Runtime: 1 Hour
and 41 Minutes
The only reason I am rating this film as highly as I am is because,
for its countless myriad of flaws, it does contain one of the funniest
homicides in motion picture history. Patrick Batman (wall street executive,
serial killer, venal asshole and general waste of flesh) is extolling
the virtues of Huey Lewis and the News. His captive (Jared Leto, last
seen losing the war on drugs in "Requiem
For a Dream") sits in a chair surrounded by newspapers. Patrick
stands behind him, dressed in a raincoat and bearing an axe. Finally,
his rant comes to an end. He yells "Hey Paul" and has at
the poor man with the afore-mentioned axe while "Hip to be Square"
plays over the soundtrack. Poor Jared. First he's a victim in "Urban
Legend", then he gets pummeled in "Fight
Club", then he endures the various drug-related tortures
of "Requiem For a Dream". When will this guy ever appear
in a cheery movie?
I only mention this scene as a public service announcement. It is
Chapter 7 on the DVD. Now you can rent it, watch the one good scene,
take it back, and never have to put yourself through the rest of this
piece of shit.
Yes, it is a piece of shit. I've seen a lot of movies this year that
didn't impress me, but there were only two that genuinely enraged
Grinch" was one of them. This thing was the other.
For all its supposed messages about Eighties excess and materialism
(huh? I must have missed something), "American Psycho" is
nothing more than just another slasher film. Instead of Freddy or
Jason, we get Patrick Bateman. He is good looking and rich, but other
than that he is just as one-dimensional a killing machine as the others
I mentioned. Christian Bale's performance here is actually embarrassing.
He reminded me as nothing so much as a man doing a very bad Jim Carrey
impression. He forces a shit-eating grin, looks sullen and then hacks
some people up. That is the extent of his performance. It is too cartoonish
to be serious and too humorless to be funny. Therefore, his performance
in this picture works on absolutely no levels. Bale did a good job
playing a three-dimensional asshole in "Shaft"
opposite Sam Jackson, but he barely has ONE dimension here.
The rest of the movie is the same way. I guess I was meant to be disturbed
or entertained or something by this movie, but I wasn't. It throws
in lots of gory violence and three-way sex and even some violence
against cats, hoping to incite controversy through these tried-and-true,
by the book methods, but it only resulted in boring me. There is no
point to this movie, except to revel and cavort in its own repulsive
nastiness. There is an unpleasantness to this movie that is actually
maddening. And rather lifeless. By the end, the movie completely dives
off the deep end. It passes everything off as a delusion, a dream.
It's sorta like faking your death of cancer and then popping out of
your coffin and saying "Just Kidding, Folks!" The movie
can't even take itself seriously, why should we?
And why does it pussy out? Because it knows it has no point. It is
as self-obsessed as its main character, and just as much fun to spend
time with. It is venal and mean-spirited and hateful toward women
and gays and white people and pretty much everyone. And there is no
point to any of it. No point whatsoever. It cannot make its points
in any logical, thought-provoking manner, so it just kills a few prostitutes.
Whatever happened to subtlety? Did it die? Where did it go? I miss
subtlety. This movie is about as subtle as getting fisted in the men's
room of a Red Lobster, and just as pleasant! It uses violence as a
means to an end, but what end? It glorifies violence and uses it as
the ultimate form of catharsis, the ultimate release for tension.
It bludgeons us over the head with violent acts committed by a venal,
conceited asshole and then asks us to find them amusing. This movie
made me want to kill people, all right. It made me want to kill the
people who made this pile of shit!
At the end, the main character even says that the movie has meant
nothing!!! So what the fuck was the point? What the hell did it hope
to achieve? Hope to prove? I guess it was meant to inspire a debate,
to illustrate... well, SOMETHING! But in the end, it's as vapid and
nasty as its main character. It is an empty, soulless movie about
an empty, soulless man. Which wouldn't be so bad if he weren't also
so damn BORING. When a character's only interesting facet is a penchant
for mass homicide, you know you're in trouble. The film even manages
to botch the image of a man running naked down a hallway with a chainsaw
in his grasp. That is the sign of a truly inept filmmaker. This movie
is sorta like "A Clockwork Orange",
only far, far dumber.
Basically, the movie just bored me and pissed me off. If you want
to see a nasty, venal, charmless and dull movie about a dull, conceited,
vapid asshole and his hatred for everyone who doesn't measure up to
his snobby view of the world (which is pretty much everyone), then
by all means, feel free to watch this pathetic waste of film.
Personally, I'd rather watch something good.
