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This Is Not an Exit: The Fictional World of Bret Easton Ellis (1999)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 7 April 2000 (USA)
When "American Psycho" was released early in 2000 it reaffirmed author Bret Easton Ellis as the controversial "bad boy" of contemporary American Fiction. "This is Not an Exit" reveals the world inhabited by Ellis. In HD.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dechen Thurman ...
Patrick Bateman
Lauren Hynde
Victor Ward
Marieclaire Camilleri ...
Hollywood housewife (as Marieclaire)
Kelly Rogers ...
Michael Cavalier ...
Huger Foote ...
John Bryan ...
Clay's father
Justine Melman ...
Cory Travalena ...
Tamsin Pike ...


When "American Psycho" was released early in 2000 it reaffirmed author Bret Easton Ellis as the controversial "bad boy" of contemporary American Fiction. "This is Not an Exit" reveals the world inhabited by Ellis. In HD.

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Not Rated




Release Date:

7 April 2000 (USA)  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$869, 2 April 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$869, 2 April 2000
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User Reviews

Not uninteresting documentary on writer Bret Easton Ellis
7 February 2016 | by See all my reviews

This documentary was made way back in 1999 after the release of the book "Glam-o-rama", but before the brilliant movie adaptation of "American Psycho". It virtually disappeared soon thereafter only to reappear very recently on Amazon Prime streaming. Its subject Ellis was reportedly displeased with this documentary, but if that is even true, he shouldn't really have been. It is NOT necessarily an uncomplimentary portrait. The fact that it hires young actors (including a then-unknown Rachel Weicz) to re-enact famous passages from his books (as most of the movie adaptations except for the godawful "Less than Zero" had not been released at that time), and even gets several of them to do nude scenes, may or may not work, but is hardly just an elaborate attempt to make fun of Ellis. There is one scene at the end with the author and his friends out on the town in NYC that KIND OF looks like a shallow clubbing scene out of one of his books, but MOST of this movie is hardly any obvious kind of "mocking" of the author, and I actually got the idea that he is in many ways he is very different from the books he writes.

There are only a few talking-head commentators and they are a pretty good mixture of complimentary and somewhat critical. The documentary also presents the now rather ridiculous PC controversy over "American Psycho" and its supposed "misogyny" a lot more sympathetically than a lot of people did before the movie was released or before anyone had any perspective on the excesses of the late 80's.

I never thought Ellis was a GREAT writer and the effusive comparisons to JD Salinger were always pretty overblown, but his first two novels even with their minimalist, surface-level prose really capture the depressing and stark malaise of being young in the 1980's. They are not exactly "fun" to read, and "The Rules of Attraction" with it's multi, but complete indistinguishable, narrators does show the limitations of Ellis' writing. But the terrible extended late 80's anti-drug PSA that is "Less than Zero" shows how deep that book really was by comparison, despite its apparent superficiality, and how clueless adults at the time were in trying to adapt the young author. I don't know how much of the brilliant "American Psycho" movie can be credited to the source novel, but it certainly brought out the satire. I also think the adaptation of "The Informers" is actually both quite good and quite faithful to the book (if certainly not without its flaws).

This documentary suffers from the now limited perspective of being made in 1999, but that doesn't make it unworthy of watching. But it shouldn't be regarded as some kind of joke on its subject.

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