Directed by Mary Harron.
Written by Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner. Based on the
novel by Bret Easton Ellis.
Starring Christian Bale.
Release Year: 2000
Review Date: 4/15/00
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On to the flick. “American Psycho” was
actually slated to be a Leonardo DiCaprio film—he signed on to do
this picture soon after doing “Titanic.” But, he wanted an
astounding $20 million to star in the film, and the budget approved
by its distributor, Lions Gate Films, couldn't afford Leo's
ridiculous salary. So, at the last minute, Leo dropped out of the
film, shooting was horribly delayed, and Christian Bale was signed
to play the star of the Bret Easton Ellis novel of the same name.
The actor switch does the trick. First and
foremost, “American Psycho” is owned by Bale whenever he is on
screen, which thankfully is almost every scene. His Patrick Bateman
is, as the title implies, a psychopathic serial killer, working in a
cushy office job by day...and, well, slicing and dicing folks at
night. The role is just a whirlwind for Bale—getting the chance to
play a coke-snorting, axe-wielding, menage-a-trois tanning bed
killer just doesn't come along everyday for an actor, and Bale seems
to be eating it up.
Bale is just amazing in this role, and I
can't say enough about him here, but I will try. Yes, ladies, even
I must admit: the man is seriously handsome. In fact, I can't
think of the last time an actor's looks really played a part of the
story like Bale's do here. His chiseled jaw and super-toned
physique just command the screen at times, and it is obvious that he
could get all of the women that he does in this movie because he
pulls it off so well. There is a scene where a private detective
(Willem Dafoe) is asking Bateman where he lives, and when Dafoe
hears his answer and says “oh, that's a nice spot!”, Bale simply
answers “thank you”...but, director Mary Harron makes Bale look so
debonair and smooth in his delivery that the whole five-second
exchange comes off as extremely supercool. Bale's unemotional
character has the chance to play both calm and collected and
out-and-out bloodthirsty within seconds, and his acting skills are
obvious from the get-go. This is a starmaking turn, and Bale seems
to know that in his attack of all of the movie's scenes.
It doesn't hurt that the satire's nuances
help drive a sometimes-brutal storyline. Bateman's voiceovers about
society, 80's music (this is set sometime around the Iran-Contra
affair of the late 80's), and female conquests—not to mention
business cards and his ridiculously anal morning routine—are great,
and the treatment of wall street society and upper-crusty white guys
is hilarious. This movie should be considered more comedy than
horror/thriller, since many of the killings happen off-screen
anyway. And, I don't think I've ever seen a sequence in a movie
like the one where Bateman is talking about Phil Collins and his
group genesis...and asking girls to perform sex acts on each other.
This movie actually pulled it off!
The movie isn't perfect—its ending was a bit
cloudy and there are strange parts for characters that could have
been left out, like Reese Witherspoon's fragile lover—but it is
never boring and is so intense at times that you are glued to the
screen. Check this one out, but don't bring the kids!
Rating: $8.25 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard