American Psycho

American Psycho

The Bret Easton Ellis novel American Psycho, a dark, violent satire of the "me" culture of Ronald Reagan's 1980s, is certainly one of the most controversial books of the '90s, and that notoriety fueled its bestseller status. This smart, savvy adaptation by Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol) may be able to ride the crest of the notoriety; prior to the film's release, Harron fought a ratings battle (ironically, for depictions of sex rather than violence), but at the time the director stated, "We're rescuing [the book] from its own bad reputation." Harron and co-screenwriter Guinevere Turner (Go Fish) overcome many of the objections of Ellis's novel by keeping the most extreme violence offscreen (sometimes just barely), suggesting the reign of terror of yuppie killer Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) with splashes of blood and personal souvenirs. Bale is razor sharp as the blank corporate drone, a preening tiger in designer suits whose speaking voice is part salesman, part self-help guru, and completely artificial. Carrying himself with the poised confidence of a male model, he spends his days in a numbing world of status-symbol one-upmanship and soul-sapping small talk, but breaks out at night with smirking explosions of homicide, accomplished with the fastidious care of a hopeless obsessive. The film's approach to this mayhem is simultaneously shocking and discreet; even Bateman's outrageous naked charge with a chainsaw is most notable for the impossibly polished and gleaming instrument of death. Harron's film is a hilarious, cheerfully insidious hall of mirrors all pointed inward, slowly cracking as the portrait becomes increasingly grotesque and insane. --Sean Axmaker

Genre: Crime, Drama
Production: Lions Gate Films
  5 wins & 8 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
The menu is in Braille
Killer looks.
No introductions necessary.
Killer inside.
Evil never looked so damn good.
I need to return some videotapes...
Monsters are real

Patrick Bateman:
Do you like Phil Collins? I've been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn't understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where Phil Collins' presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch was the group's undisputed masterpiece. It's an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums. Christy, take off your robe. Listen to the brilliant ensemble playing of Banks, Collins and Rutherford. You can practically hear every nuance of every instrument. Sabrina, remove your dress. In terms of lyrical craftsmanship, the sheer songwriting, this album hits a new peak of professionalism. Sabrina, why don't you, uh, dance a little. Take the lyrics to Land of Confusion. In this song, Phil Collins addresses the problems of abusive political authority. In Too Deep is the most moving pop song of the 1980s, about monogamy and commitment. The song is extremely uplifting. Their lyrics are as positive and affirmative as anything I've heard in rock. Christy, get down on your knees so Sabrina can see your a**hole. Phil Collins' solo career seems to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying, in a narrower way. Especially songs like In the Air Tonight and Against All Odds. Sabrina, don't just stare at it, eat it. But I also think Phil Collins works best within the confines of the group, than as a solo artist, and I stress the word artist. This is Sussudio, a great, great song, a personal favorite.

Hi, guys. I wanna get your opinion on something. It's my business card. I decided to get a new one, too.

[Luis removes his business card from the holder and shows it to McDermott, then Van Patten]

Very nice.

Van Patten:
Very nice, Luis.

Thank you. [shows it to Bateman, who does not respond. Luis then leaves]

Van Patten:
Listen, what about dinner...

Is that all you ever have to contribute, Van Patten? What about f***in' dinner?!

Cheer up there, baby. What's the matter? No shiatsu this morning? [claps Bateman on the shoulder]

[shoves McDermott's hand away] Touch me like that, and you'll draw back a stump.

Hold on there, little buddy--!

[Bateman leaves and heads for the restroom where Luis is at. Donning a pair of leather gloves, he approaches Luis from behind and prepares to strangle him, but Luis turns around, sees Bateman, removes one of the gloves and kisses Bateman's hand.]

[laughs] Patrick...why here? I've seen you looking at me. [traces a hand along Bateman's cheek, before pressing a finger to his lips and nose] I've noticed body. [chuckles, then moves in close] Don't be shy. You can't imagine how long I've wanted this - ever since that Christmas party - Arizona 206, you know, the one where you were wearing that red striped paisley Armani tie...

[Bateman, bewildered and disgusted, heads to one of the sinks and begins washing his hands - without even removing the gloves.]

I want you. I want you, too!

[Bateman does not respond and heads for the door.]



...Where are you going?

I've gotta return some videotapes. [leaves]

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