Review: AMERICAN PSYCHO (2000)
Patrick Bateman is a successful Wallstreet Broker, has a top body… And is a Psychopath. Not the moderate type like your boss, who likes to humiliate his employees to make him feel better about his pathetic life. Patrick is batshit crazy and lacks what most people makes special; emotions. He is shallow, peacocky and full of hate. Though he has a wild sex life, he is incapable of having a loving relationship with a Girl. He get´s his kicks from killing homeless people or stabbing Prostitutes and when a series of murders is finally sending him on a killing spree, he totally loses grip on reality.
AMERICAN PSYCHO is based on the controversial Novel by Breat Easton Ellis and doesn´t fall short on verbal and visual cruelties. In my Eyes, the movie is an instant classic that playfully mocks the fact that many Psychopaths are actually high paid managers or wall street brokers and dramatizes that theme to the absolute extreme.
Christian Bale’s portrayal is absolutely spot on and some of the scenes are so catchy that they even found their way into the internet, where they live on as “memes” or “reaction-GIFs”.
The Movie is very successful in showing the shallow little details in the life of a psychopath; and that´s when AMERICAN PSYCHO has its strongest moments. For example, the scene when Bateman is furious about a barkeeper that won´t take his credit card and verbally assaults her is just one little example of abnormal behavior in our everyday lives. Most of us probably know at least one psychopath without even knowing and scenes like this are just an indicator for what goes on beyond the surface. I mean, I worked as a bar keeper at some point in my life, and there were many people who were acting equally aggressive like that and though i am sure that none of them went full psycho and killed some people, I wouldn´t be surprised by some of them had at least one screw lose too.
Jared Leto plays a small role and you can already guess how good of an actor he´s about to become later in his career. The Movie is brutal, but not really a typical splatter film because most of the horror works on a very subliminal level.
AMERICAN PSYCHO manages to polarize greatly and I know many critics who can´t stand it, but to me, it is a Masterpiece with a couple of negligible weaknesses. I agree that it´s absolutely not as good as the Book, but that also applies for most other adaptations and the sheer amount of splatter that can be found in the book was not really something that you can adapt 1:1 to the screen. A little bit more gore wouldn´t have hurt, but since there already were problems getting an R Rating with this Version, this was the only way to get it done without risking to get a killer-rating. More gore would have probably led to the film being banned or terribly censored and in my Eyes, AMERICAN PSYCHO is a really good Adaptation of Ellis´ novel.
The Direction is first class and the fact that so many scenes are still known outside the movie are a good indication of that. For example, the scene when Patrick Bateman rips off his gel-mask is allegorical for the fact that many psychopaths are in fact very good at hiding their craziness from the rest of the world and that is just one example of good cinematography. Chris Bale´s performance in AMERICAN PSYCHO is one of the best in his career and drove forth the way to other great performances in movies like THE FIGHTER or AMERICAN HUSTLE.
And the huge amount of hidden humor and innuendos is absolutely fabulous. The almost musical Approach of portraying the Paul Allen Murder or the little details about HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS or GENESIS makes the difference between a simple movie about a psycho or a classic. Bale’s performance is almost comedy-like and so over the top that you feel reminded about the notorious talk show appearance from Tom Cruise, who allegedly was christian bales role model for Patrick Bateman.
AMERICAN PSYCHO is SO not a typical horror and splatter film and most people who are looking for a movie like FRIDAY THE 13th will absolutely NOT like it. But if you understand the satirical vibe of this and appreciate the sharp-tounged cinematography, you will be all over this and take it out to dinner. It must have been pretty hard to direct this movie without going down the road of creating a bog-standard slasher movie and in my Eyes, AMERICAN PSYCHO is a directorial masterpiece. It works on so many levels that you will probably have to watch this more than once and everyone who criticizes it should think about watching it another time; because there is so much more than what meets the eye.
AMERICAN PSYCHO - 92%