Taking a time-machine back to the year 2000. American Psycho still stands as one of the greatest psychological character studies since The Silence of The Lambs.
With Christian Bale at the helm, American Psycho dives into the mindsight of Bale’s disturbing life as investment banker Patrick Bateman. Though the film focuses heavily on what makes Bateman tick, we also get to experience his interesting interactions with the high-powered business world and social elite. You may also notice a lot of very familiar but young faces including Reese Witherspoon, Willem Dafoe, and Jared Leto. Yes, Jared Leto. Back when he was first acting well and not being a dickhead in a clown outfit.
What makes Bateman such a great figure to watch is the attention to detail his character is written with, which is also stupendously to the credit of its actor Christian Bale. Without whom this film could never reach the great heights that it managed to.
There are so many examples of scenes with Bateman’s external monologues that could not be delivered in any other way. His performance perfectly blends a dose of seriousness with dialogue that could very easily be delivered in a sarcastic and comedic way. But this isn’t to say it isn’t hilarious. The humor that does come from it is staggeringly smart and so unique compared to anything else you’ve seen. This makes Patrick Bateman become the complex and captivating psychological figure to analyze.
And whilst this is all happening; we get such well-written commentary on a wide range of topics. It’s never forced as a point but rather as a natural byproduct of the psychic of Bateman as an individual. This film stands alone as a shining example of fusing the psychological horror elements of a madman with the brilliant notions he presents to our world.
For all these reasons, American Psycho is still a favorite of mine to watch. If only to admire the sheer beauty of making a character-focused set piece that feels both incredibly enlightening one moment, then shockingly captivating the next. These aspects have made it surprisingly quotable and you’ll find yourself hard pressed to listen to a Huey Lewis song and not ask your friend: “Do you like Huey Lewis & The News?”