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American Psycho

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American PsychoÂ

Director: Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol)
Cast: Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Chloe Sevigny, Jared Leto
Rating: R
Run Time: 97 minutesÂ

A yuppy sociopath does more than dress well and make dinner reservations

Despite an outstanding performance by Christian Bale, read the book and save yourself the nine bucks

In the novel “American Psycho”, written by the once great Bret Easton Ellis, the protagonist and part time sociopath Patrick Bateman kills his victims in a variety of horrific ways, while still finding time to espouse the genius of such 80’s relics as Phil Collins and Whitney Houston. He was a fairly complex character, filled with irony and just a touch of suave debonair. In the end, you actually find yourself rooting for Bateman not to get caught, for his killing sprees to continue. That was the point, and Ellis’ satirical prose delivered that result with pinpoint accuracy.

Now, more than ten years later, director Mary Harron (“I Shot Andy Warhol”) has seen fit to turn one of the more controversial books of the past few decades into a film, an endeavor previously thought impossible. The result, unfortunately, another in a long line of memorable novels turned into truly forgettable films. “Silence Of The Lambs” it is not.

The film, much like the novel, takes place in the mid eighties where sentiments such as greed and avarice were as prevalent as bad music and hair gel. Patrick Bateman is a financial hot shot who dresses impeccably, dines in only the finest restaurants and murders almost as regularly as he applies his skin conditioner, although certainly not with as much precision and care. Image is everything in Patrick’s social circle, and the pressure to look, dress and live better than everyone he knows may just be the impetus behind his murderous rage.

A rage which has caused its fair share of controversy as it relates to dismemberments, slashings and random acts of mayhem. Although unlike the novel, the film chooses not to show the gruesome murders, a wise choice considering the varied ways Bateman does away with his victims in Ellis’ novel, i.e. jumper cables, rodents and nail guns. Trust me, Harron does us a favor by not showing any of this.

Another wise choice by the filmmaker was her decision to cast Christian Bale in the lead role, a role originally intended for Leonardo DiCaprio. To put it simply, Bale is an absolute revelation as the egomaniacal serial killer Patrick Bateman. His performance is so startling and breakthrough that it literally jumps off the screen. Unfortunately, Bale is the only thing worth watching in the entire film.

Chloe Sevigny is absolutely wasted as Bateman’s secretary, the film doesn’t really seem to go anywhere and at times is downright boring. It’s supposed to be a black comedy, but is never very funny and the ending is absolutely ridiculous. A far cry from the biting satire of Ellis’ novel.

By: Jason Cahill

Written by craigett1

April 23, 2000 at 11:27 am

Posted in movies

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