There's a scene in "American Psycho" where the main character,
Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), is ready to kill a co-worker. The
co-worker is sitting in the middle of the room in a chair that's on
top of about 25 square feet of taped-down newspaper. Bateman doesn't
jump at the kill just yet. He prefers to discuss Huey Lewis and The
News at great lengths. Finally, he axes the guy. Repeatedly.
That's one reason, but there are many why most people will undoubtedly
hate this film. When I say this film is not for everybody, it's the
understatement of the year.
That aside, "American Psycho" is a wild ride, devilishly fun
most of the time, and with an unorthodox ending you'll either love or
hate. I welcomed the ending. If you like things wrapped up and solved
by the end, skip this movie.
Bateman is a Wall Street type, in competition with all of his co-workers,
spending too much time talking about the big NYC restaurants, discussing
the hip new '80s music, pampering himself with the highest quality facial
products. He's engaged to Evelyn Williams (Reese Witherspoon), who won't
shut up about marriage. On the side, he's seeing Courtney Rawlinson
(Samantha Mathis), who's too doped up on anti-depressants to ever do
or say anything of importance. He bosses around his secretary Jean (Chloe
Sevigny), who's got a crush on him although he tells her to dress sexier.
Workplace competition fuels some of the murders. How about the others?
Vanity, for sure, comes into play. It's a male ego thing where he wants
to show off power, whether it's the sexual conquest of a couple of women
or berating a bum who's lost his job. Then, finally, Bateman kills just
because he must satisfy that urge.
The last 20 minutes of this movie are a pure psychological mind-screw.
Bateman slips deeper and deeper, finally ending up on a murderous spree.
He calls his lawyer to confess. That's all I'll say. The ending can
be interpreted in a handful of ways. My take, without giving too much
away, is that he's indeed a psycho but probably not the monster we've
made him out to be.
I've discussed a lot about Bateman, the main character, which is the
way to go because minor characters aren't the point here. They fade
in and out, and we don't learn much about them. However, I've managed
to overlook Mary Harron's direction to this point. There are a lot of
nice shots. Look no further than the opening minute or two for a nice
curveball of an opening.
What's the point of the movie, if not a character study of Patrick Bateman?
"American Psycho" satirizes the '80s, specifically the excessiveness
that went along with it, where image is everything. If you don't have
the hippest new business card or eat at the place where you can rarely
get a table, you're nobody. Patrick Bateman tries to fit in. It's just
that he's got this little problem with murder.
"American Psycho" is a black comedy with a lot of awkward
laughs and oddball scenes, with inspired camera work and direction.
Some advice, though: Don't take mom to see it.
Last night, I decided to go to one of the local theaters and check this
film out. In going, I didn't quite know what to expect of this film,
but I ended up leaving the theater a little disappointed by what I saw.
Christian Bale is wonderfully sadistic as Patrick Bateman, a Wall Street
type, who is all about anything but the status quo. As the film begins
he seems to be leading a fairly normal life. He goes to luncheons with
some of his colleagues, listens to music with a passion, and cares deeply
about his dry cleaning. He is engaged to Evelyn (Reese Witherspoon),
who is totally oblivious to anything Patrick says, or does, for that
matter. The scene that introduces her is particularly amusing. She is
babbling on about wedding plans, while Bateman is attempting to dissect
the new Robert Palmer album. He becomes irritated by the interruption
and essentially ends the conversation with his bluntness.
As the film progresses, hints are dropped about what is really lying
under Bateman's pleasant exterior. These all lead up to him going "Paul
Bunyan" on a coworker while discussing the work of Huey Lewis and
The News, engaging in an affair, and randomly killing a number of other
This brings us to the part of the film that let me down. The ending.
The first hour of the film is wonderfully done. The humor is very dark,
and yet very dry at the same time. Such as when a hooker arrives at
Bateman's apartment and he greets her by saying, with a wry little smile,
"So glad you could come." Other points of interest are the
moments with Bateman and his colleagues comparing business cards, like
battle wounds are in "Jaws".
So what is wrong with the end of this film? The problems are too numerous
to explain completely, but I will give an overview. The film just seems
to lose itself in the final twenty minutes or so. Things happen way
too quickly for my taste. Bateman makes a bunch of rash decisions at
the end, which lead up to a "ho, hum" ending. Had the filmmakers
extended the movie by about ten to fifteen minutes the film would have
been enhanced dramatically.
This is one of those films that has an ending that is open to interpretation.
Problem is, it seems like it has that ending simply because the filmmakers
could think of no better way to resolve the film.
Aside from the letdown of an ending, this film has many things going
for it, as I mentioned earlier. Bale is marvelous and Reese Witherspoon
is adorable as usual, although sadly underused throughout the course
of the film.
The positives outweigh the negatives, but just barely. In the end "American
Psycho" is a bold dark comedy, that got a little too bold for it's