American Pyscho

  • Category: Music & Movies
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  • Grade: 89
American Psycho

        American Psycho released by Lions Gate Film directed by Mary Harron and starring Christian Bale, Jared Leto, William Dafoe and Chole Segvay. American Pyscho is film about greed, power, vanity and how a psycho killer views the life. Christian Bale plays Patrick Bateman a man who spends hours on his physical appearance but does not communicate on any emotional level. Bateman is a character who tries to realize who he is and what he feels by inflicting pain upon others. Christian Bale delivers a fabulous performance and Marry Harron brings a unique style to the screen. Through all the gratutatis violence and horable deeds commited by Bateman a bitting sarcasm shows it self. The dark drama and the dark comedy are so well blended that your not sure whether to laugh or recoil in horror.
        We start the movie off with black credits on the left of screen while on the right a red liquid drips down. As the pool of red collects, growing larger and larger. The camera pans back and reveals a red berry sauce being served on a stark white plate over a nice little meal at an expensive restaurant. Inside that restaurant we meet high power, 80's yuppie Patrick Bateman. The anti-hero. Patrick Bateman is a respected Wall Street businessman by day. Outside of work, though, he is an accomplished serial killer. After the murder of a rival businessman, Paul Allen (Jared Leto), private investigator (Willem Dafoe) starts to pick up his trail as Bateman starts to go mental in covering his tracks. The movie puts us in the mind of a mad man, Patrick Bateman, who's telling us his story. Identity is a hard thing to come by in his Wall Street world. Thus he kills. Work, living address, clothes, restaurants frequented and particularly the design of one's business card are vital means for providing this. Attempting to explain the point of everything to his fiancee, Bateman says in his careful pronunciation, "Because I want to fit in."


American Psycho deeply involves the viewer with the perversion of a human mind and existence by the sheer boredom of having everything - money, success, jobs and women. What Bateman lacks is respect, and self-respect in particular. The movie (by many) was considered to be weak on plot, however American Psycho seems to derive its substance not from the plot but from the deeo characterization, and from Mary Harrons artistic view.
        The backbone of the film is quite clearly the superb acting preformance by Christian Bale. Much of the complexity of Patrick's character comes from the fact that he seems, paradoxically, to be both obsessed with the idea of conforming to the values of the world he lives in, and, at the same time, being strangely conscious of their unreality and meaninglessness. Thus, we see him becoming almost emotionally unglued because he fears he will not be able to reserve the proper table at a posh upscale restaurant or because he feels that one of his corporate buddies has a more impressive looking business card than he does. Christian Bale brings a remarkable subtlety to a touchy role, managing to seem coolly alluring, chillingly detached, touchingly pathetic and wryly amusing all at the same time. Above all else Christian Bale's acting is genuine. He is Patrick Bateman.Becuase of the amazing subtlety Bale orchastrates even at the height of emotional dysfunction, we are eyewitness to his vain narcisscism that leaves the viewer feeling sorry for this wretched fraction of a man. Bale's acting is amazing in this role, playing such a complicated character. The murder scenes are filled with such tension, and the idea of chopping someone up into pieces whiles doing a soliloquy of why Huey Lewis's songs and music is so influential, is carried off becuase of Christian Bale. Few actors could carry it off without loseing the importance of the dialouge.
        The reason for the films success is Marry Harron. The brittle, dryly humorous Mary Harrion/Guinevere Turner screenplay mines the corporate world and a values-free mind for all their black comedy potential. In many ways Mary Harron one-ups the author of American Pyscho, Bret Easton Ellis in just about every department with her screen adaptation. Harron takes the most satirical elements of the novel and brings them to screen with great style. Harron brilliantly establishes Bateman's attraction for all things vain in a scene where he describes his daily facial rejuvenating process while standing in front of his bathroom mirror. If you combine that moment with Bateman's non-stop exercise regime and his desire to dine at the fanciest of restaurants, you have a Bateman that is concerned with nothing more than his own beautification. Special recognition should go to the stark, sterile look the filmmakers achieve through the art direction and set design, a look that matches the moral and emotional emptiness of the characters and their world.
        Overall American Psycho is a failry good adaptaion of the grisly Bret Easton Ellis book. Having read the novel before seeing the film, i would have to say that Mary Harmon and Co. improved upon the novel by cutting back on the obscene atrocaties that Bateman committs. In place of the brutal violence is a darker more cynical edge than even Ellis could not acheive with the repatative acts of insasne vilonce. American Psycho is not however a perfect film by any means, strong acting talents William Dafoe and Reese Witherspoon do what they can in supportting roles, but their characters where not fleshed out enough by the script. If one is looking for a satiracl. dark, (brutal even) look at the Reagan era told with a style simmillar to that of Fight Club, than this movie is for you. Not for the weak of heart though.

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