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American Psycho (2000)

February 19, 2010

7/10 Flawless Business Cards

Sports a suspect message and kinda falls apart in the end, but everything else is pretty freakin’ nuts.

American Psycho is about a wealthy New York investment banker in the ’80s who plays the role of indulgent, materialistic yuppie by day and turns into a bloodthirsty killing machine with a jones for Huey Lewis by night.

Point of the story: don’t trust yuppies.

Seen this movie a couple of times and it was only after my good buddy Fred read the source material by Bret Easton Ellis a while back and explained to me what the hell was going on in the final Act that I garnered a new appreciation for this twisted little dark comedy. And that’s why I dug it, because for all the killing, all the psycho babble and all the effed up insanity that goes down, it is a dark comedy that cracked me up more than it shook me up.

On the one hand, I still don’t get the whole “yuppie culture = serial murdering” analogy that fuels the story here – not really sure what it means, not really sure if it’s supposed to mean anything at all. But on the other hand, it does a great job of making fun of the whole yuppie lifestyle through our resident psycho, Patrick Bateman.

His whole thing – his whole being for that matter – is putting on this facade that he’s the hottest shit you’ve ever smelled and has the “brains” to back up the image. His ridiculous morning routine, the ridiculous way he talks, his ridiculous wealth of knowledge about some of lamest bands of the ’80s (expect Huey Lewis and The News, they were sweet) and his ridiculous ego that pushes him to the breaking point every time he can’t get a reservation at New York’s most elite restaurant or when his pristine business card gets crapped on by the one guy who actually is the shit, Patrick is what’s hilarious about the ’80s twenty years after cell phones the size of your head. Even when he’s chopping up fools in cold blood, his act never stops and instead of ruining the moment, the schtick makes it that much more memorable.

The other big reason me and everyone else likes Patrick is thanks to Christian Bale. This was the breakthrough role for the guy, Patrick Bateman’s become a total cult icon since and Bale does a great job of hamming it up like he was born crazy. Something about that Gordon Gekko oil slick on his head, those bright white teeth in that fake-ass, ear-to-ear smile and the way he tries so damn hard to be the best at being rich, he makes Patrick a riot to watch. What a freakin’ maniac and it awesome to see him lose it.

But for all the things the script does well, the ending is still pretty muddled and will probably just make you scrunch your face and wonder, “What the eff was that about?” Doesn’t do a good job of explaining what the actual resolution to the story is and I’d suggest reading the book (which makes the movie look tame as all hell from what I hear) beforehand if you want to have any idea of what is up by the time it’s all said and done.

So it could have been told better and some of the scenes might be a little too over the top for some, but American Psycho is still a pretty wild and thoroughly amusing ride. I feel like Christian Bale hasn’t really been impressing me all that much as of late, so, if anything, it’s cool to see him in the role that really put him on the map and didn’t require him to get horrifically gaunt or grunt like an ape.

Now don’t just stare at it. Eat it!

22 Comments leave one →
  1. February 19, 2010 2:14 am

    Christian Bale gives a fantastic performance for the ages and I really enjoyed the dark over-the-top comedy. The ending where he tries to shove a cat into an ATM machine slot LOL.

    Sure the film hits some rough patch here and there but I think this is one of the most underrated movie of last decade. It really hits the nail on the head in terms of social commentary: a society where most are concerned with materialistic appearances but are only empty shells who have been brainwashed.

    Good review man.

  2. February 19, 2010 6:24 am

    good review as always AR but this deserves higher than a seven, even with its relatively minor flaws – films that make you ask, ‘what the f*** is going on?’ can sometimes be a good thing. Bale will never be better than he is in this, no matter how much weight he loses.
    and yes, the movie is tame compared to the book – in the book he lives in the same building as Tom Cruise! and goes to a U2 concert, if i remember correctly. Never trust anyone who doesnt like live music…

  3. February 19, 2010 8:12 am

    Reading your review, and seeing the trailer on youtube this film looks hilarious, and also pretty sick at the same time. I like the social commentary on the douchebag who thinks he’s hot stuff. The “bateman” reference to “Psycho” is a nice touch as well.

  4. mcarteratthemovies permalink
    February 19, 2010 1:56 pm

    The part where Bale quotes Ed Gein is my favorite:

    Patrick Bateman: “When I see a pretty girl walking down the street, I think two things. One part wants me to take her out, talk to her, be real nice and sweet and treat her right.”
    David Van Patten: And what did the other part think?
    Patrick Bateman: “What her head would look like on a stick…”

    So chilling.

  5. Branden permalink
    February 19, 2010 4:30 pm

    Did you know that Leo DiCaprio was going to do this film, but dropped out to do “The Beach?” This movie made Christian Bale’s career if you don’t count “Newsies”.

    I fucking loved this film. The yuppie culture and serial killing tried to be like The Great Stock market crash of 1929. People freaked the hell out and did some crazy shit.

