's creepy, yet hysterical, performance. HIs narration is spot on, his expressions resemble a killer's perfectly, and how he interacts with his victims before he kills them (with various weapons I might add) are just amazing to watch. I personally love the scene where he talks about Hewy Lewis & The News in his raincoat - the way he moves and the way he talks in that scene is hilarious to watch. But even when he's not killing someone, he is still great. How he interacts with others is just great to watch - especially the business card scene where everyone shows off their new versions. He fits the role so perfectly that it's the main reason to watch the film.
Where the film falls is in its ending. Saying that I hated the ending can't be considered overdramatic. After everything that had happened in the film, I thought the ending was a huge disappointment. It didn't fit the film at all - it was as if they had no way to finish the film and tried to add a twist into it to end the film on a solid note. Unfortunately, the ending twist doesn't satisfy the audience but just leaves them with a "Really?" remark as they watch the credits.
"American Psycho" was great for most of its runtime - the last 15-20 minutes unfortunately are way off target. It's unfortunate because the film was so great, thanks to Bale's performance, and the ending just couldn't keep it going. It's a bloody film filled with hysterical writing and scenes of just laughter and gruesome images. If you have a chance, give it a shot but the ending will hit you the wrong way for sure. Still, Bale's performance is reason enough to give it a shot even if the ending does kill the rest of the movie.
This psycho, Patrick Bateman portrayed brilliantly by Christian Bale even discusses the significance of Whitney Houston's version of "The Greatest Love of All". So clearly, we're dealing with the 80s here. I was a young teenager at the time, so I remember the horror. lol
In my opinion, Bale is no Batman, but one hell of a good American Psycho.
Adapted from a best-selling novel by Bret Easton Ellis, the writing in the film is just as exceptional. Dark and often bizarre, yet also with a strange humorous quality in all the madness that springs from Bateman's head. The great detail payed to his demeanour and compulsive obsessions - such as a strict set of routines where he indulges in extreme vanity - adds gravitas in abundance, while making him the most fascinating maniac since Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
My only beef with the film is the inconclusive ending, which although suggesting heavily towards a certain plot twist, failed to satisfy me with any definitive answers. Apart from that, however, it's a great and absorbing watch. Worth seeing just for the bravura performance by a career-best Christian Bale.
Jean: What, you're kidding, right? You look great... so fit... and thin.
Patrick Bateman: Well, you can always be thinner... look better.
Jean: Then maybe we shouldn't go out to dinner. I wouldn't want you to lose your willpower.
Patrick Bateman: That's okay. I'm not very good at controlling it anyway.
American Psycho is an oddly funny and disturbing film. It's classified as a horror movie, but I'm not buying that. It's views on materialism and outer appearances is very obvious. The characters care about who has the best business cards, the best apartments, and who can get into the best restaurants. Bateman cares about how he looks. He details how he keeps his face looking smooth. He tans, wears the best clothes, and talks about how is haircut is slightly better than a man who looks very similar. Conformity and pop-culture are heavy influences on the characters. Bateman details pop-music in amazing detail and it's really humorous. Bateman also gets mistaken for different people throughout the movie because everyone dresses the same and have a slicked back haircut. They all look alike. Now, I'll switch gears and talk about the obvious highlight of American Psycho and that is Christian Bales performance. His performance as Patrick Bateman is funny, insightful, and disturbing all at the same time. He's powerful when he needs to be. Although, I love his Batman character; this is probably his best performance. The ending does leave the rest of the movie up to interpretation. If you haven't seen the movie, you probably shouldn't read the rest of this review. *Spoiler* My interpretation is that all of Batemans murders are just his fantasies and that he hasn't actually killed anyone. Some evidence of this is the night he supposedly killed Paul Allen, his friends said that he was with them. Another clue is that when he drops the chainsaw from the staircase and kills the woman; the scene switches to him drawing a dead woman on his table at a restaraunt. He lives his fantasies through his drawings and this is shown at the end when his secreatary sees all his drawings in his schedule book. Also, when he feels like he's not the best or fitting in; it immediately jumps to him executing an act of violence. When everyones showing off their business cards and Bateman sees that Allen's is better it jumps to him killing a homeless man. Although I'm not completely sold on my interpretation; it is what I'm leaning towards. Either way, the film is very effective and is worth the watch if not for Bales performance only.