Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

09 February 2008

American Psycho, dir. Mary Harron (2000)

STEVE says:
When I saw American Psycho upon its initial release, I hadn't read the book and knew nothing of the twist ending. I wasn't actually looking forward to seeing it, now that I think about it, because the trailer left me with the impression that Christian Bale was overacting to the point of absurdity, and I didn't know if I could sit through an hour and a half of that.

Of course he was overacting, that was the whole point of the Patrick Bateman character, and I realized it immediately in his interactions with his co-workers. And the twist ending was such a stunner to me that I don't think I fully accepted it until I was walking to my car, long after the credits had rolled.

So it came as a great shock that my friend Claudius (with whom I watched American Psycho tonight) said he picked it four minutes in, when Bateman is telling the barmaid, behind her back, that he's going to kill her.

I see it as inevitable - he's totally insane, never killed anyone, so the threats he makes to people, and the murders we see him perpetrate are all interior monologue and fantasy, something you can only pick up in retrospect. Claude saw it as predictable - that one scene in the very beginning gave it away, and all the murder scenes only served to back it up.

Either way, the movie still holds up to subsequent viewings. The indictment of 80s greed and mass consumption is handled better here than in Wall Street, for example, because it's a subtext and not the driving force. It would be a stretch to call the movie subtle, but I think "predictable" is just as wrong. I don't know if Claude will be watching it again any time in the near future, but I could stand to watch it again. If only for Bale's performance, which I now see not as his overacting, but Bateman's overcompensating.


Nikki did not view.

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