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Overall Rating
3.8

Awesome37.55%
Worth A Look: 30.11%
Average: 14.13%
Pretty Bad: 11.52%
Total Crap: 6.69%

12 reviews, 197 user ratings


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American Psycho
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by Stephen Groenewegen

"Restraint"
4 stars

American Psycho is Mary Harron's restrained directorial adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's novel about 1980s excess, seen through the eyes of a yuppie serial killer.

Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) works on Wall Street, but he's so bland in appearance that his fiancee (Reese Witherspoon) calls him the "boy next door" and most of his colleagues continually mistake him for someone else. When he tells a model in a nightclub that he's into "murders and executions", she hears "mergers and acquisitions". Bateman is rich enough not to work, and receives an exorbitant salary for doing very little. His devoted secretary (Chloe Sevigny) is kept busy booking lunch and dinner reservations for him and his fiancee, mistress (Samantha Mathis) or misogynist buddies at the trendiest restaurants. Always dressed in designer clothing, Bateman spends the rest of the time at his health and fitness club, at the laundrette (trying to get bloodstains out of his sheets), or renting hardcore sex and splatter videos.

Although the film is about Bateman's psychopathic urges spiralling out of control, he generally doesn't kill indiscriminately. He tells us at one point that there's nothing inside him at all, and it seems clear (through Harron and Guinevere Turner's cleverly constructed screenplay) that Bateman's a metaphor for privileged male elites raping and murdering America's homeless, gays, non-whites and women. Harron's film is a lot more audience-friendly than Ellis's book, which is delivered through Bateman's monotonous internal monologue, interspersed with increasingly graphic sex and violence. The women characters in the film are stronger (some of them even get a chance to fight back), and a lot of the violence is toned down or takes place out of shot (we're also spared the ugliness of Bateman revelling in his homophobia - he murders the "faggot" offscreen).

While her restraint in the screenplay was admirable, Harron shouldn't have been so genteel with her direction. She seems to have been too scared to have more fun satirising 1980s America. The expensive apartments and restaurants look washed-out, not gaudy or glamorous. Was this deliberate or a lack of money? In a lot of sequences the dialogue doesn't get a chance to flow, and the film isn't as funny as the book. So we're generally not as taken aback by the violence (there's less humour to contrast it with); instead we anticipate it. Harron teases us from the opening shot, a dripping red liquid in the credit sequence that turns out not to be blood but the sauce accompanying an expensive meal.

Christian Bale looks a little too wild and unhinged for the bland Bateman, but brings some goofy mannerisms to his characterisation and is perfect once the cracks in his facade of sanity widen. I liked Sevigny best of the supporting cast (though I'd mentally cast her as the doped-out mistress, Courtney). She adds a lot to her few scenes, including the film's most telling condemnation of Bateman when she finds his diary (a moment that a lesser film could have played for laughs).

There's a lot to admire about the movie American Psycho. The horror is effectively conveyed by suggestion, it builds to more of a crescendo than the book's muted climax, and you're not left wondering what the point of it all was. But in controlling the material so tightly, a novel that seemed written to incite a strong emotional repsonse has become a film that doesn't provoke much of anything - except qualified praise.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1380&reviewer=104
originally posted: 07/21/00 08:26:23
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User Comments

