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MovieAddict20161 July 2005
In 1991, Bret Easton Ellis' controversial novel "American Psycho" took the world by storm – women accused it of being misogynist, sexist filth and others were understandably shaken by its brutal and graphic depictions of unprovoked violence and torture.

Set in the 1980s, the book follows the story of a 27-year-old Harvard graduate named Patrick Bateman, who goes on a killing spree and murders "twenty, maybe forty people." It was originally slated for circulation in 1990, but Random House pulled out of distribution, fearing backlash. It was later released as part of a Vintage Series, and quickly sold over 250,000 copies, becoming one of the most popular (and, to some, important) literary works of our time.

In the movie, Welsh actor Christian Bale portrays Bateman gleefully tongue-in-cheek, whether it's confessing to manslaughter over the phone ("…I just had to kill a lot of people!") or dancing to Huey Lewis and the News' "Fore" album before hitting an associate over the head with an axe.

Patrick is a troubled guy. On the surface, he appears to be normal – he's a Wall Street broker with a secretary, an expensive apartment suite, his own limo and a fancy business card. But on the inside, he's a monster – complete with an insatiable blood lust and lack of empathy for fellow human beings. (If he can indeed be classified as one.) As a film and a novel, "American Psycho" is an attack on the absurdities of the '80s yuppie era – sometimes the satire isn't very subtle, in fact it's often made very clear, but I liked it. Because the movie is so eccentric and over-the-top, and Bale is so loony and maniacal, the satire needs to be equally strong – and it is. Whether it's business men drooling over each other's fetishistic business cards or Patrick discussing the nuances of modern pop music before killing more victims, "American Psycho" hits strong and hard – this is a great, overwhelming cinematic and visual experience. It cannot be condemned for being unsubtle – it never was.

The performances are wonderful. Bale is superb as Bateman, totally embodying the character. As a man bewildered by his environment, and wanting only desperately to fit in, Bateman listens to Genesis and "Hip to Be Square"; finally we have proof that too much Phil Collins and Huey Lewis will turn you into the next Ed Gein.

Perhaps some fans of the novel will dislike Bale's performance (at times, it almost seems comical, such as when he murders his coworker Paul Allen, played by Jared Leto). But I thought it was the perfect mix of introspection, self-hatred, outer-loathing, lust, conformity and schizophrenia. Bale manages to capture all of this perfectly, and by the end of the film, I could not imagine anyone else in the role.

Willem Dafoe, Chloe Sevigny and Reese Witherspoon all have co-starring roles, but at the end of the day it is Bale who really drives this film home – he's the reason it's worth seeing, and in part the reason it exceeds beyond the typical restraints of its genre.

Since its release, many critics have accused "American Psycho" of being a watered-down version of the book, being both "politically correct" and "lacking satire." However, I don't recall the last time I saw a man beat a dog to death with the heel of his shoe in a mainstream motion picture. Or chase after a prostitute completely naked, wielding a bloodied chainsaw. Or hold a gun to a cat's head and threaten to feed it to an ATM machine.

In fact, when "American Psycho" was previewed before the Motion Picture Association of America, they gave it an NC-17 rating – not for its violence, as one might expect, but rather for its threesome scene between Patrick and two prostitutes.

Director Mary Harron cut footage from the film and finally managed to achieve an R-rating, but on a new "Uncut Killer Collector's Edition" DVD, you can see the film as it was intended to be seen – and it's a real fine treat. Now excuse me, I have to go return some videotapes.
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A film that teeters between Miracles and Mania
grendel-3713 October 2001
Having just finished American Psycho, I came to IMDB to get some clarification on the ending. And it seems I'm not the only one left vaguely adrift by the ambiguous ending.

I've browsed some of your comments, not all 400+ to be sure. But some of them. A good sampling I think, and this movie has three distinct cheering sections.

Those who consider it a masterpiece, those who consider it unredeemable, boring trash, and by far the largest segment, those who see it as a flawed masterpiece.

I fall into the latter category. And no, I did not read the book. But as others have stated any movie that requires you to read the book, to "get" the movie, is ultimately a failure as a movie.

So my review is based solely on the merits of the film. And contrary to what some have said, the film does have many merits. I found it brilliantly directed, and a superbly acted examination of excess, and boredom, and evil. An examination, satire, critique of a time, and type of thinking.

Even before seeing the ending, I thought how much bateman lives in people. Found myself thinking, an examination of bateman is an examination of men by the name of Reagan and Bush. How American Psycho is an examination of our times, and our modern theologies.

I found the movie as a whole riveting, loved the restraint shown (and disagree with those calling for more gore, I think Mary should be applauded for her deft hand, the scenes have more power for what is not shown), and was captivated by nearly every scene, by scenes others have called boring, but I found profound.

Bateman putting on his makeup, or simply trying to get a restaurant, and the near apocalyptic importance, such minutiae makes in the lives of empty men. The right card, or the right cloth, or the right table, or the right watch, how these are the signposts of an empty age and an empty soul, and how these things have more value than your fellow man... or woman.

