- Mary Harron’s American Psycho took fifteen (15) years to debut on the TSPDT top 1000 of the 21st century list. It now (as of the date writing this) sits at the lofty position of #283 (still underrated). It has been a fun ride for a worthy film and a promising sign that given a long enough timeline, the great films eventually rise to the top.
- American Psycho’s masterful script is mostly from Bret Easton Ellis savage (and highly controversial) novel. Harron gets credit for curating. She is smart to capture Patrick Bateman’s meticulously sick morning beauty routine via voice over (and this is one of the best voiceovers in in recent contemporary cinema). As Bateman nervously wonders if he’ll have a decent table at a restaurant “relief washes over” him “in an awesome wave.”- haha. To include all of the superior writing from American Psycho here would make my notes here on the film forty pages long.
- 26-year-old Christian Bale gives a transcendent performance as Bateman. DiCaprio was rumored for years during the film’s preproduction, but thank God (with no offense to Leo) Bale eventually landed the role. Bale’s combined work with David O. Russell (The Fighter, American Hustle) may trump American Psycho, but, this is still Bale’s single greatest performance. He is side-splittingly funny one minute and manic the next -screaming Nancy Reagan’s 1980s anti-drug mantra “JUST SAY NO!”. Bale is given the hypnotic musician monologues (Huey Lewis, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston—the cost getting the music for the film took up much of the film’s budget) and one of the great phone booth scenes (that frazzled comic cry/laugh).
the bat$hit crazy phone booth scene, one of the highlights of Bale’s tour de force performance
- The narrative rolls along so smoothly. This shocking critique of the 1980s yuppie/Reagan-era materialism and Gordon Gekko greed (this is set in 1987- the year of Oliver Stone’s Wall Street) bounces from the legendarily epic business card scene to getting laughed at on the phone by the maître d’ at Dorsia (a fabulous doorway frame within a frame composition of Bateman’s rigidly cool apartment) to wild exchanges with his buddies (played by Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas, Bill Sage) or private detective (Willem Dafoe). Late 1990s/early 2000s indie goddess Chloë Sevigny plays Bateman’s secretary Jean, and no less than three future Oscar winners are here in their 20s (Reese Witherspoon plays Bateman’s girlfriend and Jared Leto, in the same year as Requiem for a Dream, plays one of Bateman’s principal victims).
a fabulous doorway frame within a frame composition of Bateman’s rigidly cool apartment
The cinematography is by Andrzej Sekula who presided over both Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction
- Part of the social critique is the interchangeably of these Wall Street cyphers while Bateman’s insanity muddles the potential surrealism of these events (which keeps the wallop of an ending – the confession with the 1987 Reagan speech playing the background audio—open).
just before the sublime close up final shot, the door relays the final line of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel: This is Not an Exit
- A Must-See film- top five of the year quality