• James Rutherford

'American Psycho': A Strikingly Visceral and Acutely Devilish Satire of 80's-era Excess


Movie poster for the film American Psycho starring Christian Bale

"American Psycho" (2000) is a strikingly visceral and devilish satire of 1980's-era excess starring Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, a wealthy investment banker based in New York City circa 1988. Bateman's lavish lifestyle and unbridled affection for material gain masque his darker inner selfa vicious and murderous psychopath.

Inwardly disgusted with his cadre of professional associates and loathe to maintain social appearances with his fiancée Evelyn (Reese Witherspoon), Bateman impulsively murders his business associate Paul Allen (Jared Leto) after a perceived slight over the quality of his business card. This impetuous act sets the course for a tale of evasiveness, chicanery and brutality as Bateman scrambles to cover his tracks and elude the inquisitive Detective Kimball (Willem Dafoe)even as his bloodlust mounts toward fever pitch. Co-written and directed by Mary Harron ("I Shot Andy Warhol", "The Notorious Bettie Page") and based on the infamous novel by Bret Easton Ellis, "American Psycho" is a wild and transgressive parody of the cutthroat capitalism and greed that enshrouded Regan-era America. Bale thoroughly embodies the ferocious Bateman with admirable panacheperfect balancing ferocity, showmanship and a striking flair for darkly comic spectacle. Kudos to Harron, as well, for translating a work of such staunch atrocity into something so markedly accessible, engaging and remarkably entertaining.

 

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