Coke, elegance and slaughter are just the beginning of this psychological horror black comedy. Originally written by Bret Easton Ellis in 1991, the heinous and mesmerizing novel was transformed into film by director Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol) in 2000 and is being screened at 5th Avenue Cinema beginning Nov. 29.
First off, I recommend not going if you are unable to handle blood, drugs, psychological warfare or dark comedy. However, if you are a fan of these things, then like me you will be constantly chuckling throughout the entire film.
American Psycho stars Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, the sexy psychopathic Wall Street clone who is obsessed with greed, status and domination. As soon as we are introduced to
Bateman, we cannot help but sympathize with him purely based on his attractiveness (well, at least for me anyway). Never mind his uncontrollable rage or intense statements that no one seems to hear—“I want to stab you to death, and then play around with your blood”—he’s dreamy!
Throughout the film, we are constantly forced to decipher if what is happening is reality or illusion. You would think people would react to (spoiler alert) a naked man running around with a chainsaw, but honestly, with the environment we witness, it is not hard to assume that the characters are just that dense.
The story is set in the late ‘80s, when cocaine, materialism and just plain raunchiness seemed to be at their peak. Bateman’s co-bondsmen seem to be just as self-absorbed and obsessed with climbing up the social ladder as he is, minus the 40-plus murders (or so we think).
Nothing about this film is easy to comprehend. The beauty of it is that every person is able to create their own ending. Is he a serial killer? Was it all in his head? Or is he just your average late-20s male trapped in society’s evil grasp? All of these could be right, or they could all be wrong. It’s frustrating yet liberating to let your mind roam free.
There are also so many mixed feelings about our anti-hero that the audience is unable to decipher whether they love or hate him. He is an egotistical maniac who is literally consumed by vanity and power—but let’s be real, who isn’t in this world?
Every character in this story represents the disgusting traits of our futile existence. The pointless chit-chat, the importance of knowing the most hip restaurant to go to and discussing who has the best ass in town. All of these are useless in our lives, yet they grip us by the necks and choke the life out of us. I think the most frightening thing about the film is not Bateman himself, but what he represents—us.
American Psycho is a revolutionary film that will wrap its arms around your brain and refuse to let go. It’s sexy, horrendous and hysterical. This is a must-see American classic, and I urge everyone to go. However, if you for some reason decide to opt-out, please read the book. The book is always better, right?
5th Avenue Cinema is free for Portland State students, $3 for other students and $4 general admission. Visit 5thavenuecinema.org for more information.