Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

American Psycho – 2000

American-Psycho-PosterWealth is a strange concept. It undoubtedly changes people, often for the worse. When combined with the foul mix of youth, charm, luxury, success and extreme narcissism, certain psychological overloads can ensue. Christian Bale demonstrates his exquisite talents pre-Batman as Bateman, Patrick Bateman; an embodiment of the aforementioned cauldron of guaranteed demise.

Following the classic ‘anti-hero’ structure for a story, “American Psycho” plays on conventions and the norm in spectacular fashion. Patrick Bateman; the most outrageous occupant of Wall Street in a film (well, perhaps before Jordon Belfort), is an astonishingly awful human being.
In what is essentially a perfectly executed black comedy, the life and times of Bateman are explored in extensive and intricate fashion. He is arrogant, self centred, rude, disgusting and utterly putrid, and that’s just the surface of the man. He also kills for no reason whatsoever.
Possessing a psychotic alter-ego that ‘discards’ those who threaten him in any way (even a stylish business card can set him off), Patrick Bateman is not someone you could easily associate with.

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This is by far and away Christian Bale’s best performance in a role. It is unique, challenging and demanding in countless ways, plus, Bale delivers like never before. For such a complex character in Bateman, Bale capitalises on the opportunity so effortlessly, it’s rather scary.
Bateman is enigmatic, hard to read and difficult to grasp on an emotional level; this is undoubtedly heightened through Bale’s efforts. From his spotless apartment, to his rather corny music taste, Bateman is an excellent protagonist to explore in a motion picture, and director Mary Harron executes him superbly.

Don’t go into “American Psycho” expecting a horror, let alone a ‘serious’ film; it’s anything but a horror, and anything but a ‘serious’ picture.
By not being a horror, it does’t necessarily qualify the film as a lighthearted comedy per se, but it is definitely an ultra dark comedy that is meant to be taken for exactly what it is.
For how utterly disgusting and taboo it is at certain points, “American Psycho” deserves to simply be observed and recognised as a bold, clever and striking film on so many levels – an applaudable quality without a doubt.

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Christian Bale is in career-best form undertaking the incredibly diverse role of Patrick Bateman. “American Psycho” is shocking, off-putting, engrossing and immensely entertaining. It’s one of the more underrated films of the naughties and honestly deserves more recognition than it gets.
If you’re feeling like a satirical spin on genre clichés, conventions and societal issues, “American Psycho” will not disappoint; who knows, it may even invite you for drinks whilst listening to Huey Lewis & The News…

4.5/5

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