For Jan. 1st: American Psycho

“American Psycho”….where to begin?  I feel in writing this post so early after watching the film that perhaps my thoughts aren’t as well formed as I would like them to be.  Here goes..

The film revolves around a successful New York businessman named Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale).  Bateman is perceived to his co-workers and friends to be just another cog, turning in the machine that was the yuppie culture of the 80’s.  But he is hiding from everyone a dark secret, that of his murderous hatred for the people he surrounds himself with.  Widely seen as a satire of the culture Bateman is a part of, the film does not shy away from letting the audience watch as his facade of sanity starts to melt away.

Long story short, Christian Bale beats, rapes, and/or murders many people throughout the course of this extremely interesting movie.

Story: 1/2

The reason for this one is that although the dialogue is very well written, not very much really happens.  It’s almost a series of vignettes starring the same character.  Even the author of the original book said it, “Like the novel, the movie is essentially plotless, a horror-comedy with a thin narrative”.    This doesn’t diminish the power of the film as a whole, though it makes it a little out of focus.

Acting: 2/2

Even without Witherspoon and Dafoe, Bale’s performance is one of an unique quality that pulls the viewer directly into his life.  The general ensemble performance does well to shape the world around him as one of spiteful ambivalence.

Photography: 2/2

The photography throughout is wonderfully dynamic.  One of my favorite parts about it is actually that it stayed the same.  The mundane activities that Bateman pursued in his “normal” life were shot in the same way as the violent acts he commits, thus making them almost normal themselves.  I also really liked the dramatic close-ups, they were used perfectly.

Sound/FX: 1.5/2

The sound work was amazing and blended perfectly with what was happening on screen, serving to accentuate certain details and emotions.  The blood effects were used very well, even if the credibility got bogged down during the police scene.

Misc. 2/2

The way that all of these elements came together was something to behold.  The narratives combined with the shot and sound choices create a perfect picture of a psychopath.

VERDICT: 8.5/10

Rent it, get it on DVD from Netflix, buy it!  Just make sure you see this movie.


If you’ve seen the film you know I’m dodging a difficult discussion, and I didn’t let it affect my judgement or my prescription of the film.

I didn’t think that he committed any of the murders.  I think that he was insane enough to invent for himself a new reality in which he could take revenge on those who wronged him and generally just do as he pleased.  There was perhaps an unwanted shattering of this fantasy at the end of the movie, leading him to realize that maybe he could get away with all of what he had dreaming about.  That’s the short version of what I think.


About svolkmer

Photographer. Filmmaker. Nice guy.
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