Bateman attains everything the materialistic times tells him he should want, but once he gets it he feels nothing. Emptier than before, less than before. It's only in the extremes of his addictions he begins to feel something, anything. He feeds to fill the emptiness, but the more he feeds the emptier he gets. He eats at his fellowman (woman) but in his bloodlust he eats at himself.

He is the American dream, taken to its cannibalistic extremes.

And never before has makeup, played such a mesmerizing part in a movie. Bateman's(Chris Bale's) face at times when he is under stress, takes on a plastic look, a glossy, sweaty sheen, and for all the world it looks like he's wearing a mask... and the mask, his mask of sanity, is beginning to run.

Simply amazing use of makeup. And incredible performance by the lead actor. I wasn't familiar with him before this, but everyone will be after this.

Upon first hearing about this movie, I had no desire to see it. I've grown up since the age of Hills Have Eyes and trash like The Beyond, watching people suffer no longer seems significant. I guess as we get older we ask more of our art than springer, or the WWF, or slasher flicks. We ask of our art to tell us something true. Something of ourselves, and our world.

I think American Psycho under the deft hand of Mary Harron becomes more than my prejudices, and exceeds my expectations. Rises at times to dizzying heights not unlike art.

Mary's restraint makes this movie. But I fear her restraint nearly sinks it as well. The ending is too ambiguous. Who is Bateman in the end. Is there a Bateman? And what did he do or did not do?

In the end,the movie will nag at you. Did he or didn't he? And in the end, now that I write this I'm thinking maybe the answer doesn't really matter, maybe in the end the answer is the same. In the end a sin of thought, or a sin of action, is still a sin. In the end we are left with a man, and a nation... whose mask is slipping.

I think like the first Psycho, time will prove this one.... worthy. I now add Mary Harron to the small selection of modern directors I will tiptoe through broken glass to see. Directors like Dave Fincher(Seven, Fight Club), Carl Franklin(Devil in a Blue Dress), Johnny To(Expect the Unexpected), Ringo Lam(Full Alert, Victim), M. Night Shyamalan(Sixth Sense, Unbreakable), and Peter Weir(Fearless).

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Christian Bale the new Peter Cushing
Now it all makes sense. Christian Bale was born to play horror characters. I couldn't understand why I was so , so, afraid of him even in films like "Velvet Goldmine" He is a poster boy for putrid souls in elegant wrapping. In "American Psycho" - a film that deserves much more attention than it's got - he is absolutely terrific. Totally believable. I could sense his delight in playing a monster of this kind. Interestingly enough this manicured monster seems to be asking for sympathy, imagine the nerve! But Christian Bale succeeds in showing us a face we (I) hadn't quite seen before and yet we (I) accept without question. He should have gotten an Oscar nomination but, fortunately, he didn't.
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You can always look thinner
Tasos Tz.30 September 2002
'American Psycho' is NOT a slasher movie. It is a depiction, a fantasy if you will, of the life of modern man and his place in society.

Nothing is enough. Money, sex, social stature, there is always someone else who has more and everyone else expect from you to try harder for even more.

This movie is about eliminating competition the easy way. By killing your opponents. By eating your sexual partners. By destroying everyone around you.

'American Psycho' retains the balance between this psychotic state, a chilling thriller and a very funny movie.

The scenes that show Patrick playing music for his guests are absolutely hilarious, as he comments very seriously on records by artists such as Whitney Houston, Phil Collins and Huey Lewis & the News. The funny thing is that he chooses the most commercial or sold out records of these artists, to explain how much better they are compared to their previous, more artistic work. Another message of the state of the receivers of commercial art.

You can analyze 'American Psycho' for hours. It can be perceived both as a deep and a fun movie. Even if you don't like the story, you will love Christian Bale's excellent performance.


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The majority of those who complain probably haven't read the book...
Howlin Wolf12 April 2002
Warning: Spoilers
... because with "American Psycho", Mary Harron and her screen writing partner have delivered the most faithful adaptation it would be possible to release without getting the film banned or revolting audiences so much that no one comes to see it. It would be IMPOSSIBLE to take some of the most extreme sequences from the book and commit them to film. What the movie instead does is to give us an insight into the stunningly fragile and insecure mind of Patrick Bateman, and to speculate whether his unstable nature would REALLY lead him to perpetrate vile acts, or whether he just fantasises about doing so.

I think it matters little in the context of this film whether Bateman's exploits are actually based in reality, because whether they are or they aren't, Bateman is still left in the grip of paranoia, brought on by the shallowness of the society that is around him. Bateman is less of a 'psycho' than a vessel for all the selfish evils of society to corrupt, and a sensible audience is more likely to be left reeling at how he has been turned into a 'robot', than by the discreet amounts of gore that do feature in the movie.

"American Psycho" is fascinating to watch because Bateman is such a complex character. We feel revulsion at his violent tendencies, amused by his complete superficiality, and pity at his crumbling sanity. In order to evoke such diverse feelings from one performance, we need a superb actor. Bale's performance is right on the money. Never does HIS mask slip as does that of Patrick Bateman. He is completely believable in all his emotions.

There is NOTHING in the film that is not true to the book (although there are bits in the book that are not true to the film) Both the reading and watching experiences are valuable and rewarding ones, but what they share with each other is that while they're exploring somebody else's mental state, they are also probing that of their audience. Can we see the funny side in the fact that these murders were committed for very trivial reasons?

