Directed by Mary Harron
Produced by Edward R. Pressman, Chris Hanley & Christian Halsey Solomon
Written by Mary Harron & Guinevere Turner
Photography by Andrezej Sekula
Edited by Andrew Marcus
Cast: Christian Bale, Williem Daffoe, Jared Leto, Chloe Sevigny & Reese Witherspoon
2000/104 mins/ Color/5.1 DD
2.35:1/English/US/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Lions Gate Films unrated DVD
Based on a novel published in 1991, AMERICAN PSYCHO is a darkly, funny and horrifying ride into the life, mind and crimes of a serial-killing Wall Street broker in such grisly, elaborate detail that it was abandoned by its original publisher, condemned by critics and feminists, and seriously damaged the reputation of LESS THAN ZERO writer Bret Easton Ellis, because of its graphic violence. Simon & Schuster had originally contracted for the rights, but the company stunned the publishing world by refusing to publish the manuscript Ellis delivered. Vintage Books, a division of Random House Inc., then picked it up.
The novel's depiction of violence against women was soon the subject of protests by the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women. Booksellers responded with caution; supporting the author's right of expression, they agreed to sell the book, but they also chose not to display it prominently.
For writer and director Mary Harron, AMERICAN PSYCHO is more of a black anti-male comedy than a movie against women. Upon writting the screenplay for the movie adaptation, Harron and Guinevere Turner decided that the graphic violence of the novel would be toned down and that none of it will be shown onscreen, the less the better. This way the audience could image things in their minds even worse that if they would appear on screen. The filming took place in Toronto Canada where there was lots of protests because of the subject of the book and that the book was found on the nightstand of notorious Canadian murderer Paul Bernardo! It is also important to note that at one point David Cronenberg and then Oliver Stone were to direct AMERICAN PSYCHO and most disturbing is the fact that Leonardo Dicaprio was once offered $20 millions to portrait the killer but refused since it would have hurt his image and decided to move on to another project, the awful THE BEACH.
Set in Wall street New York circa 1987, Patrick Bateman is a Wall Street broker to most of his "friends" but he also has another personality... he's a dark and senseless serial killer. Bateman is by far the purest representation of narcissism. He constantly talks about himself, takes way too much care of his body only for appearance, likes to look at himself in the mirror while making love. His life is centered around himself and himself only. Music is maybe the only important thing to him excluding himself. He loves talking about it, letting us know what he thinks of Phil Colins, Huey Lewis and the News, Whitney Houston. Along with killing people, music looks like its his only escape from his synthetic life. The people he frequents are pretty much like him to some extend. They pretty much all live a rather dull and plastic life. They spend hundreds of dollars on a single meal that would leave me starving for more. They represent the "higher class" of society. I guess we could say that for Patrick Bateman to kill is a way for him to get away from all of this.
AMERICAN PSYCHO is without a doubt one of the best and most complex horror film in recent memories. The film failed at the box office with only a mere $14 millions, still it made more than its budget but to see it failed didn't surprise me. The average moviegoer doesn't like it when he/she has to think during a film, when a film mentaly suggest them to use their intelligence, they rather watch another mindless boredom flick from Jerry (TOP GUN, THE ROCK, ARMAGEDDON) Bruckheimer.
I don't think that there's any way to do a complete review of AMERICAN PSYCHO, the film has so much different layers that it would be almost insane to try to do it but lets take a look at some very interesting bits; Judging from the ending, did or did not Patrick Bateman killed all those people or was it just in his mind? Bateman's lawyer said he that he actually had dinner with Paul (Jared Leto) Allen in London but according to Bateman he killed Paul Allen with an axe in his apartment! When Bateman drags the body of Paul Allen in a night bag, he passes by a security officer, there's a trail of blood on the floor but the security officer doesn't seem to notice! While chasing Christie with a chainsaw, he drops it down the stairway and it actually end up killing her! In his last killing spree, Bateman shoots a police car and it explodes (!) ... even Bateman seems surprise about it, is this part of his mind or not? He seems like all of this is begining to be a little surreal.
The DVD boost a very nice transfer. The film is presented in it's original 2.35:1 ratio. There is no signs of compression or artifacts whatsoever. The image is crystal clear and crisp, just look at Patrick's apartment where the whites and chromes are beautiful. Skin tones are beautifully rendered. A perfect image! Sound wise we get a very good English and French 5.1 Dolby Digital audio. The sound is loud and clear and makes good use of the 5.1 DD. The American DVD doesn't have a French 5.1 DD audio track.
Extra wise we get a interview with lead actor Christian Bale, it's about 12 minutes long. He talks about most of the aspects of the film and especially his character, Patrick Bateman. We also get a small Making of Featurette. There's the usual production notes, cast and filmmakers bios and theatrical trailer. The menu presentation is ok. There's no animation or background music. The film is separated in 18 chapters. There was no inlay card with my DVD which is a shame. The DVD comes in a keep case. It's a good DVD but a commentary track would have been great and to include an inlay card is would have make the overall package better.
AMERICAN PSYCHO was voted GOREZONE Best Horror Film of 2000 by the readers of my site and it was also my personal best horror film for 2000.
This Film Features:
Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©