American Psycho

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Based on the controversial novel by Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho is a terrifying and darkly humorous satire of the status-mad culture of the 1980s, featuring a mesmerizing performance by Christian Bale as a slick Wall Street yuppie driven to horrifying acts of violence by his obsessive desire for success. Writer/director Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol) and co-writer Guinevere Turner (Go Fish) offer up a bloody, brutal and razor sharp dissection of the dark side of The American Dream, shot through with wickedly black humor that provokes laughs as well as gasps. Bale is spot-on as the blank corporate drone Patrick Bateman, a preening tiger in designer suits whose speaking voice is part salesman, part self-help guru, and completely artificial. Carrying himself with the poised confidence of a male model, he spends his days in a numbing world of status-symbol one-upmanship, soul-sapping small talk, and awkward encounters with his beautiful finance (Reese Witherspoon), but breaks out at night with smirking explosions of gore-splattered homicide (sometimes set to the rocking tunes of his favorite band, Huey Lewis and the News), accomplished with the fastidious care of a hopeless obsessive. As Bateman’s rampage escalates in ever more outrageous fashion (watch out for that naked chainsaw massacre!), the film mutates in to a hilarious, cheerfully insidious hall of mirrors all pointed inward, slowly cracking as the portrait becomes increasingly grotesque and insane. (Dir. by Mary Harron, 2000, USA, 102 mins., Rated R) 35mm