August 1, 2014

We’re Kind Of “Psycho”

American Psycho

American Psycho (Image via RottenTomatoes.com)

In 1991, the demented mind of Bret Easton Ellis wrote the novel American Psycho, a psychological thriller that brought about much criticism and praise since its inception. The book was adapted into the 2000 movie “American Psycho” starring Christian Bale and directed by Mary Harron.

The novel, through the mind of Patrick Bateman, played by Christian Bale, explores the concept of dual personalities, which the movie masterfully condenses into a 100-minute film.
Bateman’s unique monologues and narrations set up the eerily real and disturbing aspect of the film. Bateman is a murderer.
Bateman, by day, is the Vice President at his father’s financial firm, Pierce and Pierce, on Wall Street. Set in the 80’s Bateman is the typical white-collar yuppie.
At night, however, Bateman is an axe carrying, dog-stabbing murderer.
With many movies, there is always a climax that inhibits a dramatic change within the main character that is exploited and advertised by clichéd lines and a musical piece that can destroy someone’s sense of hearing, but the climatic change in the movie comes so subtlety it is almost unrecognizable.
A simple monologue by Bateman explaining that his mask of sanity is deteriorating leads to some of the most obscure killing scenes, with many of them simply being implications.
Bateman is such an unreliable narrator that it leaves the viewer wondering whether or not he is actually killing these people.
During the course of the movie, Bateman kills a bum and his dog, portraying the stereotype of yuppies hate for homeless people. He also kills Paul Owens, one of the competitive members of a different financing firm. At the end he gruesomely kills two prostitutes.

The reason why it seems that these killing are implied is because at the end while Bateman is talking to his lawyer the viewer realizes that the main point of the movie is that everyone is anonymous and that in actuality nobody cares. The fact that the movie never clarifies which scenes are real moments in Bateman’s life or just his imagination shot on screen leaves viewers wondering until a brain aneurysm ensues and possibly kills them. To avoid such a morbid fate, free your mind or just buy the book (or e-reader equivalent).

Bale hoards the audience’s attention like a screaming Caucasian child hurling insults at their parents at Whole Foods. Lack of parental discipline aside, Bateman involves the audience in a daily account of his life. The supporting cast does a great job at remaining obscure, adding to the aspect of anonymity, leaving Bale with the duty to make or break this movie based on his performance alone. From his monologues about musical groups like Genesis, to his violent outbursts that go unheard and unnoticed, Bale portrays an everyday man with a violent fetish to a point of realism.
  “American Psycho” is an adequate portrayal of the novel, with many scenes giving enough information in its limited span to leave viewers satisfied. To get the true quality of such a unique and realistic story though, you should read the book. Next time you see a classmate who rarely speaks and has a mysterious demeanor about him/her, it is alright to approach and inquire whether or not they will one day snap and end lives, just so you can be safe.