Review: American Psycho

American Psycho is a 2000 horror film starring Christian Bale. It’s based on the novel written by Bret Easton Ellis. I shouldn’t love this movie, but I do. (Spoilers)

A wealthy New York investment banking executive, Patrick Bateman, hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he delves deeper into his violent, hedonistic fantasies. (IMDB)

Taking place in the 1980’s, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) works for Pierce & Pierce on Wall Street. He basically has two lives. On the surface, he’s a wealthy 27-year-old executive. He’s not faithful, but is engaged to a woman named Evelyn Williams (Reese Witherspoon). He goes out to fancy dinners with his wealthy co-workers, and wants to fit in. He’s also one of the most narcissistic characters ever created.

When he isn’t trying to be normal, he’s a serial killer. This is where you need to have a particular sense of humor. Watching him apply his raincoat & rant about Huey Lewis and the News before striking Paul Allen, is one of the most hilarious scenes. It’s also the little things he says that have made this movie so memorable. My friends and I still jokingly quote this movie. “Hey, think we can get a table at Dorsia tonight?” “I need to return some video tapes.”

patrick

So catchy!

I always forget how great of a cast this is. Originally, they wanted Leonardo DiCaprio as Patrick Bateman. Now, I can’t imagine anyone other than Christian Bale in this role. The rest of the cast includes Jared Leto, Reese Witherspoon, Willem Dafoe, & Chloe Sevigny. They all put in a great performance.

As you know, the ending is where things get tricky. It can be debated just how many people he truly killed, but it’s almost certain he was responsible for some. The writer/director of the film (Mary Harron) has stated that she didn’t intend to make it seem like everything was in his head.

“One thing I think is a failure on my part is people keep coming out of the film thinking that it’s all a dream, and I never intended that. All I wanted was to be ambiguous in the way that the book was. I think it’s a failure of mine in the final scene because I just got the emphasis wrong. I should have left it more open-ended. It makes it look like it was all in his head, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s not.” (source)

This is somewhat frustrating. So, how much of it is truly in his head? Obviously, some of it is. I don’t mean to turn this review into a debate over the ending. However, most people buy into either one of two theories.

Theory #1
He killed most of these people, but not Paul Allen.

Theory #2
He killed everyone. This is explained by how characters constantly have him mistaken for someone else. It makes him invisible. He looks like everyone else. Therefore, nobody notices he’s the one leaving all these bodies.  Personally, I think the people who believe he killed everyone are reading too much into things. I’m going with the first theory.

Despite the ending making things a bit confusing, I still love American Psycho. I don’t know why. It goes against almost everything I like in a film. I’m not a fan of interpretive endings, & the main character is a complete tool. However, it’s 18 years later & I still constantly quote this movie with my friends. It’s truly a rare exception.

Score: 9/10

Pros

+ Very quotable

+ Hilarious if you have a sick sense of humor

+ Great cast

+ Great 80’s soundtrack

Cons

-Issues with the ending

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