American Psycho is a 2000 black comedy crime horror film directed by Mary Harron, written by Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner, produced by Edward R. Pressman Productions and Muse Productions, and distributed by Lionsgate Films. The movie is based off of Bret Easton Ellis' 1991 novel, American Psycho. It stars Christian Bale and Willem Dafoe. It was not nominated for any Academy Awards. This is the first film in the American Psycho series. It was followed by American Psycho II: All American Girl.
"Did you know I'm utterly insane?" -Patrick Bateman
Charming investment banker Patrick Bateman manages to keep a healthy routine in life: he stays fit, keeps his body and skin intact, and makes sure his diet is good for him. He also stalks the streets of 1980s New York terrorizing and murdering homeless people and prostitutes. As Bateman balances his banker life with his serial killer life, the fully extent of his insanity comes to fruition.
My Favorite Thing About American Psycho
Easily, easily, easily the best thing about this movie is the main character and central performance. Patrick Bateman is the definition of a lunatic. He is just all kinds of crazy. He has this easy-going charm to him, with his very proper and neat lifestyle, but then also has this terrifying, nasty side to him that is just nauseating. He was just a fun character to watch, and I think they balanced the comedy and horror with him perfectly. And Christian Bale...man. It's unbelievable that he wasn't nominated for an Oscar for this film. The way that he captures the pure insanity of Patrick Bateman is brilliant. He has the calm, smooth personality that Bateman is supposed to have, but then has total mental breakdowns throughout the movie. It's such a good performance! I'm so upset he didn't get an Oscar nod.
My Least Favorite Thing About American Psycho
The thing that bothered me most about the film was that it couldn't decide whether it wanted to be plot-based or not. The movie is mostly just a character study of Patrick Bateman, and character studies aren't usually plot-based. Character studies are from the main character's point of view, analyzing their psychology and what makes them tick. American Psycho seems to be that, but also has this storyline involving the detective that is fighting for the spotlight. It makes the film feel a little off balance, and I wish they had chosen a different route for that detective plot. In light of the ending of the film, the detective plot doesn't even really make any sense.
Why American Psycho Works
This movie perfectly blends dark comedy with the slasher-horror genre. While the movie certainly has disturbing moments that make you want to puke throughout, they aren't disturbing moments that will give you nightmares. They are disturbing moments that are also kind of funny. The movie has a cruel sense of humor, but it works. I mean, there's a scene where Bateman is essentially raping these two women, but he's flexing in the mirror while doing it. It's so dark and disturbing, but also strangely hilarious. It's one of the weirdest sensations I've ever had while watching a movie.
My friend recommended this movie to me, and I definitely think I'm going to listen to more of her recommendations. American Psycho is a very different kind of movie, but the brutal comedy and Christian Bale's extremely creepy performance will make it worth your while.
I will give it a Savory. Age range is 17+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Fun Factor: 8.5/10
WHERE TO WATCH
Amazon Prime Video: Available for free
Apple TV+: Available for rent
Directed by Mary Harron
Rated R for strong bloody violence, strong sexual content, language, alcohol and drug use, frightening images, disturbing themes, thematic elements
Released on April 14, 2000
1 hour and 42 minutes
Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman
Willem Dafoe as Donald Kimball
Jared Leto as Paul Allen
Reese Witherspoon as Evelyn Williams
Chloë Sevigny as Jean
Cara Seymour as Christie
Samantha Mathis as Courtney Rawlinson
Matt Ross as Luis Carruthers
Justin Theroux as Timothy Bryce
Josh Lucas as Craig McDermott
Bill Sage as David Van Patten
Krista Sutton as Sabrina
Guinevere Turner as Elizabeth