Monday, July 21, 2008

American Psycho

Christian Bale
Originally uploaded by bluesteel1981
There are many reasons that I adore American Psycho. It’s one of the most deranged films I can think of that was directed by a woman, Christian Bale has his shirt off for a good chunk of the film, it’s imaginative and stylized, the dialogue is damn original, and it’s a movie that no matter how many times I see it I notice more. I will never completely figure this movie out.

American Psycho is a critique of 80’s materialism and the hidden savage nature in the 80’s; in the tale our main character walks the line between his normal life where he wants to be “normal” and his night life where he runs rampant as a savage serial killer. There is a twist to this tale, which I will do my best not to give away too much information on; however, unlike High Tension the twist in this film actually works.

This is a film where Christian Bale once again proves that he can throw himself into any part and conquer it. Patrick Bateman lives by his routine, establishes some very strict rules for himself and when he loses it and goes on his murderous rampages it is delightful and horrifying at the same time. Christian Bale is able to play the upscale boy next door who just happens to be an insane serial killer and makes it believable. It is a superior and riveting performance that proves he knows how to walk the line between an overdone performance and an exaggerated character. I am not swayed to like Bale’s performance merely because Christian is in his skivvies for a large portion of the film, but that is a nice bonus. The sheer amount of disgust he is able to manage over a competitors “superior” business card is shocking to watch.

I also adore that this film is directed by a woman – Mary Harron. It actually surprised me a few years ago when I figured that out. The reason is that American Psycho created the reaction in me that I want my films to create in others; too often people watch films directed by women and judge them on a different scale. Usually, they try to figure out how these films speak about “women’s issues”, something I hate. Do you look at a Spielberg film and try to figure out what it is saying about “men’s issues” before you do anything else? No. So why do people do that for women directors? My goal in making my films is to make good, interesting, quality films first and have people notice that I am a woman second. Basically, I want people to walk out and say “Dang, I loved that movie” and then “That was directed by a woman?” only if necessary.

Mary Harron did this for me. I paid attention to the film and not the person that made it.

What is crazy to me is that there is a sequel to American Psycho. If you have seen the film you know that this is not possible and I challenge anyone to disagree with me.

Director: Mary Harron
Writers: Marry Harron & Guinevere Turner
Patrick Bateman: Christian Bale
Timothy Bryce: Justin Theroux
Craig Mcdermott: Josh Lucas
David VanPatten: Bill Sage
Jean: Chloe Sevigny
Evelyn: Reese Witherspoon
Courtney: Samantha Mathis
Luis Carruthers: Matt Ross
Paul Allen: Jared Leto
det. Kimball: Willem Dafoe

Patrick Bateman: There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman; some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me: only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable... I simply am not there.

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