Sunday, October 01, 2006

AMERICAN PSYCHO


Movie of the week:
AMERICAN PSYCHO

Wikipedia defines "dark comedy" as
a sub-genre of comedy and satire where topics and events that are usually treated seriously - death, mass murder, sickness, madness, terror, drug abuse, rape, war, etc. – are treated in a humorous or satirical manner.
This week's movie definitely falls into that catagory. Our hero, Patrick Bateman, is a very successful Wall Street stockbroker. He wears the latest fashions. He furnishes his appartment in the latest Sharper Image appointments. He obsesses about his hair, and his complextion, and his wardrobe. He obsesses over the quality of the paper stock on which his business cards are printed. And he kills a lot of people - he obsesses over that too.

It's not certain why he kills a lot of people. Maybe because it's one more thing that he's really good at. Maybe he's under tremendous pressure to conform, and that all of his "freak" needs an outlet. Maybe he should try scupture.

Although this all sounds rather gruesome, it's slick and well written and produced, and it's really rather funny (hence the "dark comedy"). Sort of in the same way Arsenic and Old Lace was funny. In fact there is a whole tradition of dark comedies featuring serial killers (e.g. Sweeney Todd - I am sure that I'm not the ony one who thinks Sweeney Todd is funny).

Christian Bale has gotten a lot of screen time these days because of his role in Batman Begins and his new film The Prestige , but it was his role in AMERICAN PSYCHO, as the charming but kooky serial killer, that turned his career around. Bale is terrific as Patrick Bateman. He plays him as he should - loony and maniacal and self-hating and confused. His performance is the single most powerful element in this film.

Although it sounds ghastly, this is not a slasher movie. You never really see the murders take place - you just see the aftermath. This movie is not about the violence, it's more about irony. At one point in the film, he tries to confess about the murders but nobody believes him. Why? Because in the corporate world where everybody tries to be like everybody else, those people aren't missed. If you have the right sense of humor, this is very funny stuff. This movie takes the "Die Yuppie Scum" attitude to heart.

But *******WARNING********
This movie is NOT for everyone. It's not a "nice" movie. It's creepy and gruesome and ....... a little sick. Therefore, here are some warnings.
  1. This movie is violent. Even if the murders aren't particularly graphic. Don't watch it if this bothers you.
  2. There's kinky sex. Kinky sex and murder - there's a good combination.
  3. Cruelty to animals. Yes - our hero is not a nice guy.
  4. Cruelty to the homeless. As if they didn't have it bad enough.
  5. #1 - 4 pretty much narrows down the field of people who might enjoy this movie.
  6. Definitely not for kids (see all of the above).
  7. Patrick Bateman is not very nice to his girlfriend.
  8. The people who gave this movie a negative review, did so because they claim it is a watered down version of the book. Have you read the book? It's f******ing sick!
  9. It's very very funny satire. You may not want to come to a realization that you are the type of person who would laugh at this kind of film.
  10. I have to return some videotapes.
AMERICAN PSYCHO - it's all American!
Enjoy.

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