10/24/17 Louise I thought it was rubbish and lame. 2 stars
9/12/17 morris campbell overrated BALE IS GOOD NOTHING ELSE IS 1 stars
3/31/17 Fire WithFire Bret Ellis' knee-jerk paranoia of what was in the souls and minds of Reagan voters 1 stars
3/22/17 Louise (the real one) I found it seriously underwhelming and forgettable 3 stars
5/30/12 Sabrina Don't just stare at it, EAT IT. www.boldstriped.com 5 stars
5/30/12 Patrick Bateman I have to return some videotapes... boldstriped.com 5 stars
6/13/11 art this flick is NIFTY, everone is COOL!,from Christian BALE to GUINEVERE Turner! 4 stars
6/13/10 art BALE was GRAND as a SICKO,SEVIGNy sUPER as his HELPER, SEYMOUR great as a drifter. 5 stars
6/06/10 User Name Funny and frightening. 3 stars
6/05/10 art AN EXTRAORDINAIRY STORY about a MANIAC,CHLOE SEVIGNY WAS GREAT in her supporting role! 4 stars
3/18/10 PAUL SHORTT INTENSE, NASTY PORTRAIT OF A SELF-OBSESSED, PSYCHOTIC MAN 2 stars
3/12/10 Tony amazing acting display by Bale in Chinese Laundry showing every emotion possible 5 stars
1/02/10 Lola Excellent film made brilliant by Bale. Best actor of this generation. Leo who?. 5 stars
10/21/09 camaysar Bale's phone confession to his lawyer - amazing display of acting. 5 stars
7/06/09 Jessi I was bored throughout the film. I can't even watch Christian Bale movies anymore. 1 stars
3/17/09 :] this movie inspires serial killers 4 stars
2/27/09 matt Brilliant deadpan performance by Bale. A masterpiece of black comedy. 5 stars
1/08/09 Princess Christian Bale freaked me out like crazy in this!! 4 stars
6/22/08 David Kind of a guilty pleasure, but still a very good movie. 4 stars
8/03/07 itchmr well conceived, gory, sadistic inner fantasy 3 stars
7/30/07 Pipes! An excellent look into 80's lifestyle and a hilarious view into a psycho mind! 5 stars
6/06/07 David Pollastrini very well done 5 stars
4/17/07 Chris Redmond Magnificent performance by Bale. A hilarious satire of a very materialistic era. 5 stars
4/03/07 lisa bale was AMAZING. funny, yet made me think that the 80s isnt dissimilar to now-scary... 5 stars
3/29/07 Double M Bale didn't get *at least* an oscar nom!! now things like that hurts the oscars credibility 5 stars
2/01/07 William Goss A good movie with a great performance by Bale. Ending mildly stumbles. 4 stars
12/30/06 AJ Muller Hilarious satire in one way; psychologically chilling in another. Bale is simply on fire. 5 stars
7/13/06 Agent Sands Fantastic performance from Bale. Not one dull moment. 4 stars
6/26/06 MP Bartley Bale is beyond brilliant here. The film just slightly less good than he. 5 stars
2/24/06 omar kinda gives out in the end but otherwise a good movie 3 stars
12/03/05 Jesse This is not an exit 5 stars
12/03/05 Jennifer S. The scene with "Hip to be Square" playing in the background was hilarious! 3 stars
11/16/05 JamesKenobi Absolutely and unoquivically brilliant. 5 stars
11/13/05 Elitza Loved it. 4 stars
10/12/05 DennyRoss Dark Murder/Satire that keeps you guessing! 5 stars
6/14/05 K. Sear Cheesy, strange, chilling and erudite. An excellent movie. 5 stars
6/08/05 Indrid Cold An entertaining but unsatisfying black comedy/thriller. 4 stars
5/17/05 E-FUNK Bale makes this film work. Disturbing, hilarious and unforgettable. Loved it. 5 stars
3/15/05 Ronin Surprisingly good 4 stars
1/27/05 Evan I enjoyed it! 4 stars
1/18/05 Stefan Halka Nothing special. Just a decent slasher set in the '80s yuppie world. 3 stars
11/10/04 atanu pretty darn good 5 stars
9/25/04 Vicious The best of dark, dark comedy. I empathise with bateman a little, the pain of emptyness. 5 stars
8/30/04 Sonia Excellent Satire! 5 stars
7/13/04 Nick Martin Reviewer missed the whole point 4 stars
6/04/04 Stab Wounds Not the greatest thing since sliced bread... 3 stars
5/11/04 Josh Best Social Satire about Corporate Clones 5 stars
4/26/04 donna funny.gory but not overdone. Bale was hot! 5 stars
2/24/04 Jonni American society at its best. Very Funny 5 stars
1/22/04 falamor Kool i liked this movie 5 stars
11/08/03 Wynne Plenty of reviewers missed the subtle nuances. Good to see not everyone is Ebert-dense. 5 stars
10/24/03 Josh Standlee As "restricted" as movies get, but I liked it anyway. 5 stars
