"Watching American Psycho is a bit like looking at a car accident. You know you
shouldnít, but you just canít drag your eyes away. This repulsively fascinating
look at the eighties Ďyuppieí mentality through the eyes of a psychopath is
skilfully executed by a brilliant cast, headed by a legendary Christian Bale as Patrick
Bateman is the charming yet loathsome American Psycho, and an apt title it is. He
typifies all that was wrong with American society in the 80s, from the obsession with
business cards to the need to be seen at the right restaurants. He seemingly has it all; a
great body, the right hair, clothes and apartment, and a hairspray blasted girlfriend
(Reese Witherspoon). But as the story progresses, Batemanís obsession with perfection
escalates out of control, and his sadistic desires begin to creep through his outwardly
The interesting thing is that as Batemanís grip on sanity diminishes we are not
ostracised from the film. Having read the book, I was expecting an aversion to the
violence depicted but this didnít happen. Not because the film isnít violent -
it is, but because the violence is almost funny. Certainly some scenes are set up as a
satire; Bateman running naked through a hallway covered in blood, grinningly wielding a
chainsaw is not meant to be horrifying.
The transfer to DVD is superb, the picture is sharp and detailed throughout. Both the
music and the dialogue are well recorded, with no noticeable distortion. The soundtrack is
excellent in Dolby 5.1; all the 80s classics are there including Robert Palmerís
Simply Irresistible and Whitney Houstonís The Greatest Love of All. The music plays a
major role in identifying Batemanís psyche; when he starts spouting the virtues of
Phil Collinís solo career versus his performance in Genesis, you just know that
danger is imminent.
The Behind the Scenes featurette is disappointingly vague, considering how much could
have been explored and discussed. The cast and crew talk briefly about the controversy
associated with the novel and film, but the perception of author Bret Easton Ellis would
have been most interesting. Sadly, his thoughts on the movie are not presented.
The additional features add very little, but the quality of this sharp, aggressive and
highly entertaining film make it well worth a look."
Published April 12, 2001