Jamie’s 31 Days of Halloween: The 2012 Edition – American Psycho (2000)
Welcome back, guys. It’s DAY 3 of my personal horror fest. So far, so pretty good. I needed a boost so, for today, I chose something I know and trust. My selection for tonight is American Psycho. Interestingly, American Psycho is a film that I have avoided discussing in writing for the most part. There are just so many layers to this story that I have always found it slightly intimidating. There are so many things I want to delve into and talk about, yet at the same time, I am hesitant to do so for fear I won’t do it justice. And looky what I did this year. I painted myself into a corner so now I have to at least give it a shot.
American Psycho is the film by Mary Harron, based on the novel of the same name by Brett Easton Ellis. Patrick Batemen (Christian Bale) is a rich, good looking, 27 year old who works on Wall Street. Well, he has an office on Wall Street but we never see him do anything but listen to his Walkman and read porn. He is also proficient in getting haircuts, buying suits, choosing business cards, eating at restaurants, and wielding running chainsaws.
Patrick’s most powerful driving force is his desire for, his obsession, for conformity. He states numerous times that he just wants to “fit in.” So he wears all the right clothes and goes to all the right restaurants but still can’t seem to be pleased with his life. He is engaged to Evelyn (Reese Witherspoon) but that’s more of a have-to kinda thing. Everyone is coupled and everyone is having affairs. Welcome to the decadence of the mid 1980s.
Patrick pushes himself and stresses so hard about conforming with his Yuppy peers that he goes a little off the deep end. When I say “a little,” you should picture Johnny Weismuller doing a cliff dive. Patrick has a habit of picking up prostitutes and giving them a rundown on why it’s never a good idea to use wire hangers. He learned a lot from Mommie Dearest, it seems. And, in his spare time, he enjoys yelling at the local laundromat for being unable to remove “cranberry apple juice” stains from his Cerutti sheets. I’d recommend a roll of plastic for future use but who am I to judge his technique?
The bulk of the film involves watching Bateman dispatch victims while playing a not-always-too-clever game of cat and mouse with a private detective (Willem Dafoe) who is looking for a missing Yuppy (Jared Leto) who might have fared better if he had been a fan of Huey Lewis and the News. The problem with anyone from this peer group going missing is that no one seems to ever remember who anyone else is, and with good reason. With their suits and haircuts and such, they all look the same.
Bateman, in the end, goes on a maniacal spree leavng the viewer unsure in the end if he has actually committed the atrocities we thought he did. Maybe it’s all in his mind; you be the judge. Or go read the book.
Okay, I’m not going any deeper than that. It’s not necessary for my purposes and I’m sure you get the idea. This entry is a fun one for me with nudity and blood and Christian Bale and Christina Bale nudity. I can’t fault it for anything. American Psycho is a brilliantly black comedy with satirical overtones and a hefty dose of “holy crap” to satisfy those of us with blood lust. I adore the perfection that is American Psycho. My Jason score: 5/5