American Psycho

Directed by Mary Harron
Starring: Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Reese Witherspoon, Samantha Mathis, ChloŽ Sevigny.
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, sexuality, drug use and language.

Review by Lauren Snyder <>
April 19, 2000

I like Christian Bale. I've liked him since way back, before I even knew who he was. I've seen him in Newsies and Swing Kids, I've seen him in Empire of the Sun (his first film), and recently I've seen him in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Velvet Goldmine and Metroland, where he gave solid performances in movies not entirely deserving of him.

American Psycho is Bale's first adult starring vehicle, and he pulls off a performance that no other 26-year-old actor today could. As Patrick Bateman, he is so cold, so shallow, and yet so inexplicably charming in this portrait of an 80's yuppie already gone bad who is now going worse. Without him, this film, which has an interesting storyline but not an entirely thrilling denouement, would not be all that memorable.

The rest of the cast is also good, playing believable but very secondary characters. Indeed, the audience isn't really supposed to connect to these people, as we see the world through Bateman's eyes. The scenery of American Psycho is rife with details, and they are both effective in placing this movie in the New York of 15 years ago, as well as providing chuckles to those of us who recognise the "historical references". And oh, those songs that he plays -- Genesis, Huey Lewis and the News, Whitney Houston! Such a lovely contradiction that this monstrous man talks at length about his affinity for "The Greatest Love of All".

This film was worth the price of admission. Fine performances, fine satire, and lots of fine shots of a very fit and mostly undressed Christian Bale.

Ratings Note: This film contains nudity, sexual situations and mostly off-screen violence. It also includes violence and the threat of violence to poor, defenseless stray animals. Viewers are cautioned.

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American Psycho (2000)

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American Psycho (2000) -- VHS
American Psycho (2000) (R-rated Version) -- DVD
American Psycho (2000) (Unrated Version) -- DVD
American Psycho, a novel by Bret Easton Ellis -- Paperback
American Psycho: Music From The Controversial Motion Picture -- Compact Disc Home
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