Thursday, 2 August 2012

American Psycho (2000)

Patrick Bateman is a successful 1980s Wall Street businessman. He has a beautiful fiancée. He has a beautifully chic high rise apartment. He has rich and successful friends and he has great taste in suits and business cards.

Patrick Bateman, however, is not human. He has blood. He has bones. He has fantastic hair and immaculate skin. He has all the physical characteristics of a person, but he is a monster who has no discernible emotions other than a narcissistic hunger for sex, violence and lying.

American Psycho follows Christian Bale's Patrick Bateman as he sates his lust for murder in this satirical take on the excesses of 1980's materialistic "yuppie" culture. He is a fully fledged psychopath. Not your usual "experienced a traumatic event that turned him crazy" or "is actually just a misunderstood eccentric" hollywood psychopath, but a properly terrifying, unfeeling and unrepentant inhuman machine. Christian Bale is fantastic as Bateman and makes him truly scary. In his voice alone he manages to capture the idea that, in his everyday life, Patrick is simply acting out a role of how he thinks a normal person would act. We only hear the real Patrick through voiceover monologues, quite fittingly as well, as there are few moments in the film where you see behind the facade itself.

The film tries very hard to be a biting satire of a certain type of materialistic culture, but falls just short of hitting the mark. The world that Bateman inhabits is disgustingly materialistic and fake, but the killer is hardly any kind of solution, he's just simply a different type of disgusting and disingenuity. The real intelligence behind the picture comes in Bale's performance and that alone really.

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