Can we ridicule someone with the knowledge that he is also a fantastically dangerous person? The film and book are constantly pushing boundaries, and if you don't fight that, but instead surrender to it, they will take you to many interesting places. Don't be afraid to give in to your emotions and laugh when you see something funny, because the movie shows us what emotional repression has done to someone like Patrick.

Kudos to Mary Harron for tackling a seriously difficult project and turning it into one of the cleverest movies of recent years. "American Psycho" is anything you want it to be; glossy and superficial, or deep and meaningful. The question is: Do you look at things from the same narrow angle as Patrick Bateman does? If so, then the movie is not for you...
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A great visual and psychological achievement. Christian Bale delivers a knock-out performance. **** (out of four)
Movie-127 October 2001
Warning: Spoilers
AMERICAN PSYCHO / (2000) **** (out of four)

Patrick Bateman: I think my mask of sanity is about to slip. ---"American Psycho"

The average filmmaker would turn "American Psycho" into an exploitative slasher flick, but Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner have adapted the controversial novel by Bret Easton Ellis into something unique and intriguing, a brilliant, thought-provoking social commentary thriller.

Readers criticized the decade old novel because of its graphic violence, but that doesn't cause Turner and Harron to give into the controversial material. I have never read the book, but after watching "American Psycho," I intend to. It's a scathing, rare film that probes our imagination and beliefs while experimenting with true psychological terror. It often makes startling switches between scenes of dark comedy and sequences that portray unsettling, graphic images. Director Mary Harron says in the film's press notes that she wanted all but one of the violent sequences to be disturbing. The amount of blood and violence here is certainly extreme, but considering the nature of the beast, not overly abundant. The film calculates every single act of violence, therefore, the victims are seldom random characters, but people we care about, which is why the scenes are so timely and effective.

The best description of the film's main character, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) comes from Christopher Lehmann-Houpt of The New York Times. "Patrick Bateman lives in a morally flat world in which clothes have more value than skin, objects are worth more than bones, and the human soul is something to be sought with knives and hatchets and drills."

Both leading actors in "American Psycho" have previously portrayed Jesus Christ, Willem Dafoe in "The Last Temptation of Christ," and Christian Bale in "Mary, Mother of Jesus." Talk about versatility. It's probably not a coincidence that Christian Bale was the initial actor of preference for Mary Harron. If an actor can display such a fascinating performance as Jesus Christ, he's more than capable of playing a psychotic serial killer because he already knows the other side of the moral spectrum.

Through the strong central character, "American Psycho" suggests several themes about the 1980's, including society's obsession with outer perfection, conformity, the rising threshold of material fetishism, and the strong desire of stimulation by drugs, sex, money, and power. Patrick Bateman isn't given a back story, however, and the movie doesn't offer his personal history. Bateman has no inside emotions. He reacts by inner impulse alone. He seeks gratification through the sex and drugs, but also by engaging in the homicidal behavior.

"You could describe ‘American Psycho' as a film about perfect surfaces and what might be lurking beneath," says Mary Harron. "Inside, Bateman might want it all to stop, but for him it's a compulsion. He's like the serial killer in M, who says: ‘You have a choice, but I can't help what I am.'"

"American Psycho" initially earned an NC-17 rating, not because of the violence but because of the graphic sexual content. The director's cut is available on videocassette and DVD, which shows the film's three-way sex scene in more disturbing, yet innovative, detail. That's a good thing, if you're not a sensitive viewer, because this film is all about details. The production design, the cinematography, the visual effects, the engaging soundtrack, the quirks each actor masterfully incorporates with their character, and every other aspect of the film is flush in detail.

This is a movie that requires more than one viewing, to experience the surreal visual arena, and to justify what we think actually happened. Perplexingly, the film's conclusion puts the events into question. Did Bateman really kill these people, or did he just really want to? The answers don't come easy, but this is a movie that begs us to look closer…
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Cruelty and Christian Bale
wlawson607 June 2008
A very funny horror flick. A worthy companion piece to its literary roots. A phenomenal, fearless performance by Christian Bale that, in a way, cleared up my questions about this versatile British actor. I could never quite warm up to him. Not even in "Little Women". Now, Bale as Patrick Bateman, revealed the reason. It is the cruelty around his mouth. His smiles are chilling and they work to perfection in this, his yuppie modern monster.His actions have the pristine shallowness of his business cards and the disgusting taste of his self awareness. You don't feel sorry for him, the way one did for Norman Bates. No, his character is unredeemable. His rough sex with two women while he rides one of them looking at himself in the mirror is one of the most disturbing film moments I've ever seen. I wonder if Bale will ever be able to play goodness, convincingly.
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Two Chainsaws Up
rogerebertsclone15 December 2002
Without a doubt the most underrated movie of the past decade, "American Psycho" is a piece of American cinema that shouldn't be missed by anyone, regardless if they do not like the violence (which does have its reasons).

