Thoughts On… American Psycho (2000)

220px-AmericanpsychoposterBased 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. “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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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”.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!


  1. Books are always going to better then the movie. I thought they put forth the satire very well in the movie. If they did feature a lot of the grotesque violent scenes from the book. People would be focused more on that then they would the actual humor of the scene itself. I need to re read the book again sometime

    1. Very true! Love the book though, always worth a re-read!

  2. Great piece Anna! I need to actually finish this. I have started it a few times and just never gotten around to finishing it – it hasn’t grabbed me yet. I will be trying again sometime though. I did enjoy the movie, Bale was fantastic!

    1. Thanks Zoe! 🙂 It’s so worth finishing! The book is awesome. And Bale is just perfect!

  3. I adore the book too! I think they did as much as they could with bringing this on screen – I remember there were already claims of movie being porn can you imagine if they adapted it more closely? Bale was outstanding – he played Bateman as if they adapted the whole book not just a bit of it, he really became his character on screen

    1. Oh yeah, imagine if they faithfully translated the more horrific murder scenes? People would have gone absolutely crazy. From the very beginning Bale is so amazing in this. I can’t get over that perfect newsreader voice that he puts on in front of his friends. The best.

  4. Read the book at college too. The film wasn’t too bad. Felt it really captured the essence of the book. Is there anything Bale can’t do btw?

    1. Good question! It seems like very film I watch with Bale in it I love him every time!

  5. Have never seen it…

    1. You should definitely give it a watch at some point in time!

  6. I still need to read the book but I really liked the film and I loved all the other Bret Easton Ellis novels I’ve read.

    1. He’s a bit of a funny one that Bret Easton Ellis, but he sure does know how to write a great book!

  7. Did you know that American Psycho: The Musical was a thing? It’s the best show I’ve seen on stage in a few years, and that’s coming from someone who loved the book and liked the film. The business card scene is pretty epic (review:

    1. I had absolutely no idea there was a musical, and my mind has been blown! That would have been so amazing to see, I’m going to make it my mission to see it at some point in time!

  8. Oh my gosh, I really admire this movie, but I haven’t read the book! So if you say the book is that much better, then I’m DEFINITElY going to have to read it!!

    1. The book is really amazing! It feels different to the film though, even though I do love them both. It’s a strange experience reading it because thanks to the literary tricks employed, you do feel as if you’re inside Patrick Bateman’s head, which can be quite disturbing to say the least. The violence is a lot more extreme, but so is the banality and product placement and discussions about bands. Love it.

  9. I love this movie so very much. It’s mean, grotesque, and most of all, hilarious as hell. Still waiting to read the novel one of these days. Good post!

    1. Thanks Dan! 🙂 If you love the film you should definitely give the book a go. It’s pretty amazing!

  10. Haven’t read the book, but I love the movie. For me, the satire was spot-on and really helped carry the movie, along with Bale’s fine performance, of course.

    1. For sure. I think the book perhaps nails the satire and ambiguity of the ending a bit more clearly just because it has the time and space to do so. But Bale can definitely do no wrong, and this film is just another example of that!

  11. I think everyone of a certain age loves this movie. All time classic and as quotable as many comedies. It’s really funny in its own right. The book too is fantastic, although I did see the film first.

    1. It’s funny, for some reason I imagined that more people would dislike this film, but it looks like pretty much everyone loves it!

      1. I don’t know anyone who hates it, which considering it’s content is quite strange!

  12. markkadams · · Reply

    Great points! I have not read the book, so those points of comparison were absent for me and what was left was for me a truly great film.

    1. Thanks heaps Mark! 🙂 I only watched this after reading the book so have lost a bit of objectiveness there. But what an awesome film it is.

  13. Christian Bale did a great job as Patrick Bateman. I agree with your points, particularly point 2. There was talk of a new American Psycho film.

    1. I remember, there was a sequel and it had Mila Kunis in it! I’ve never seen it but it’s meant to be horrible. What a surprise.

  14. Great review! I love this movie too and my friend was just telling me the other day I should read the book. Love that Kanye promo… haha yes I like him too so I won’t jude. 🙂

    1. The book is pretty hardcore, would love to hear what you think of it if you end up giving it a go! Haha, I kind of adore Kanye but that’s a secret!

      1. I like Kanye and his music, not the Kimye version! haha

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