9/12/03 the lord sheer brilliance - p. bateman is a hero. if you disagree, your opinion is worthless. 5 stars
7/10/03 Jim WTF just happened? 4 stars
6/19/03 Lush The shift in tone towards then end seems out of place, but Bale is superb. 4 stars
6/14/03 Alice Read the book. 2 stars
5/28/03 k-dog hbk 5 stars
5/01/03 Andrew Carden Clever, but Stupid Horror/Comedy With A Horrid Screenplay. Bale Is OK. 2 stars
4/11/03 Ross Bernard Didn't make a whole lot of sense but pretty good acting 4 stars
3/10/03 Jack Sommersby An imaginative and wickedly funny black comedy. Bale is outstanding. 4 stars
2/22/03 R.W. Welch Indeterminate exercise with loose ends everywhere. Interesting as a curiosity. 3 stars
10/30/02 Patrick ladies and gentlemen; "The American Psycho" 5 stars
10/08/02 Dave Top Film..the book was even better 5 stars
9/11/02 Francofile It's sick, but I'd watch Christian Bale eat human brains with chopsticks. 3 stars
8/31/02 Jennifer Intense! Think about this: what really happened? Separate reality from delusions. Lost? 5 stars
8/08/02 Caiphn One of my favorite films. 5 stars
8/05/02 Charles Tatum Flubbed ending, but Bale deserved an Oscar 4 stars
7/31/02 KMG WHOA.....BALE MUST'VE WORKED OUT.......OOOOOOH... 4 stars
7/28/02 John Roberson Even better after the stock market crashing, isn't it? 5 stars
6/09/02 Gummibear X I went crazy after watchin this movie... donno why, but I wanna kill... 3 stars
5/27/02 Nicole What a sick, twisted movie 4 stars
5/14/02 Danielle Ophelia The screenwriters and the director really GOT the book's satirical edge. Huzzah!! 4 stars
4/30/02 Caiphn Worth buying. 5 stars
3/06/02 Veronica Foxx aka The Raven-Haired Temptress I was oddly intrigued but not necessarily entertained. Fell short with lack of substance. 4 stars
1/06/02 FGJ180 Smug satire, watch Fight Club, and realize, we have no right to act smug towards the past. 2 stars
12/25/01 Connoisseur entertaining but not substantial 3 stars
10/25/01 Bill Gains Hi-larious! 5 stars
10/17/01 jawsboy why would you do that, bonar?. 4 stars
10/02/01 HM3 Frightenly dull. 2 stars
9/02/01 Butterbean Bale was great! This movie was cool! 4 stars
8/25/01 Zipperneck Unique. Dark. Bale is a treat to watch in a maniacal, over the top way. 4 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk Different in the best ways possible...I loved it. 5 stars
7/14/01 JT Interesting idea loses steam quickly 3 stars
6/27/01 Not bad Not a bad movie at all. Bale is convincing, but script does no justice 3 stars
6/02/01 javiero bonar i would rather cut off my penis than see this movie ever again 1 stars
5/21/01 mn ??? 3 stars
5/21/01 Monster W. Kung Lacks everything that made Fight Club so powerful, and it becomes often phony. 3 stars
4/17/01 Dan Intense, Exciting, Thought Provoking 5 stars
4/16/01 Tam Disturbing and glamorous, but OTT at times. 4 stars
4/15/01 GeorgE McCaul CRAP CRAP CRAP!!!!!! God, I was never so happy because a movie ended. 1 stars
4/06/01 Jesse L Can't comment now - I have to return some video tapes... 5 stars
3/21/01 rebbi stein One of the best movies of the year 5 stars
2/17/01 Egg36 Great satire of 1990s commercialism 5 stars
2/15/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi READ THE BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 3 stars
2/11/01 Bender Without Christian Bale, this movie is coma-inducing. 3 stars
1/30/01 John Distrubing and dark look into the status question in socitey. 4 stars
1/13/01 Invader This movie I liked but it seemed to more about fashion and status than serial killing 4 stars
12/03/00 David Murrell Funny, 80s pisstake 5 stars
11/20/00 natasha good-- if you want to live in this character's mind for a couple of hours 4 stars
11/02/00 Mike Great 80's millieu - lousy ending. Rent it as a background party flick. 3 stars
10/31/00 marsh one of the most subtle, disturbing movies i've ever seen. not everyone will 'get it't' 5 stars
10/16/00 TIM EXTREMELY POINTLESS... ESCEPT FOR BALE>>> GOD HES HOT!! 1 stars
9/14/00 Ground Zero sick ending, too much gore and blood 3 stars
9/12/00 Monday Morning Hilarious pretentiousness countered by too-extreme violence, lame ending. 3 stars
