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American Psycho Review
Directed By: Marry Harron.
Starring: Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Reese Witherspoon, Samantha Mathis.
Synopsis: Christian Bale plays Patrick Bateman, the personification of the "me" culture of Ronald Reagan's 1980s. Imprisoned in an inane corporate existence fueled by status symbols, small talk, and gossip, Bateman begins a bloody reign of terror on nearly all that cross his path.
The thing is, yes, this does seem to be a glossy little blood fest on the surface but anyone with a modicum of intelligence will soon spot that Mary Harron has made an sharp, focused and hard edged film that condemns the kind of films this will probably be grouped with. It is satire, it is pop culture and it makes you guilty for liking it as much as you will.
From the opening credits Harron sets the tone of the piece as arterial sprays of red fly across the white of the screen only to reveal that is in fact deserts being prepped for the Corporate Suits...the weasels of Wall Street as it were.
Yes there was controversy about adapting this book that seems to glorify the serial killer 'culture' especially as Paul Bernardo, one of the more sadistic of Canada's serial killers considered it bedside reading but director Mary Harron has put this film in adarkly fascinating context and taken the controversy from the film and made it a unique think-piece. Almost an essay of the 80's mingling with the dark side of Reaganomics if you will.
However, that is not to say it is not bloody, visceral or has scenes that will completely creep you out. The chair sequence with Christian Bale dancing maniacally to Huey Lewis's Hip To Be Square as he prepares to carve up Jared Leto with an axe is both disturbingly hysterical and grippping. Paul Allen's (Leto) only crime against Patrick Bateman (Bale) it seems is that his business card is the pinnacle of beauty, perfection...making Bateman's card seem sub-par as a result...well, then, off with his head!
While I wouldn't recommend this film to the squeamish or children...it is noteworthy that most...I say most not all of the violence occurs off screen. Again...most, not all...there are a couple of particularly nasty sequences that will have the audience grimacing along with the images. Also, the film does have a few flaws, like some scenes with Det. Donald Kimball, aptly played by Willem Dafoe who is on a major streak in his career it seems but the scenes end up being more of a red herring than actually affecting the outcome of the storyline.
Still all in all, a surprisingly good comment on a past decade with some truly unique images to keep you arguing this one with your friends over what 'is and is not' within the frames of the film. American Psycho easily earns a star for Chirstian Bales amazing performance, another for Mary Harron's Direction, a third for a good, intriguing script with solid dialogue and finally a fourth for elevating what I thought was a sometimes over-hyped book to a more thought provoking film version. Four stars in total out of five.
Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul
Interview with Christian Bale
Featurette on the Making Of American Psycho
Cast and Filmmakers
Video: Widescreen 2.35:1 (Anamorphic)
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1
The DVD Review:
Surprisingly, no director's commentary from Mary Harron which is too bad, it would be interesting to hear what she has to say on the film, why she made some of the choices she did, etc.
The interview with Christian Bale has it's moments but really, and I hate to harp about it, but a commentary with both Bale and Harron would make this film almost worth buying a second time. Maybe a special edition somewhere down the line will come into being.