Main cast: Christian Bale (Patrick Bateman), Reese Witherspoon (Evelyn Williams), Chloë Sevigny (Jean), Justin Theroux (Timothy Bryce), Josh Lucas (Craig McDermott), Bill Sage (David Van Patten), Matt Ross (Luis Carruthers), Jared Leto (Paul Allen), Samantha Mathis (Courtney Rawlinson), and Willem Dafoe (Detective Donald Kimball)
Director: Mary Harron
Patrick Bateman is a psycho. He kills people when he feels (a) envious of the man’s success or (b) she arouses him. No remorse is shown by him, and he lives life in careless misanthropy. At one point he claims to feel no emotion but disgust or indifference.
Whatever promise American Psycho has is ruined entirely by its misplaced awareness of its self-importance. Like the misguidedly humorless Bret Easton Ellis book its script is based on, this movie knows too much of the nudge-nudge inside jokes it is holding out on me, and assumes I would know the inside jokes to care.
Thing is, this one is not the Statement Of The Year on Yuppiedom and Satire of Crass Materialism it wants to be, and that is so painfully obvious.
Take the contrived monologues on the grandeurs of Whitney Houston and Phil Collins as Patrick does his killing spree. Or the supposedly-funny-but-isn’t sight of a naked Patrick swinging a chainsaw like a phallic gladiator. Throughout it all, Christian Bale acts as if he’s cast as the next Moses – too self-aware of himself, too calculated, and too in love with the camera to let go. Sure, Patrick, the role he’s playing, is narcissistic, but Bale seems to make it an art form. Tom Cruise, watch your back, your match is here.
Do I care? No I don’t. Patrick’s killing spree seems to has only one motive – to make me gasp in shock. He has no reason, no purpose, not even a smidgen of the charisma Ted Bundy is famed to have. Underneath the misogyny, homophobia, and misanthropy Patrick displays for the audience’s sake, he is just another yuppie who is too self-absorbed for pretensions’ sake. In short, he’s too plastic to be watchable.