Christian Bale gives a flawless performance as the troubled, deep down wannabe Yuppie who has psychotic, violent impulses. This is true acting here, folks. Not phoned in Tom Crooze acting. Some people object to Patrick Bateman narrating the movie [always a weak sign in a movie] and not letting us figure his motives out on our own, but if you watch closely, Bale shows us Bateman's vulnerablity through every minute of every day of his life. The movie is at times hysterical, as his character uses dominant Alpha Monkey behavior around the opposite sex. But again, it's all for good reason.

If not for Bale's performance, see it for the knife twisting satire of the '80's -- from the clothes, to the hairdos, to the music [I'll never be able to hear Phil Collins in the same way again!] The production value is rich in '80's nostalgia from the "Black and White" set designs to the enormous cellphones [how could we forget those?].

This is a movie that major studios are too afraid to touch. This is film making. Remember film making? When films took you on a ride in someone's life and you would walk away with a piece of their mind? American Psycho doesn't have any real morals or answers, but it shows the deep psychological insecurities some men suffer everyday. Oh yeah, and it was directed by a woman, so all you feminists shut up!
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A must see
mikhaigh23 April 2000
Having read the novel by Easton-Ellis a year ago I was intrigued to find out how it could be made into a movie.

Whilst turned off by the totally uneccesary details of Batemans crimes in the book, I felt that Easton's insight into superficial 80's yuppie culture made it a classic.

Who could play a credible Bateman? Leonardo Di Caprio? I think not.

How would Mary Harron deal with those controversial torture scenes?

What we got was one of the finest movies I have seen for some time. Of course, those of closed minds will slate this film without even bothering to see it, simply because of the book's notoriety.

I was impressed to see how closely Harron followed the book, replacing the un-filmable seens with suggestion, aka ear-cutting scene from resevior dogs, so that you believe you have seen more than you have. There are more parallels with Tarantino, such as the use of classic (& non classic ) 80's pop to create a stylised feel to the movie, that has not been seen since Pulp Fiction.

Casting was superb, with Cristian Bale giving the performance of a lifetime, We, the audience, saw the souless monster within, Batemans superficial aquaintences, saw another faceless human being.

Just like the book, you are never sure wether Batemans crimes are real, or just imaginary, but his slide into insanity is clearly real and paced expertly by Bale.

Rheese Witherspoon as Evelyn was disappointing, "Election" showed what a great actress she is and although this role called for an airhead performance, it was clear that she was cruising.

Mary Harron deserves the credit for creating an excellent film, that could have so easily been just another slasher movie.
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It's all fantasy
ctcrmcou28 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Finally saw the movie - it was one of five free blu-rays in a rebate with Sony Playstation.

Many comments wondered if it was real or not.

There are several giveaways that the murders were fantasies. Many times Bateman says things that are evil and violent to someone, but are heard by the recipient of the comments as something else.

The outright murders with no witnesses, blowing up the cops vehicles for an easy escape, dragging bodies and blood through lobbies, the cleaned up apartment with no dead bodies in sight, no investigators or police crime scene tape where there should have been, .... it goes on and on. Don't forget the final scene with his lawyer. The fantasies were manifested only in the notebook found in his desk by his secretary. I'm happy she was "spared".

I found the lack of pursuit by Willem Dafoe (the detective) to be a letdown. The initial questioning of Bateman was definitely right out of the original Psycho, and I found this confrontation as the start of a great "gonna getcha" in the end. But it never happened.

The only question is, why was a detective asking Bateman questions in the first place, or, was the idea of a missing colleague the spark for a fantasy, just shown after the fact.

I loved the business card one-upsmanship. It shows how shallow rich vice presidents (about a dozen were there?) are, and what losers they really are in life as people. Misery loves company, I guess. Reminded me a lot of the yuppies in Trading Places. Bored and prissy. Although they think they are living the "good life", but contribute nothing in the end.

It was a fun movie, probably sparks our fantasies about what we'd like to do with the scum of this earth - but that's why it's only a movie.
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Interesting, always interesting!
darth_sidious22 October 2001
By the end, I didn't know what to make of it, but now I understand the film much better. This film is must viewing, it brings out the truth about today's world - Nothing but material values matter, we live empty lives, we think empty thoughts, we are empty people, life is boring.

Christian Bale is awesome, quality acting! Willem Dafoe was underused, I didn't think the support cast had the same quality material as Bale.

The photography is stylish, very 80s gloss!

The direction is terrific, wonderful camera work.

Overall, see it, it's satire, black comedy, social commentary and more!
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'I simply am not there...'
movie-monster5 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Its interesting that Christian Bale's most critically acclaimed role, in this very movie, is as a cold, psychotic and shallow yuppie. He excels by playing a character who openly admits that his only identifiable emotions are 'greed' and 'disgust'.

Firstly, this film should not be misinterpreted as a horror movie. Those who have read the Brett Easton Ellis novel will already be aware of this. It is more a satire, or a harsh and uncompromising commentary on the material excess of Wall Street, or indeed America as a whole (hence the title), during the mid-to-late 80's. It works on both these levels and many more.

