Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Day 156: American Psycho

More a pitch-black comedy than a horror movie, American Psycho still has plenty of horror trappings to recommend it.

Patrick Bateman is the titular psycho (as played by Christian Bale). He is concerned with his image above all other things. From his business card to his workout regimen, his fetish is one of being better than everyone around him. He hangs out and does drugs with peers who can't remember his name. He is engaged to a wonderfully blank Reese Witherspoon and flirts a lot with the ladies of the 80s. And, oh yes, he may or may not be a serial killer.

Bateman is the king of unreliable narrators and we slip in and out of his fantasies with no warning. Did he lure Jared Leto to an unused apartment to ax murder him or is Leto out of town on business? Has Bateman chosen a street hooker to torture and humiliate or is he boringly faithful to his fiance, perhaps even gay? I feel like the movie is very clear about what is real and what isn't but there are some people who would argue with a brick wall. The real point of the movie isn't whether or not this is really happening, it is all about the hollow lifestyle of consumerism that dominated the 80s.

The performances here are spot on. Bale handles the swings from quiet office cad to raging maniac very well. A lot of the violence is implied, which makes it somehow scarier. Of course, once Bale is chasing a woman with a chainsaw and buck naked save for his shoes, implication goes out the window with subtlety.

Despite being directed by a woman, lots of people claim this is a very misogynistic movie. The misogyny is there, to be sure, but it is one of the evils to be overcome rather than a source of fun.
 Not for everyone but I think it is a lot of fun.

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