The movie “American Psycho,” based on the popular novel by Bret Easton Ellis, has a star-studded cast led by Christian Bale. Bale plays Patrick Bateman, a wealthy banking executive that secretly lives a double life as a psychopathic murderer. The needs of acceptance and self-fulfillment drive his blood-thirst and hedonistic fantasies.
This 97-minute movie takes viewers on a journey deep into the mind of a deranged man’s true desires of the heart.
For some viewers, the journey may not be a welcome one. The film is wrought with sex, violence and murder, mature themes that, when played out, could be off-putting. In other words, the film is rated R for a reason, so please leave the kids at home.
In one particular scene, a prostitute threatens to sue Bateman for hospitalizing her the last time they were together. Bateman responds by killing the prostitute with a chainsaw as she tries to escape down the stairwell.
This type of violence is prevalent in the film, but, because it is used strategically, it is palatable. There is no senseless gore in this film. Go see one of the Halloween specials for that. Instead, violence is used to highlight the character’s descent into madness. Every murder brings the character closer and closer to the brink of insanity, leaving viewers on the edge of their seats as they wonder when the character will fall off the cliff.
The casting of the film is one of the highlights. Bale does an excellent job of bringing Patrick Bateman’s insanity to life.
Those of you who know Bale from the Batman films may scoff. Certainly, the gravely voiced, duck-lipped actor can’t portray a serious character?
But Bale can and has transformed himself into his character. Bale’s stellar performance in “The Fighter” as the strung-out drug addict Dicky Ward proves that the actor has abilities far beyond those used to play the caped crusader.
Bale does it again in this film. His authentic portrayal of insanity brings the story to life. Bale manages to create incongruity between his character’s lines and outward features, making viewers wonder what is really going on in his mind.
No review would be complete without an homage to the director, Mary Harron. Bringing a written work to the big screen is no easy feat, yet Harron does it seamlessly. She manages to stay true to the book by weaving the themes of vices, violence and madness into her adaptation. For those who read the book, you will not be disappointed with the film.
However, Harron’s attention to detail makes comprehension difficult. It is almost impossible to catch everything in a single viewing.
The movie was an intriguing dive into the mind of a serial killer, with the ending leaving the audience baffled and eager to find the hidden themes and messages.