American Psycho

American Psycho ★★★★½

A bloody and gruesome black comedy which showcases that Christian Bale has some serious acting chops. With Patrick Bateman he has given us an utterly despicable character who could be one of the most oddly enthralling in recent memory. He has an aura of unpredictability about him that I found strangely compelling. One minute he could seem intelligent and calculating but the next he would burst into a fit or petulant rage or insanity. When he wasn't running down a hallway naked wielding a chainsaw he was telling us how much he loves Phil Collins or that début Whitney Houston album. He was an utter lunatic. A very watchable utter lunatic.

As an overall film, ‘American Psycho’ is a dark and uncompromising look into the psyche of its lead character. The film is elegantly shot and delivered with a devilish tone that I found to be spot on. With each despicable act Bateman committed we could slowly see him unravel towards a breaking point. When he does snap or his mask slips and his true self is revealed there are some genuinely terrifying moments contained in the film. With Willem Dafoe’s detective snooping around there is a cat and mouse game going on in the background of the film to maintain our investment between the brutalities. Your enjoyment of the film will likely depend on how much the psychotic Patrick Bateman intrigues you. For better or for worse I found him to be an enthralling character and he always kept me on my toes second guessing where things will end up. I was captivated by the madness of it all and it reeled me in hook, line and sinker.

I do feel like the film almost crippled itself in trying to be slightly too clever and subtle for its own good with the ending. Some thought and research into it's source material does reveal a clever commentary on the whole Wall Street life and those who live it but my initial reaction was bewilderment. With a slightly more deliberate execution the message could probably have been delivered in a more satisfactory way. As things stand there is some room for interpretation from its audience which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Despite its many bursts of violence there was also some genuinely funny underlying humour to the film which in a weird way complimented Bateman’s sheer lunacy. The script was at times a real treat and I can see myself quoting some of the films more memorable lines far too much in the near future. Director Mary Harron juggled both the horror and the humour to the story very well with Bale’s juggernaut performance clearly the biggest contributor in the film’s success. Now if you will excuse me, I have to return some videotapes…

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