Comfortable and Furious

American Psycho

Directed by Mary Harron

Written by Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner

Based on the Novel by Bret Easton Ellis

– Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman
– Willem Defoe as Detective Donald Kimball
– Jared Leto as Paul Allen
– Chloe Sevigny as Jean
– Reese Witherspoon as Evelyn Williams

Plexico Sez

American Psycho doesn’t really work as satirical, social commentary. A Satire usually works best by analogy (Animal Farm) or slippery slope/reduction to absurdity (Strangelove, A Modest Proposal), so a psychopath isn’t a very good satirical tool because he is, by definition, disconnected from society and these devices rely on connections.  If inserting a psycho into a particular environment made for good satire, you could satirize talk radio with a documentary on Dr. Laura.

Psycho does have funny moments with satirical edge, like Bateman flexing down to the mirror while having sex with a couple of two hookers.  There are other moments that are just funny, like Bateman laying down newspaper under someone he’s about to ax.  The slasher/horror aspects of the film work too, like when a naked Bateman chases a prostitute through his apartment building with a chainsaw before dropping it on her from several stories above.

That isn’t to say that American Psycho is merely a particularly funny slasher movie.  It is an intelligently crafted film.  There are clever bits like the contrast between Bateman’s obsessive maintenance of his own body and his gleeful destruction of others.  And Christian Bale is spectacular as the marauding Ken doll.

So, to recap, if this film aspires to be a broad satire it fails, but who gives a shit?  It’s still an entertaining and well-made movie.

DVD Extras

The Goodies are limited–an interview with Bale and a short “making of” bit. However, both contain insightful commentary on the film and what it aims to accomplish.

Ruthless Ratings

  • Overall: 7
  • Direction: 7
  • Acting: 8
  • Story: 7.5
  • DVD Extras: 3
  • Re-watchability: 7.5

Special Ruthlessness