American Psycho, Cult Classic?

Released in 2000, American Psycho is in parts hilarious, in parts surreal and in the remaining parts plays out like a horror flick. Based on Bret Easton Ellis’ novel of the same name, the Mary Harron directorial has, over the years, become a cult film. And not without reason.

american psycho
Christian Bale in a still from American Psycho.

American Psycho movie cast: Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Josh Lucas, Chloë Sevigny, Justin Theroux, Reese Witherspoon
American Psycho movie director: Mary Harron
American Psycho movie rating: 4 stars

Sometimes it becomes difficult to categorise movies into specific genres. Some films are stubborn and/or experimental by nature and they refuse to be labelled. Christian Bale starrer American Psycho is an example in case.

Released in 2000, this movie is in parts hilarious, in parts surreal and in the remaining parts plays out like a horror flick. Based on Bret Easton Ellis’ novel of the same name, the Mary Harron directorial has, over the years, become a cult film. And not without reason.

When the basic premise of the plot revolves around the actions of an unreliable, unhinged and darkly comic character; you have already got yourself a winner. But despite all the gore and murder, I remember thoroughly enjoying the movie for what it was. A classic case of why-dunit. Why does Patrick Bateman kill people? Is it because he is bored, or because he is filled with hatred or he really does bear some sort of personal animosity against entire humanity? Or worst of all, he is an empty shell of a human being?

The movie keeps you guessing, but what adds to the story is the fact that Bale’s performance as a nutjob is on point. His rhetorical questions and his response to situations when he is not painting the town red with someone’s blood, is side-splitting.

A wealthy investment banker (Bale) unchains his inner demon on the streets of New York and all hell breaks loose. American Psycho could have been an overly-indulgent, narcissistic piece of cinema. But it reins itself in where it should and what we ultimately get is a fine and weirdly entertaining motion picture.

Kudos also to the scriptwriters Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner whose excellent writing makes you cough on your tea several times during the course of the film. Frequently a cough of laughter and joy, something that one would hardly expect from such a narrative.

While you don’t necessarily understand the motivation of the character, he pulls you in, setting traps all over to lure you with mere words, then music and then numerous murders.

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