9/10/00 Rosalie Coleman I kept looking for the point, I never found it. 2 stars
8/24/00 TIGGER BEST MOVIE! 5 stars
8/23/00 Geoff Stewart "Damn good, damn funny, serial killers don't get any funnier than this! 5 stars
8/13/00 Belinda You can be psycho without having to chop people up. Could have been better. 3 stars
8/09/00 Dan Baar BEST FILM OF THE YEAR!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/05/00 Viking About as edifying as "Mein Kampf" 2 stars
7/17/00 perverted pixie Disturbingly funny, with Bale's Bateman just as pircing as Lili Taylor's Valerie. 5 stars
7/10/00 Andrew J. Bale deserves an Oscar. Prolly won't get a nom, though. 5 stars
6/22/00 A delightful romp that any Huey Lewis, Phil Collins/Genesis, Robert Palmer, or Whitney Houston fan simply MUST see!! 4 stars
6/20/00 Ulatekk Total bullshit ending!!! 3 stars
6/13/00 DAVID Movie was really good but i must say its not as violent as people say!! 4 stars
5/27/00 Jaime N. Christley It's as vapid as the lifestyle it satirizes. Christian Bale is extraordinary, however. 2 stars
5/22/00 Obi Wan What da fuck was this shit??? It had a few laffs but did this get chopped up? 2 stars
5/21/00 Cinesuerte Great Dick flick 4 stars
5/20/00 Bueller Serial killers just aren't as funny as they used to be. Pretty much wastes Bales talents. 2 stars
5/17/00 swan bale is brilliant 4 stars
5/13/00 Zeitgeist brilliant satire, great acting, totally mind-fucking experience 5 stars
5/10/00 Heather A great piece of societal commentary. Harron scores again 5 stars
5/09/00 bart Perversely entertaining. Great men's product recomenndations. 5 stars
5/08/00 Add Its not about a killer, its all about soceity and the control which the money men have. 5 stars
5/03/00 malcolm utterly ridiculous from top to bottom - esp. the chain saw chase. it doesn't get much worse 1 stars
5/02/00 venicejay made no fucking sense. was there footage left on the cutting room floor? 1 stars
5/02/00 mop Pretty pointless. I was disappointed with Mary Harron, loved I Shot Andy Warhol... 2 stars
5/01/00 perverted pixie Another Harron masterpiece! Christian Bale was so utterly perfect as Bateman! 5 stars
5/01/00 Will excellent adaptation 5 stars
4/30/00 Mortis Ah finally a movie about my decade...it so rocked! 5 stars
4/29/00 john smith awesome flick ... just loved it ... rattling but so finely done and acted ... 5 stars
4/29/00 Richard Wright Didn't like it. Lesso sex scenes interspersed with stupid business card arguments... YAWN! 2 stars
4/29/00 Pansy big fat hairy deal, wasted movie, ridiculously done 2 stars
4/28/00 lu-cartei You can't but symphatize with a psycho. 5 stars
4/26/00 Randall I must have missed something 2 stars
4/25/00 Bueller Talk about your dark comedy. But then, what's so funny about mass murder? Oh yeah, nothing! 3 stars
4/25/00 bart even better after a 2nd viewing 5 stars
4/24/00 bill benzon so what? 2 stars
4/24/00 Marisol C. very dark, absurd, no point, not worth the money, too many raunchy sex scenes. 1 stars
4/22/00 Zeitgeist Brilliant satire, awesome acting..and why is no one mentioning the mind-blowing ending? 5 stars
4/20/00 Brett Good solid movie -- good acting, neat camera work, and a literary plot! Solid work. 4 stars
4/19/00 Cyndi B. The use of symbolism and metaphor was brilliant. Fascinating commentary on the 80s. 5 stars
4/19/00 Not David Hasselhoff. The killing lost its disturbingness after the first couple of scenes.End is middle of book. 2 stars
4/19/00 Ben Ryan Totally nowhere. No plot, no care, Useless acting, terrible directing, fucking waste! 1 stars
4/19/00 allan Gorgeous food shots. Hilarious sex scenes. Bale looked like a facial mask. 4 stars
4/18/00 John Roberson What they said... ;) 5 stars
4/18/00 Brien Good Shock Appeal... overdramatic storyline 3 stars
4/18/00 Amber R. Mary Harron is a goddess among directors-Bale is magnificent. The ultimate yuppie scum! 5 stars
4/17/00 Clarence T. Aside from being one of the greatest satires ever made, this movie was funny as hell! 5 stars
4/17/00 PJ not nearly as graphic as it should have been, but it was still great Bale was magnificent 4 stars