The film starts as it means to continue. Bale's character, Patrick Bateman, introduces himself, and, as in the novel, goes into absurd detail regarding his washing habits and exercise regimes. For the next hour and a half, the audience is invited into his world. A world in which vanity itself, it seems, is everything. His life is composed almost entirely of expensive meals out with his high-flying friends & disillusioned girlfriend(played adequately by Reese Witherspoon), and various random, sadistic acts of violence and mutilation.

Despite all Batemans' wealth, he is emotionally bankrupt. Love and relationships are as disposable as the world he lives in. For the entire film, Bale relishes the role and never lets it slip, talking as if he's in some warped commercial for a shallow and completely hedonistic eighties lifestyle. A lifestyle which leads nowhere. Bateman's character is also loaded with contradictions and hypocrisy. In one of the opening scenes, he wastes no time describing how he believes 'in taking care of himself', but days later will be snorting cocaine in a public toilet. Later, he describes how 'we need to provide food and shelter for the homeless', which is delivered as a speech to seemingly promote Bateman's morality in front of his peers. Shortly afterwards, he stabs a tramp to death in an alleyway. This speech acts as an omen or as a warning to crimes he will commit, or will imagine committing later in the film. His references to women in particular, soon become disturbingly ironic.

Authenticity is added to the movie in the form of music and reference to the AIDS epidemic, which was just starting to take hold of the American consciousness. Bateman's highly unstable and vacuous state of mind is relayed through several brilliant quotes and scenes in the movie.

One example is the scene in which he examines his colleagues business cards in depth, and becomes so obsessed and frustrated by the minor differences in colour and font that his hand visibly shakes. Upon seeing Paul Allen's card he whispers to himself in genuine horror; 'oh my even has a watermark.' In Bateman's world, this could well be interpreted as the reasoning behind him murdering Allen later in the film.

Much of the movie is left open to interpretation by the viewer, and it should definitely be watched several times. Its often hard to draw the line between reality and Bateman's own fantasies. Indeed many, if not all, of his murderous acts, could be simply figments of his own twisted imagination. The character Donald Kimble could indeed be an illusion. He interviews Bateman several times in the movie, at times appearing oblivious to the possibility of Bateman murdering Allen, and then later effectively accusing him of it.

What the film really illustrates, much like the book, is a culture and an entire way-of-life, taken too a brutal, disturbed, and even demented extreme. It is a fusion of America's most beautiful dream, and its most hideous, blood-soaked nightmare. Money is no longer a barrier for Bateman. He can have all the women, sex, narcotics, technology and expensive meals he will ever desire. There is nothing left for him or his friends to aspire too. When every line has been crossed on a daily basis, he can only find satisfaction in the most depraved and barbaric of acts, and in the end, even this isn't enough.

While the book is considerably more graphic and detailed, I would have to say I prefer the film. All the important and relevant aspects of Bateman's life and psyche are featured and Bale's performance elevates it to true 'cult classic' status. His portrayal of Bateman creates, in my opinion, one of the most vivid, cruel, iconic and unforgettable characters in the history of film.
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Good Film, Phenomenal Book
tpaladino6 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
First, I have to say that I really did enjoy the film very much. I also read the book AFTER seeing the film, which I think gives me a unique perspective as opposed to those who read the book, then saw the film as a disappointment.

With that having been said, I was amazed with the excruciating detail that the novel's Patrick Bateman went into when describing his life and routine. Bret Easton Ellis is a truly remarkable author, and the novel is really a masterpiece of 1980's satire. I honestly can't say enough good things about it. Every page was amazing to me, and I felt that a portrait of a madman had really been painted for us in a way that nobody has done before.

The film lacked a lot of this detail, but it was only noticeable after reading the book. I can see how someone who read the book first, then saw the film could have been disappointed, but seeing the film before the book really made me appreciate both much more than I may have otherwise. For someone who has no experience with either the film or the book, I would recommend the movie first, then followed up with the novel. The movie is very enjoyable and interesting on it's own, and the novel adds a tremendous dimension and back-story to the characters and their motivations.

Also, one of the criticisms that I read in a previous review had to do with the locations not being believable due to the limited budget of the production. However, as a lifelong resident of Manhattan, the sets and locations ring very true. Pat Bateman's apartment in the movie is a really accurate representation of what a multi-million dollar Manhattan apartment actually looks like. Money does not go very far in this town, and it actually states in the book that Timothy Price made approximately $190,000/year, so it can be presumed that Bateman earned a similar amount. A hefty sum for the time, but not quite billionaire status. The restaurants and offices are also quite realistic and believable, especially since I have actually been to most of the places that are mentioned in the book.

