American Psycho (2000)

The alarming question a viewer might logically ask after viewing this portrayal of the Bret Easton Ellis novel is how truthful has its depictions been of corporate ivy-leaguers. Precisely how caught up into status-seeking, demeaning women and petty narcissism-turning-delusional has their society become? And has the directing/screen writing of a woman, Mary Harron, added even more to this insight? The conversations concerning women (in general and in particular) among the social-rogue-turned-psychopath, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale,) and his socialite colleagues force this concern, one Ms. Harron’s artistry most likely enhances. And hooray for that, for in this movie are some unsettling suggestions about the way this country has been run, from within both corporate and political arenas, for quite sometime. Almost like an early warning…if not actually one.

Indeed Patrick Bateman’s pathological narcissism is extreme but his trip to getting to its final stage of madness is found too commonly among all social strata today. What is different about this strata, represented in one aspect by the extreme obsessiveness shown throughout over such things as calling cards and to what restaurant one has secured reservation, is that these clowns have their hands on the arteries of America. And have had for far too long.

Note that Bateman’s expressions of madness throughout the film, his constant diabolical mutterings, and his disassociative behavioral patterns fit so well into the climes around him they go hardly noticed. Even when he professes murder, he is treated in the English-styled, “oh, do go on, we’ll have none of that.”

The movie takes its unsuspecting viewers into Bateman’s own delusions. It does so creatively, with several telling twists to notice them things might not quite be strictly as Bateman’s “confession” portrays. Thankfully. This might seem an objectionable quality until one recalls the very warning implied in the film’s title. Still, this reviewer would venture to say a great many things are going to receive discussion that do bear upon important insights…not just individual but group.

This movie should have been taken as a wake-up call. But then so many others have floated over the heads of Americans these last eight years…one can’t fault Mr. Ellis and Ms. Harron for trying.

Well casted, well screen written, slightly askew (but understandably) in chronology, artful scene changes and professional camera technique. Least we forget, a great tour of in-places that tend to justify this reviewer’s otherwise excessive (but not obsessive) use of hyphenation.

Not a movie for children nor those with extreme pathological tendencies.

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