American Psycho (movie review)

american-psychoAmerican Psycho (2000) is an underrated (67% on rotten tomatoes) drama/black comedy starring Christian Bale and co-starring Willem Dafoe and Reese Witherspoon. It’s a character study that was billed as a horror movie and is worthy of a much wider audience than it has received thus far.

Christian Bale plays Patrick Bateman (Dr. Girlfriend points out that “Bateman” is just one letter off from “Batman.” BOOM!) and just knocks it out of the park. Whether he’s doing voice over, participating in a dialogue scene or simply just letting the emotion play out on his face, the dude is awesome. I’d say this is one of my favorite Christian Bale roles, but honestly, I’m a big fan – if they guy walked out on stage and blew his nose, I’d clap.

Other players include Willem Dafoe, who I assume was cast as the police detective to lend some menace to the roll, but I think it’s debatable as to whether this works out or not. Reese Witherspoon, on the other hand, is tremendous as the annoying fiance and does exactly what you’d expect in the role but gives it “The Witherspoon” as I’m now referring to it – she doesn’t get amazing roles, but she makes them her own.

Dialogue/Monologue/Screenplay/Production Design/Camera Work/Directing/Editing
I love the dialogue in this movie – there’s nothing like a well written scene concerning a bunch of rich guys comparing their business cards. And the intrinsic way of which, for example, Bateman will discuss the earlier and later works of the band Genesis is hilarious. It’s a tight screenplay that moves quickly when it needs to, breathes when it wants to and drags out when it’s supposed to. The production design is fantastic – and I’m not the sort of guy that pays a ton of attention to this sort of detail, but you can’t miss the design on Bateman’s apartment, the offices, the restaurants and so on. It all works perfectly with the camera work – always flowing and beautiful, even when showing the harshest of images, but it works, even though those two things seem like they’d be in contrast. The directing and editing in this movie really appeal to me as they do a great job of making you feel sympathy for an unsympathetic protagonist and letting Bale just act – they’d put the camera on him and just let him convey his emotions just by expression and the editor wisely left these long shots in the film.

This film might not be for everybody, but you can’t deny that American Psycho is a fine film. I challenge anyone to watch it and not like it – the movie is a blast.

Here’s the theatrical trailer – never saw this until just now.  It’s a fair depiction of the movie, if not perfect.

Then there’s this TV spot – the thing that kept me away from this movie for over ten years.

“Make a killing” combined with the exercising…  just… awful.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on August 5, 2013, in movie review and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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