Finally, after the film and novel, I have to say that I actually found Pat Bateman someone who I could really relate to on some level, scary though that may sound. The obsession with material possessions; having everything in your life arranged perfectly; the drive to have the best (clothes, apartment, dinner reservations, women, etc), is something that still permeates the culture here in NYC to such a degree that I found many of his obsessions (compulsions?) and mannerisms extremely familiar. Disconcerting as it is, I can easily see where Brett Ellis' mind was when he fleshed out the Bateman character. From this point of view, it's almost easy to see how such behavior can mutate into insanity without even the blink of an eye. It's certainly made me look at my own life in a different light.
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Allen W. Menton23 December 2002
one of the worst films I've seen in a long time. It's never quite hallucinatory enough to be surreal; never quite cartoonish enough to be funny; never plausible enough to be taken seriously; and the acting is the worst I've ever seen from Christian Bale. Sadly, this film also wastes the talents of Sevigny & Witherspoon. I guess this was meant to be a dark satire on the Reagan years, but it failed utterly.
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Dellusion or Real?
Claudio Carvalho14 September 2017
In New York, the narcissist investment banker Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) works in the bank of his fiancée's father and usually has dinner with his shallow coworkers at fashionable and expensive restaurants. Bateman worships notorious serial-killers, such as Ed Gein or Ted Bundy, and he is a psychopath. When his co-worker Paul Allen (Jared Leto) shows a business card of better quality than his, Bateman plots to kill him using the name of another colleague. He murders Paul with an ax and tapes a message in his answering machine telling that Paul is travelling to London. Soon the private detective Donald Kimball (Willem Dafoe) investigates Paul's disappearance and interviews Bateman. Then Bateman hires two prostitutes to spend the night with him doing kinky sex and he tortures the women. Bateman tries to kill a homosexual co-worker; murders a model; and tries to kill his own secretary. Who will stop his crime spree?

"American Psycho" is an ambiguous, dark and dramatic thriller about a sick yuppie that cannot control his death wish. The viewer never knows whether Patrick Bateman really kills the persons or is delusional with a perverted mind. The black humor and the mystery of the last scenes creates the doubt in the viewer. My vote is seven.

Title (Beazil): "Psicopata Americano" ("American Psycho")
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A man who never was
mermatt14 April 2000
This is a frightening and wildly satiric look into the mentality of the high-flying Reaganomics 1980s as the American Dream turned into the psychotic American Nightmare. The film will probably turn as many people off as are entertained by this weird journey that is a slightly more organized cousin of FEAR & LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS.

Christian Bale is amazingly energetic and even sympathetic as the deranged, soul-less creature who values nothing but surface appearances. We are given a hauting roller-coaster ride through a comedy of terrors that is the mind of this being who seems human but isn't quite sure himself. In fact, he doesn't even know who or what he is.

Is he insane? Are we? That's the joker in the gamble. That's the riddle of the sphinx that we are left to solve -- if there is a solution.
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jamalio912 June 2003
There are numerous things wrong with this otherwise faithfull adaptation in terms of it's structure, plot and ability to portray a strong focus on it's lead character (although heavily watered down). For starters, it is far too tame. You may argue that a lot of the explicit sex and violence in the book was unnecessary but the truth is the Patrick Bateman in the book is obsessed with detail, perfection and routine, so he explains popular culture, food and restaurants and bathing products with the same explicit nature as he describes his killings with his victims and the sex he has with them beforehand. This was missing. I never once heard Patrick Bateman describe what he likes to do to his female victims in sickening detail. Although this was sick it does serve a purpose and would have proven to be a very uniquely cinematic function that would be very disturbing and almost something we have never seen before in a film. Plus the fact it would sidestep the censors as its not physical violence being committed, merely psychological. They lost something unique in this. Also Patrick Bateman in the book does some unbelievably f***** up things to his victims which makes it hard to read. That's why there was all the controversy. The film does NOT have this effect and it should at least have been shocking, and the fact that there was no controversy surrounding the films release sums it up quite well. It's like a book that is really heartbreaking and sad and brings you to tears but the adapted film doesn't make you feel this way- you often think that something important was missing and the film makers have missed the point.

Secondly were the production values. In the book you imagine the locations- Bateman's apartment, his office, the parties they attend, the nightclubs and restaurants, to exceed anything we could ever imagine and associate with 'rich' in reality. In the book they are lavish, far more than we could ever imagine. Now its fairly obvious that this film is relatively low budget and as result it suffers a little by showing us locations we would associate with upper middle class in a TV sitcom, not upper class people who have that sense of materialistic achievement the likes of which we never knew existed. And it's a little too obvious that most of it was shot in a film studio. Many of the characters in the book would frown upon the living conditions of what the characters in the film have.

Thirdly was Patrick Bateman himself. He was never this much of a geek in the book. He was a very powerful, ruthless man, who describes all that sense of materialism that is apparently appealing to most humans, whilst displaying a sense of genuine animosity and sinister ness that you would almost regard as 'inhuman'. A lot of people miss the point of this; sometimes your confused as to whether he is human or some form of demon and it plays with your perceptions a little, thereby proving to be the most disturbing element of the book itself. Patrick Bateman in the book is actually very well respected and his possibly so far at the top of his game its no surprise he appears to be inhuman. In the film he is a run of the mill yuppie that is a bit of a loser compared to his mates. In the film he does what he does 'cause he feels he has no choice, in the book he does what he does 'cause he gets such a kick out of it and is such a spoilt brat that enjoying the most expensive things in life are not enough for him. He is so disgusted with meals, clothes, other products etc that don't cost thousands of dollars and aren't the best it is actually quite unbelievable yet interesting, and you get the sense that he spends a thousand just to walk out his door. You don't get a sense of what an expensive life Patrick Bateman lives in the film. Also in the book he really is a ladies man and wherever he goes he always gets a chicks phone number- which would lead onto inevitable consequences. In the film he often has to rely on hookers- one of which the ugly blonde one, who is so ugly the character in the book wouldn't even look at her (the book version of his character is VERY fussy about his women and wouldn't have sex with her unless she was 100% perfect looking, and NOT one that has the characteristics of a yorkshire terrier). In short, the book version of Patrick Bateman would have eaten the one in the film (literally alive) for breakfast in terms of greed and corruption and wanting the best of everything.