4/17/00 Malbert Christian Bale has made an awesome turnaround...other than,a disgusting piece of shit movie 3 stars
4/17/00 Phil Freeman Dark, bitter, and very funny (a little obvious sometimes, though). 4 stars
4/17/00 Mark Williamson The 80's were bad--yes I knew that before I wasted $9.50 on this piece of junk. 1 stars
4/17/00 Sirkka extremely memorable and maniacal 4 stars
4/16/00 lucas jackson it was so gross that it was funny 4 stars
4/16/00 Thor-Leo Unaffecting, unmoving. Chloe Sevigny and Justin Theroux were underused (wasted). 2 stars
4/16/00 Zeitgeist incredible plot twist at the end. brilliant dialogue. great acting by Bale. 5 stars
4/16/00 Mary Ann Coral-Amasifuen Brilliant commentary on the duality of male society in American culture. society 5 stars
4/16/00 Matt Thiel Notice that one of the commentators is from Lion's Gate: Jim Smith (ftp.lionsgatefilms.com) 1 stars
4/16/00 Captain Highcrime A mediocre Anthony Perkins/Jim Carrey impersonation if ever I saw one. 2 stars
4/15/00 "Persnickety" what a masterpiece, all out kick ass movie! 5 stars
4/15/00 Lisa I definitely want to see this one again! 4 stars
4/15/00 JonnyAngel crazy shit, hilarious 4 stars
4/12/00 Dave This film was so bad I left in the middle of it! 1 stars
4/12/00 Mike Worst movie of the year, stay away from this piece of crap! 1 stars
4/05/00 Jim Smith Great Film 5 stars
4/02/00 John Unertl Witty dialogue, great story. 5 stars
3/30/00 DoubleDown A refreshing look at an unlikely psychopath 5 stars
3/29/00 Mike THIS MOVIE SUCKED! 1 stars
3/23/00 Thomas Willads I LOVE this movie! 5 stars
3/22/00 eric masse okay adaptation 3 stars
3/18/00 Pat Suarez Interesting study of reptilian sociopath flawed by inconsistent storyline and editing. 4 stars
3/17/00 james derfield excellent 5 stars
3/16/00 Alex Ioshpe An intelligent, intense and shocking adaption with marvelous preformances. 5 stars
3/14/00 Doug Chapman A brilliant adaptation of one of the best satirical novels in the last decade. 5 stars
3/12/00 Jake Lloyd More interesting than the book. More funny than frightening. Too bad it dies at the end. 4 stars
3/02/00 kim chaney loved it.. witty.. different then book.. but very good 4 stars
2/24/00 randall woolf elegant and funny...inspired 5 stars
2/16/00 Kyle Broflovski *Giggle Giggle* This is not an exit...who among us read the book???? 4 stars
1/25/00 Chris Whitney top notch serial killer flick 5 stars
1/24/00 David Williams Saw this at Sundance and it was an awesome satire 5 stars
1/21/00 Fran Chilling view of narcissistic soul freeze. 5 stars
1/19/00 Derek DiCiccio some of you people are very, very sick 1 stars
1/14/00 Bret Easton Ellis I think u are all a pack of blood sucking vampires 1 stars
1/14/00 Max_Fischer I will be among the first to see it-- I have tickets to the premiere at Sundance! 5 stars
1/09/00 Patrick Bateman Awesome film. I can't wait to see it again. 5 stars
1/02/00 Chastity Blevins This movie brings out the serial killer in all of us. 5 stars
12/23/99 Nicki B Can't wait to see if it's as graphic as the book! 5 stars
12/14/99 David Berkowitz This film is filthy, depraved, sick and completely horrible. And I like it!!!! 5 stars
11/23/99 Devon Thank god christian isn't Leo. Christian brings 'great acting', becuase yes, he can act. 5 stars
11/17/99 Fabian DuBois This movie was AMAZING. I was very pleased with the way Harron toned down the violence. 5 stars
11/16/99 miguel angel insaurralde quiero ver escenas del film 5 stars
11/13/99 Patrick Bateman Rad 5 stars
11/01/99 Michael Harris "American Psycho" doesn't top the book it's based on, but what a film. M. Harron:great job! 5 stars
10/30/99 Ahmed Ali DiCaprio as an actor is - 0 ! Christian Bale proved many times that he is great. 4 stars
10/20/99 Mr Miyagi who the f*ck is Leo? Christian plays Patrick and he is a complete geezer 5 stars
10/02/99 Julien Staid I've seen a rough copy of the film and it's quite disappointed. Christian just isn't Leo. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  14-Apr-2000 (R)
  DVD: 21-Jun-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  10-Aug-2000 (R)




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