Christian Bale plays the part of a seemingly everyday (and at times very mundane) salesperson who resides in a totally different world after work. One where he submits himself to his darkest desires and erotic fantasies (nothing terrible there) with the uncontrollable urge to kill people (oh, there it is).
The thing that makes American psycho so original are the amusing voice-over monologues of lead actor Christian Bale who are in fact a reflection of his inner demons (such as his sudden anger of jealousy when he sees his colleague has a nicer business-card).
Just as ludicrous is – before he engages in a terrifying murder spree – how he passionately talks about some of the ’80s greatest artists and their accomplisments, such as Phil Collins, Whitney Houston and Huey Lewis & The News. It serves as a warning to the audience that something bad is about to happen … something very bad!
Unfortunately enough, despite the pretty original look and film of the movie, it is still a horror movie. A stylized one, yes, but still a movie that thrives on blood and painful screams. The story is as thin as the sharp edge of a knife and only the main character of Christian Bale is interesting enough to keep you awake.
All over the movie you’ll see small, meaningless roles that don’t necessarily help further the story. There is the otherwise normally brilliant Willem Dafoe who appears pretty shallow in this movie. Not much better are the coming-on-stage of young players Jared Leto, Reese Witherspoon and Josh Lucas. Not any of them has enough meat on the bones to do something decent with their characters. They’re all pretty lame, but perhaps such is the curse of making a horror movie. Only very few horror movies manage to fill an entire script with multi-dimensional characters running around …
But the real deathblow comes at the end. Twenty minutes before the credits roll by, the story suddenly takes an expected U-turn into a direction which basically doesn’t make much sense. The logical storyline stops abruptly and there is no more blood to be soon (that by itself is not an issue).
The absurd, David Lynch-climax presents an intricate maze of different hypotheses resulting in the viewer being overpowered by something that holds the middle between a dream and a gloomy illusion. Instead of serving clear-cut answers (no pun intended), you are confronted with an ending that seems to go nowhere.
Thus the movie ends in a spiral of weakness and confusion …
did you know?
The single biggest cost of the movie was purchasing the rights to the various songs used throughout. Some of those songs included ‘Simply irresistible’ by Robert Palmer and ‘Sussudio’ by Phil Collins.
American psycho had the potential of becoming a real horror classic, but instead we are treated to a lesser story and a disappointing finale of an otherwise pretty original movie. The way the movie was made bleeds beautifully into the heart of the story – kudos to director Mary Harron – but it’s only Christian Bale who manages to attract the attention of the viewer. His portrayal of the lunatic psychopath in a 1000$-suit is as sharp as a knife and deservedly so an instant hit!