Fourthly was the scope of the film, again a fault with the films production values. In the book the characters get up to far more interesting things- conference meetings, huge parties, rock concerts, opera and so one, in the film all they ever seem to do is go to the same nightclub and restaurants and sit around and talk. As a result the film shows little achievement as to some of the excitement the characters get up to. That's also what was disturbing about the book, it shows a lifestyle that these yuppies have that entices you and almost makes you feel a little envious of what they get up to. In the film the characters lives are just boring, plain and simple.

Last of all (and thank god after all my bitching) the other characters in the book are far more complex and interesting than the 1 dimensional representation we get of them in the film. All of them are obsessed about the same things as Bateman who isn't such a loner and makes you question whether or not they get up to the same things as Bateman despite the fact that they give the impression otherwise. All of them are vain and are obsessed with looking good and getting the best out of everything. Again in the film they are just traditional yuppies.

Well I'm sorry I've bored you after this lengthy comparison but if you have read the book long ago as I have; and expected something special and monumental as the book was, rather than a film that was too small scale and lacked the passion and ambition it so desperately needed, I'm sure you'd agree. There should have been moments in this film that really shocked you into realising what a human being is capable of in terms of committing acts of evil towards others but alas, all we got was a naked guy running down a corridor wearing sneakers and wielding a chainsaw. I feel that the strongest thing about the film is easily Christian Bales' outstanding performance, and you wonder what could have been achieved in the hands of a greater director like Oliver Stone, Brian De Palma or even Martin Scorsese, who had a bigger budget and a little more verve and daringness to do it more justice, rather than Mary Hannon's merely competent but pedestrian and un-cinematic take on the book
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Another Movie Trying To Be Too Clever
Theo Robertson26 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I'd heard a lot about the original novel though I'd never read it , possibly because it sounded like product placement with the anti hero giving long winded descriptions of what beauty products he uses and what designer suits he wears . This is translated into the start of the movie as Patrick Bateman washes , shaves , ex foliates and dresses in brand names . There's two problems with this , firstly that it holds up the main plot of a violent serial killer bumping people off and secondly it doesn't connect with people like me who didn't spend a massive fortune on expensive brand products in the 1980s

Did you know this story was set in 1980s New York ? Oh yes you notice things like mobile phones the size of the brick , smoking in bars , and really crap music by Phil Collins and Huey Lewis And The News , but for much of the running time you totally forget what decade the story is set . Did anyone notice giant shoulder pads or hair like exotic plants ? , y'know fashion statements from the 80s some people don't like to talk about today . All these things seem to be missing as if director Mary Harron has only included 80s icons when the screenplay specifically referred to them . Watch WALL STREET just before you watch this and you'll instantly notice that one movie was obviously filmed during the 1980s while the other one obviously wasn't

But the major problem with AP is that it tries far too hard to be clever . Despite the slow start once Patrick Bateman ( Played by Christian Bale doing a mean Jim Carrey impersonation ) starts bumping off people he doesn't like my attention was held except for a couple of details . When Bateman drags the body of Paul Allen through a busy concourse he leaves a trail of blood which nobody notices . That's detail number one while detail number two is when he chases the prostitute through his apartment block without again nobody noticing he kills her in an unlikely sequence by throwing the chainsaw over a flight of stairs . This got me thinking as to how no one notices his slaughter of innocents . I mean it's obvious the cops are onto him and yet no one notices the mounting death toll . Could it be that he's imagining it all ? By letting the cat out of the bag too soon with these two sequences from Mary Herron I was able to work out by the time he blows up a couple of NYPD patrol cars that Bateman's frustration in life is causing him to be deluded well before the final scenes . Did I say this movie was trying to be too clever ? Maybe I should say too confusing because it insinuates that Patrick Bateman is Paul Allen , or is a figment of Paul Allen's imagination . Duh. Whatever . Considering the very overrated FIGHT CLUB which came out round about the same time has a similar plot twist at the end AP's positives are dimmed even further by comparison

Five out of ten
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Overrated is an understatement!
jamesblond14 May 2014
This might just be the most overrated film I have ever seen in my entire life. I am trying to think of something this tedious -- oh wait, Synecdoche. That was worse. But I actually think that the secret to that film was that the only way to understand it was to reject its abysmal navel-gazing and walk out of it. Which I did. And if you sat and watched to the end, you didn't get it. So in that bit of turnabout, that film earned its ticket price.

