Christian Bale is an A-list actor thanks mainly to Christopher Nolan’s BATMAN trilogy
and not TERMINATOR 4. He’s been an A-list actor in my head since April of 2000 when he became the face of Patrick Bateman. I read the controversial Bret Easton Ellis novel before the movie came out and didn’t expect the movie transition to be of any substance thanks to m experience with the Ellis’ previous adaptation, LESS THAN ZERO. However, director Mary Harron proved me to be an idiot upon first viewing. The blatant racism, mysoginism and brutal violence of the novel are substituted for the not so subtle dangers of classicism in an economically fertile environment like mid-80’s New York City. Bateman is still a pretentious “murderous” narcissist, yet thanks to Harron’s finely detailed direction, we get into Bateman’s head and feel his adrenaline. Understanding his past and how he came to be a passive-agressive imaginary serial killer is unimportant. What is important is that we feel what he feels and understands what he understands, which can be a daunting task if it were in the hands of a less capable screenwriter and director.
AMERICAN PSYCHO is an amazing film, however it does suffer from “the book is better syndrome.” This film adaptation is about as well as it could be. Bale and company brought their A-game.
The irony that a story of a racist, homophobic, straight, white, male, serial killer (so to speak) being brought to life by women filmmakers was not lost on me. The portrait of Patrick Bateman isn’t as scary as the idea of his manifestation of what is perhaps the unspoken feelings of many economically-privledged people in powers of position. The real terror of the story is that the events (more or less) are realistic. The hilarity (more or less) is that they are a voice of certain people who’s egos are fueled by currency. AMERICAN PSYCHO isn’t a horror-comedy because of its upsirdity. It’s a horror-comedy because of our current economic reality.
The ENTIRE cast is awesome. If you’ve avoided Reese Witherspoon because of movies like Legally Blonde
or fuck me, Sweet Home Alabama, you’ll want to revisit her craft with this flick and understand why her subtle yet realistic craft has made her an industry favorite for years. The movie is pitch perfect in its tone of combining horror and comedy, adrenaline and serenity. The idea of the “me decade” is turned on its head and is shown for its hypocrisy and pretension.
**** out 4 stars
Nicoise salad and a 1986 Chardonnay. I feel that’s what Patrick Bateman would want.