American Psycho ~ A Review
Posted August 21st, 2013 by Nightwalker
A Book Review by Jack
When this film first hit theatres in 2000, it seemingly polarized critics all over the place. People viewed it as a richly dark satire, as well as a brutal thriller and a harrowing drama. Others considered the violence and graphic sexual content disturbing and unsuitable even for modern audiences.
It’s know thirteen years later, and after watching this film for the first time, even compared to some of the many pictures that could challenge the brutality of American Psycho, it comes across as pretty damn harsh.
The story, in case you haven’t heard yet, is based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis. It follows our anti-hero, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), a slick Wall Street guy, armed with expensive suits and dashing good looks to match. He wades through the ‘80s New York high-life with an odd carefree attitude, that we soon realise is all but a front. Our director, Mary Harron, slowly unravels the textured façade of Bateman, and we begin to see his strict inner-voice, his worryingly split personality, and the dark blood-lust that courses through his veins. Bateman delves deep into his nightmarish fantasies in his nightlife, and as the plot progresses, so does his no-holds descent into madness.
Harron has created here, an unusual product. The film plays out much like a very fluid nightmare. The colours, while very suave and rich, much like the suits worn by Bateman’s colleagues, are very stark and drastic. This as well as Bale’s very, ahem, erratic performance, create a sense of great unease. I’m not faulting Bale in any way- he gives a noticeably layered performance here. He works nicely as the unreliable narrator who slowly guides us down the blood-drenched yellow brick road of 1980s Wall Street.
All of the acting, in fact, is great in this film. Chloe Sevigny, an actress who I particularly like, gives a nicely tight, however brief, turn as Bateman’s secretary. William Dafoe is great. Jared Leto is great. The whole bunch is great.
Really the whole movie is pulled off well. The direction pulls the picture into some very dark places. The violence and sex, is as expected, extreme. But it is vital to the honesty of the story, and the film would feel half-assed if it were to be dialled down to a lesser rating.
I have to point out though, that the film feels weirdly empty, even after finished. Perhaps this is the desired effect. But after watching it, I felt there was something, just something, unfinished. This could easily be due to the eventual collapse of the narrative towards the ending (which feels all too rushed and uneven).
The film, all the same, delivers a startling punch. It provides an enjoyably satirical view on the ‘80s suits, as well as harrowing portrayal of insanity in modern society. I give the film a 7.5 out of 10: a recommended, tense late night viewing that will most probably stick in your mind for at least a few nights to come.
A/N. I just finished this film, and felt weirdly moved to go write something about it. So here's a brief review. NOTE: The movie is very graphic, and the garphic content is briefly mentioned in this review, so steer clear if you feel wary. If feel urged to watch it, the movie should really be 16+ viewing material.
See more stories by Jack