This had no redeeming value that I could see. The one positive thing I can say about this is that I find Christian Bale's weird, stiff inability to act grating in pretty much every film I have seen him in, so maybe if they had hired someone else, this movie wouldn't have sucked such gangrenous boils. But I just don't get what's interesting about this film that these other people see. Smug finance exec is going crazy, feels entitled, acts like a dick, has murderous fantasies, thinks he's funny but isn't. And? Oh, ha, ha, he's into his body and does crunches and obsesses on his skincare regiment. And?

I gave it a 1.
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Terrible terrible terrible
PaintPuppy20 April 2000
Just read the book. Trust me. This movie was boring and essentially plotless and pointless. There is very little reference to the book, which was wonderful and this movie just insults the intellectual and phenomenal writing of Bret Ellis.
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Worst movie from its year,Bale sucked beyond measures
abihijaw31 May 2016
This is without a doubt the most overrated piece of trash I have seen in my entire life. All this movie had was a guy who killed people for fun\

It's hard to summon up enthusiasm for a performance so rooted in bloody banality. I mean, as Patrick, Bale's most emotionally pressing dilemma is: Chainsaw or butcher knife?

It's all soooo predictable. Sunday. Monday. Tuesday. Yada, yada, yada. Everything.

The book was much better though,but then again it didn't have an overrated Hack like Christian Bale dragging the movie down constantly.

This movie was terrible! I found it boring and stupid and the ending didn't make sense at all...definitely would not recommend seeing it! he entire thing is so shallow and masturbatory that it's very hard to care about anything that's happening. Even without a well developed character there was still the possibility that the result would have been entertaining, but the psychotic killer angle was executed without any suspense whatsoever. There never seemed to be any reason for any of the plot developments, and from the very start we are just given a character who wants to kill people for some reason. A Hollywood cheeseball overall. Bad music throughout. Everything felt fake.

And Lastly I would like to add,

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No hero, no nemesis, no direction!
arminhage8 August 2014
I've never read the book so I do not make a comment whether it was a good adaptation which if it was, I'm certain the book is also awful! Movie has no hero, no nemesis, no direction. Audience does not know what to expect. I would say the whole story is comparable to a movie like "The Great Gatsby" a pointless body of motion picture trying to lure audience with scenes of ultra rich extravaganza! Movie is mostly talking heads with limited action, 75%+ of the movie is plain exposition, explaining everything but something relevant to the movie, absolutely nothing to root for. OK, it is a motion picture about the daily life of a rich psycho who kills people... so what? What is the message? What is the resolve? Where is the structure? Screenplay never followed the approved Hollywood guidelines, one simple flat line from start to finish so I wonder how did it pass the studio executives into production. The exposition was so weak that the audience may not realize that the movie occurs in late 80s not early 2000s, apparently the director assumed that everybody read the book and now wishes to see it on big screen. I barely finished the movie, it was pure waste of time and I do not recommend anybody to waste her time!
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Gleefully Subversive
Lechuguilla12 September 2011
Highly satirical in tone, "American Psycho" punches Wall Street in the gut, and does so better than any other film I have seen about that odious institution. The story, set in 1987, ostensibly focuses on a 27 year-old exec named Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), who works in a Manhattan high-rise, for a company in the corporate "mergers and acquisitions" industry. He hobnobs with the chic and trendy. And his personality fits right in with that crowd: amoral, shallow, deceitful, condescending, selfish, sneering, and slick. But in his off-hours he commits blatant acts of violence. Patrick Bateman is a psychotic Gordon Gekko.

Yet, the script implies no back-story for Bateman or motivation for his antisocial behavior. Thinly veiled behind the obvious plot line is the film's subversive message. This Wall Street jerk is not a person so much as an analytical construct, an idea, representative of financial violence that lies beneath the veneer of material power and success that Wall Street prides itself on. Because Bateman exhibits overt physical violence, there's no way that viewers can look up to him as a role model like they can theoretically look up to Oliver Stone's Gekko. As such, "American Psycho" surpasses "Wall Street" (1987) in thematic potency.

The dialogue even says as much. In voice-over, Bateman tells us: "There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me." And Patrick's "confession" at the end is the confession of modern Wall Street.

The film's non-script technical quality is quite good. Cinematography, editing, costumes, prod design, art design, sound effects, and acting are all high quality. The semi-classical music in the opening credits provides clever irony. But I didn't care for the 1980s songs, though they are representative of that era.

The humorous, tongue-in-cheek tone prevents the film from being perceived as a too heavy-handed cinematic lecture. Instead, the film infers "black comedy", adroitly mixing the usually discordant genres of horror with social commentary.

In the Patrick Bateman character, "American Psycho" accurately describes the Wall Street mentality of the 1980s. That mentality has become blatantly more intense since then. As such, the film continues to be relevant and probably will remain so for a long time to come.
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shove it
BewitchedGal2 March 2014
I wish I could "shank" the writers and director and producers and whom ever green lit this piece of crap like the homeless man was in the movie and then kick them all and make them yelp like the dog...Then maybe just maybe I can get over losing 30 minutes of my precious time I wasted watching this garbage. Hopefully some or perhaps even all of them (in a perfect world) have met untimely horrendous deaths in an old German torture chamber of by the hands of gilbert gottfried for I can think of no greater pain than having the last words you hear in this world coming from him unless of course the last sounds you hear are the pages of this moving being recited....
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