Based on Bret Easton Ellis’ novel of the same name, American Psycho (2000) is a darkly humorous cult film starring Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman – Wall Street executive by day, ruthless murderer by night. In this film, we follow Patrick as he attempts to hide his violent tendencies and thirst for blood from his co-workers and friends, as his murderous tendencies escalate and his greed for violence grows.
- I firstly have to admit that I love the book. It’s totally disgusting and gross, and extremely violent in a gratuitous way, but I can appreciate Bret Easton Ellis’ “art” in creating something so abhorrent, and I can see the satire in such a work.
- The film is like a neutered version of the book. If you read the book and hope to see the same level of insane violence, then you will probably be disappointed. But there is no way that a film based on this book could be totally faithful, given the level of grotesque murdering that occurs. As a result, the satire is almost neutered as well.
- Christian Bale is amazing in this though. From the overly perfect facade and newsreader-style voice, to his psychopathic persona and frenzied killing, he pretty much nails everything (no pun intended for those who have seen the film/read the book). This might actually be one of my favourite roles for him.
- “You like Huey Lewis & The News?” – this scene is just ridiculous. But it’s also iconic, in a way. For an audience to actually laugh as their anti-hero is about to brutally murder someone takes a lot of skill and guts, and Christian Bale totally commits to it.
- If you want to see a version of the famous Huey Lewis & the News scene except replaced with Kanye West’s Yeezus album (one of my favourites, don’t judge), have a look here. Kind of genius.
- I remember back when I worked at the bookshop, it used to be pretty awkward attempting to describe the book to people. “Well-to-do businessman snaps and kills a bunch of people with a lot of disgusting, detailed violence – but it’s really a good book, I swear”.
- There’s this amazing part in the book, during the chase scene after Patrick goes on his killing spree towards the end, where the prose goes from first person past tense to third person present tense – e.g. “I jumped behind the car and then Patrick runs to the door”. There’s this strange perception shift to seeing things from within this crazy character’s mind, to having a strange, out of body experience along with Patrick as he attempts to escape after his rampage. Long story short, this was not conveyed as well (if at all) in the film. Which sucks because that scene totally blew my mind when I was reading it.
- Even though American Psycho the film doesn’t really match up to American Psycho the book, I’d still say that it’s a pretty great film. It misses a bit on the satire and it doesn’t deliver the ending as strongly as the book. But I think this film succeeds because of Christian Bale and the craziness he brings to the role of Patrick Bateman. He is infinitely watchable and charming in his absolute villainy.
- It is interesting to note that American Psycho and Pulp Fiction (1994) share a cinematographer – Andrzej Sekuła, who also worked on Reservoir Dogs (1992). I can’t see too much of a visual similarity amongst each of these films, but the cinematography certainly is pretty great in this.
- The below scene is probably one of the best of the film just due to its sheer ridiculousness. I’d like to think that one day, when I have a business card of my very own to distribute to people at random, mine would have a nice watermark as well.
Watch this film at Amazon!