American Psycho

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

It seems the new trend in movies today is stick any noun or adverb after the word “American” and then…bingo, you have your movie title. Well, American Psycho goes way beyond that, as the title of the film is indeed very indicitave of the content of the movie. Originally, American Psycho was intended to be the stage for Leonardo DiCaprio after his huge success on the “Titanic”. Rumored to have a $20 million dollar pricetag involved, it was the movie to see. But things happen and Leonardo decided to do The Beach instead and a British actor by the name of Christian Bale was his replacement. American Psycho is based on the highly popular (and highly controversial) book by Easton Ellis. Though containing not nearly the amount of violence that was contained in the book, American Psycho is still violent, gory and will keep you thinking…just they way they want it!

We first meet Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) sitting over a dinner table with his friends. It seems that in 1987, it was all about where you ate among other things. In the heart of “yuppie-dom”, where you ate in Manhattan was just as important as what you wore, who you were seen with and what kind of car you drove. Typical, it seems, that dinners for four were “only” $570 and paid for with a Platinum Visa. Patrick, like all of his friends and business partners, was a product of Harvard and Harvard Business School, and it was no suprise that by the age of 27 he was most likely raking in $400-$500 thousand a year. It’s not long into the movie that we see a very evil side of Patrick. He walks around with his constant “cat ate the carary” smirk and ever-raised eyebrow and is self-described as “having all the characteristics of a human being, but without a single emotion.” Off the cuff remarks to waitresses saying he wants to dissect them and admitting that he’s really “into” murders and executions are of no consequence to him, as he never worries about anything…a conscience is something that he doesn’t have either. Patrick is engaged, but is fooling around with any woman he can get his hands on, and it’s not until that we see Patrick in his office that we see his true colors.

The thought of business cards is usually an afterthought, but to materialistic men who are as self-absorbed as Patrick and his friends, they constantly compare them with their all in common title of “Vice-President”. So enraged is Patrick by a fellow associate named Paul Allen, that after a night out, he takes him back to his place and in the midst of discussing a “Huey Lewis and the News” CD…kills him with an axe! This is what we have to get used to. Patrick kills at random for no reason whatsoever. Quoting and spurting out facts about serial killers, it almost seems like he wants to get caught…or at least noticed.

While American Psycho is an utterly stunning film, I just wish it lasted a bit longer. Christian Bale is terrific in the role and you would only know that he’s a British actor by watching the interview. He stays in character through the featurette that’s taking place off screen! Sporting an all star cast that includes William Defoe, Chloe Sevengty and Reese Witherspoon, American Psycho, in all of it’s sardonic wit, is a true statment on American society. If nothing else, it’s got a great soundtrack that features 5.1 mixes of Genesis, Huey Lewis and the News and Information Society (“I want to Know…what you’re thinking…tell me what’s on your mind”). An outstanding film.

Video: How does it look?

Keeping true to their form, Universal has released this in an anamorphic 2.35:1 image. Clearly, no pun intended, there is nothing wrong with this picture. No artifacting, no digital after-effects and no shimmering (even on those late 80’s shirts). This is a great looking picture and I don’t really know how else to put it.

Audio: How does it sound?

A Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is used and with great conviction. As mentioned above, this movie has a great soundtrack that includes Information Society, Genesis and Huey Lewis and the News among others and all of them sound great in the new sound mix. Dialogue is clean and free of distortion, and something that made me sit up and take notice was a club scene. Only in Fear, have I heard such a rich-sounding mix. While this may not be on the same par with Saving Private Ryan or Starship Troopers, this is a top notch soundtrack that will have your home theater working overtime.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Again, pardon the pun, but I would KILL for a commentary track on this! In true Universal form, they have included the standard trailer, cast bios and production notes, but have also included a short featurette. This is a five minute “Behind the Scenes” look at the making of the film and the “creme de la creme” is the interview with Christian Bale. You’d never know it, but he’s British! Not a bad offering from Universal, but they could have done a lot better with this title. Also, the reviewed copy was the “Unrated version” containing some deleted scenes that were cut from the theatrical release. We’ll try and have a rated version review up soon.

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