#NASTYWOMEN WEEK 8
AMERICAN PSYCHO (2000) Review
Looks are everything in Patrick Bateman’s (Christian Bale) world. He really doesn’t give a shit bout anything other than his appearance and his possessions. A true wanker, his skincare regime surpasses anything I’ve ever contemplated and he owns an ice pack for his eyes for when his skin gets puffy. Greed and disgust are the only distinguishable emotions that Patrick identifies with. He’s engaged to a woman (Reese Witherspoon) he can’t stand and would much rather do his 1000 crunches than be around her.
Attractive, educated, white, rich and successful, Patrick pretty much has everything going for him and is entitled to the world and more. He orders food for the women in his life because you know, he’s just that on top of everything that’s trendy and cool. Patrick tells his secretary Jean (Chloe Sevigny) not to wear her outfit again because she’s apparently prettier than the awesome pants and shirt she’s chosen. She’s to wear a dress and heels, because that’s how true femininity is really expressed.
Patrick and his ‘mates’ at work (who he actually hates) compare the print, layout, colour and texture of their business cards aka they may as well get out their rulers and compare sizes. Paul Allen (Jared Leto) literally thinks Patrick is another guy because, let’s face it, all these men in business attire are pretty much the same person. This works in Patrick’s favour for a while as he puts Paul on the top of his to kill list, but cop Donald Kimball (Willem Dafoe) is no idiot and before long is onto Patrick and his murderous ways.
In a particularly awful scene, Patrick confronts a homeless man named Al and asks him why he doesn’t get a job (as we all know it’s that easy), but that’s not enough – he gives him false hope by offering help then tells him he smells like shit and then decides that Al isn’t worthy enough for this world, so puts him out of his misery. And then kills his dog.
Screenwriter (from Brett Easton Ellis’ novel) and director Mary Harron gives us a slick and stunning 140 minutes of excess. American Psycho may be set in the 1980s, but is identifiable with the concrete jungle of today. There may not be iPhones and Instagram, but we all know Patrick would have the best of the best of both had they been around in his time. It’s simultaneously terrifying and hilarious, the mesmerising Christian Bale equally gorgeous, frightening and utterly pathetic.
In the third act we see Patrick descend into madness, he’s been some kind of crazy throughout the whole film, but is he really the murderous villain we have been presented with? Or is it just all in his head? That’s up to you to decide.
Men are sensitive souls, aren’t they?
Chloe Sesta Jacobs is a people and culture geek who loves writing about film and usually does so with her two miniature sausage dogs lying all over her. Chloe really enjoys world cinema and has been heard to say “if it doesn’t have subtitles, don’t talk to me”. She also tweets a LOT at @csestajacobs.