    Patrick tries to be more successful than the guy Jared Leto plays.


    The ending from my understanding was all in Patrick’s mind. He imagined the killing. Some people said that he was certifiable. I don’t know. Put have differing opinions about the ending.

    • February 19, 2010 4:35 pm


      My good buddy Fred explained to me that, in the book, the ending is that no one believes his killing spree because everyone in the investment banking firm keeps on confusing him with other people who are still alive, the same goes for his victims. Remember how Jared Leto keeps thinking Patrick’s someone else? That’s the whole thing, that even when he tries to turn himself in, everyone is so freakin’ identical to each other that it’s as though his confessions fall on deaf ears and he ends up sounding crazy. Not sure if I explained that all too well, but that’s the word on the street so I hear.

      • Branden permalink
        February 20, 2010 12:39 am

        Oh, yeah. I forgot that the yuppies tend to look alike. I thought that Patrick was blending in with everyone else. Yes. It’s all coming back to me.

    • February 19, 2010 5:31 pm

      Oh, and I’m pretty sure this movie would have sucked with Leo. God forbid he used his Boston “accent”.

  6. February 19, 2010 5:00 pm

    I would’ve gone higher with the rating, but spot on with everything else.

  7. Ryan permalink
    February 19, 2010 5:52 pm

    Meh, Equillibrium was better…

    • February 19, 2010 6:50 pm

      Haha, I need to see that one again. Equilibrium’s a good’n.

  8. Marc permalink
    February 20, 2010 1:00 am


    I think Bale can rock pretty much any role. This took about 2 or 3 runthru’s for me to like it and now I just adore this film…although it’s weird to say I adore such a violent and traumatic film:P

    I do love the end because I always it could have played out 2 ways: it was either dream or reality (even if the book did pretty much solidify that it was reality). Gotta love the Huey Lewis references, that and Dafoe doubly made the movie for me. “Huey is too black sounding for me”:)

  9. February 20, 2010 4:41 am

    I love Christian Bale in this movie. It seems like Bale really stepped out of his comfort zone to truly become Patrick Bateman.

  10. February 20, 2010 2:12 pm

    “Don’t just look at it. Eat it!” Great quote. I understood the ending to be the way Aiden explained it. I have the book and keep meaning to read it. This definately deserves higher than a 7. Love this flick… got me excited to see the other Bret Easton Ellis adaptation… THE INFORMERS. What a travesty that was!
    Oh, and for “go to” Christian Bale… THE MACHINIST. Sure, the weight loss is the most amazing part of that, but his performance is still really great. Fun Fact: The weight loss almost cost him the Batman gig!
    Great post, as always, Aiden!

  11. February 21, 2010 7:17 pm

    The reason why Christian Bale just wreaks with greatness!

  12. March 13, 2010 2:30 pm

    I don’t think you should read too much into a connection between 80’s culture and the fact that Bateman is a murderer. The fact that he might be a killer, is gravy to the true deconstruction taking place, the materialism of the 80’s.

    I also have no problem with the ending, I think it’s muddy and vague on purpose, Herron is leaving it up to the audience to decide for themselves what the real truth of the situation is and each individual may come up with a different truth.

    Like I always say though, great review. 🙂

    • March 14, 2010 5:09 pm

      Haha, thanks, man.

      Still feel like the ending could use some more clarification because for a while there I thought the whole thing was just a dream (which sucks), but hey, it’s gotten one hell of a discussion going on the site, so can’t knock it for that.

  13. Joe permalink
    November 4, 2010 11:32 pm

    Your not supposed to know what happens at the end. Patrick Bateman doesn`t know what actually happens. The point of the movie is superficiality and consumerism turns a lot of people into capitalist, narcassistic, violent, treacherous human beings. By the way the book does put the movie to shame. It tends to be a bit boring for the first 200 pages. What do you expect from Bret, eloquence and cohesion?

    • November 5, 2010 8:50 am

      Haha. Will need to finally read that book then. Interesting take on the ending, seems to check out just as well as any other theory. Thanks for visiting!

  14. October 9, 2013 12:16 pm

    I just watched this movie again the other day, and I have to say that the ending is one of my favorite parts! For me, it made me question everything I had just seen and that forced me to watch the movie again…and again…
    Another detail I enjoy is that everyone who talks about Patrick (usually with Patrick) calls him a dork. It makes me laugh every time!
    Anyway, LOVE the site, the title, everything about what you’re doing here. It’s great to read an opinion about a movie that isn’t pretentious or gushy; it is what it is.

    • October 9, 2013 2:03 pm

      I was actually just thinking about this movie recently, mainly about how hilarious the first Act is and how disturbing it gets from there on out. Wasn’t crazy about this one when I first saw it, but it’s only gotten better with time. I really need to read the book one of these days.

      Anyhow, thanks! You’re far too kind and it’s much appreciated. I do it all for you, Angjane.


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