Review: American Psycho (2000)

American Psycho
Directed by: Mary Harron
Starring: Christian Bale, Reese Witherspoon and Willem Dafoe.
Based on: the book of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis
Genre: Psychological Thriller / Satire
Released: April 14 2000
by Lions Gate Films
Running time: 102 minutes (1 hr, 42 mins)
Cert: 18 (BBFC) R (MPAA)
Rating: ★★★★

IMDb | View Trailer

Patrick Bateman is handsome, well educated and intelligent. He is twenty-seven and living his own American dream. He works by day on Wall Street, earning a fortune to complement the one he was born with. At night he descends into madness, as he experiments with fear and violence.

This will be the only time that I will break my pledge of reading the book first since I’ve had the cellophane wrapper of this DVD unbroken since I bought it months and months ago. Need I say why I wanted to watch this film? I think it’s quite obvious…

I still have yet to read the book (which I hear is quite grisly), but I enjoyed the story. This is definitely one of those films that I watch with a constant edge; most of the time the tenseness (is that a word?) was killing me, I was anticipating what was going to happen next. I enjoyed how the story unfolded but my only problem was the end. It didn’t really make sense to me and seemed like a bit of a cop out. I also loved the satirical nature of the film, dark humour has always been my thing and, honestly, I didn’t find the film to be as explicit as IMDb’s content guide makes it out to be (I’m obsessive like that).

I loved everything about Christian Bale’s performance as Patrick Bateman. And not just because I got to see him naked from the back about five times. Bateman is the kind of person who is hard to sympathise with since what goes on in his head is just plain wrong. To me, the film is more about Bateman’s vanity rather than his insanity, which became incredibly clear to me during the threesome scene where he flexes his arms and even winks at himself in the mirror, all while being videotaped. For some reason, I found Bateman to be quite a funny character and his constant voiceover kind of proves that to me. Especially at the beginning when he describes his morning routine. He’s also not a very pleasant person. He’s hot but I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship of any kind with him.

I loved how the New York setting was shown from all angles: the glittering side and the dark underground side. I have a thing about contrasts and I found the setting here to show an immense contrast, which suits me more than just fine. This is going to sound weird, but I liked the use of white in the apartments. I’m not sure why but it kind of made Bateman look like he is pure on the outside and his apartment reflected that. Or something along those lines, I’m overanalysing again…

Music plays a bit of an important part in the film, since it really tells the audience when the film is set (the late 1980s). I could recognise most of the artists that were used, since I’m quite used to hearing them (thanks, Dad). The orchestral score was fantastic. It was used at the right times and fitted completely with the tone of the scenes.

Overall, I really enjoyed this film. It was nowhere near as grisly as I had originally expected it to be, but there is tons and tons and tons of eye candy, which is just as good. It’s a lot funnier than it looks and the satire is unexpectedly hilarious.

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