American Psycho: The slasher of the century


The 2000 film American Psycho is truly a marvel of its time. The craftsmanship put into making this piece of cinematic history will forever be remembered. In my eyes, this film will always be one of the best pieces of media ever created.

Patrick Bateman, the main character of our movie, is an aristocratic and egotistical businessman. Christian Bale’s portrayal of this character could not be more perfect. His otherworldly acting skills, and the sense of unease that his character provides to this film as a whole is unbelievably captivating.

My favorite scene that demonstrates Bales acting skills is the scene where Bateman and his coworkers are showing eachother their business cards. We’re shown multiple cards, all that look almost completely identical. But as the scene progresses, Bateman seizes up, his face goes blank, he starts sweating. You see his composure completely melt at the mere idea that his coworker’s choice of “Eggshell with Romalian type” might be better than his own card. He gives a performance that bewitches the viewer, keeping you on the edge of your seat for the entire hour and 44 minutes of runtime.

The film follows Bateman through his day-to-day life, working at his law firm and interacting with his similarly lifeless coworkers, but he ultimately fails to relate to them. Throughout the movie, Bateman stresses a point of wanting to “fit in.” This point helps add such a menacing feel to the film as a whole. You observe Bateman as he desperately grasps onto the idea of conforming to the world around him–but he can’t. This idea of conformity and his failure to do so make the whole movie feel uncanny. It’s as if you’re watching a doll being puppeteered, rather than a human being living his life.

One of my favorite sequences in the film is between Bateman and a detective who is looking into the murders of one of Bateman’s coworkers. Detective Donald Kimball is played by four-time Academy Award nominee Willem Dafoe. Dafoe delivers a chilling performance as Detective Kimball. With every interaction between him and Bateman, you’re left unsure as to whether he truly thinks Bateman is guilty of the crime. The stiff facial expressions we see, and the total lack of emotion in lines from Kimball like “And if you could try and pin down where you were the night of Owen’s disappearance, it would make my job a lot easier.” make you feel like you’re the one being questioned. By the end of the film, you yourself might be just as distrustful of our main character.

American Psycho is a foolproof demonstration of the problems with America’s capitalistic society, as it brings up issues like sexism, classism and, in Bateman’s words, “the pleasures of conformity.”

If you have two hours to spare and enjoy the absurdity of late stage capitalism, I would wholeheartedly recommend this film. Although I would urge you to steer clear if you find yourself uneasy at the sight of nudity/blood.