Director – Mary Harron
Cast – Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas, Bill Sage, Chloe Sevigny, Reese Witherspoon, Samantha Mathis, Matt Ross, Jared Leto, Willem Dafoe
Release Year – 2000
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I really love serial killer flicks, especially when they give us a killer that isn’t the usual live-at-home-abused-by-the-mother-and-is-now-extremely-introverted-and-anti-social breed we always seem to see. American Psycho is a rare breed because it does give us a unique killer, one we would never expect to see and one we probably won’t forget.
The film stars Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, a wealthy finance executive with a psychotic and bloodthirsty alter-ego. He manages to hide this side of him from his friends and co-workers, but as he delves more and more into his obsession and gratuitous fantasies, he begins to slip and may lose everything he has worked so hard for.
I went into this flick with pretty high expectations, and although they were not met fully, I did enjoy this piece. Patrick Bateman is fun to watch and gives us a very original serial killer. He reminded me a lot of about 90% of Jim Carey’s characters, but made even better by welding an ax or a chainsaw. He makes the film comical with his habits and actions, his memes are hilarious and show us just how messed up the guy really is. We never get a real reason as to why he does what he does, and that in my opinion worked well for this film. Bravo to Christian Bale for his performance in this film, I was surprised and impressed.
The direction in this film is positive, and it paces well. The kill scenes were pretty damn awesome, and did not stray away from the gore. I personally wish we would have had more kills on screen, it would have made this film a more enjoyable watch and helped it’s pacing a bit given we go for great lengths at times between kills. The writing is well done, and I applaud the film’s screenwriters for adapting this very well from it’s novel by Bret Easton Ellis. The way writer/director Mary Harron used actor Willem Dafoe as Det. Donald Kimball was genius, with us never knowing if he knows Patrick Bateman’s crime, he if thinks Bateman committed the crime, or if he has no clue of Bateman committed the crime or not. She went so far as to film each scene with Dafoe three times, with him portraying each one of the three elements I just mentioned each time, and then editing all three together, keeping the viewer in limbo. Genius.
There is not much I did not like about the film, only that I wish we would have had more kills which would have improved the pacing of the flick.
Overall, this is a good watch that I recommend to all, even non-fans of the horror genre. This flick works as a drama as well, so great character performances ensue. Be prepared for one of the most unique serial killers to grace the screen.
– I listed this film as an “Honorable Mention” in my Top 50 Horror Movies of the Decade(41-50) post.