CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 18
  • Drama, Thriller
  • 2000
  • 101 mins

American Psycho

Film4 American Psycho

Synopsis

Mary Harron ably transforms Brett Easton Ellis' disgusting satire into an amusing, broad black comedy.

About

Director Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol) seems to press all the right buttons for this film based on Easton Ellis's fabulous but genuinely horrifying book.

Briton Christian Bale is perfectly cast as Patrick Bateman, the titular anti-hero, a 1980s Wall Street yuppie whose self-obsession rings painfully true. He's exquistely dressed and buffed to perfection, his appearance representing his values. Well, superficially. When he dons an apron and selects a large kitchen knife his inner identity comes to the fore.

Where the novel was exquisitely sick, the film version necessarily skips over Bateman's more creative ways of dispatching his victims, and his fantasies. Arguably, this glosses over Ellis' finer points. Harron, who also co-scripted with Guinevere Turner, instead incorporates a fine element of slapstick in lieu of Ellis' more literal stomanch-churning descriptions (so no face-drilling; instead we're treated to the sight of Bale chasing a victim with a chainsaw). Plus, there's the running joke of Bateman admitting to his proclivities in conversation - but as everyone is equally self obsessed, they don't listen and no one hears ("I'm into murders and executions" he declares of his professional concerns).

A glimpse of the book's more elaborate satire also shines, though. Bateman's lecture on the superiority of Genesis with Phil Collins as opposed to Peter Gabriel is enough to make anyone scream in absolute terror.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Jared Leto, Samantha Mathis, Matt Ross, Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Josh Lucas
  • Director: Mary Harron
  • Screen Writer: Mary Harron, Guinevere Turner
  • Writer (Story): Bret Easton Ellis
  • Producer: Chris Hanley, Edward R Pressman, Christian Halsey Saloman
  • Photographer: Andrzej Sekula
  • Composer: John Cale

In a nutshell

A brave adaptation of a bracing book.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 Stone

    Stone

    Robert De Niro, Ed Norton and Milla Jovovich star in this drama thriller about a convicted arsonist trying to manipulate a parole officer with the help of his beautiful wife

  • Film4 Pusher

    Pusher

    Nicolas Winding Refn's Danish crime thriller is given a British makeover starring Richard Coyle and Agyness Deyn

    On Film4: 27 Feb 10:45PM

  • Film4 Men In Black 3

    Men In Black 3 on Film4

    When Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) is killed in the past by a time-travelling villain, Agent J (Will Smith) travels back to 1969 to save him, and teams up with a younger version of Agent K (Josh Brolin) on Film4

  • Film4 Serenity

    Science-Fiction Season on Film4

    The future starts here! Film4's 2015 season of science fiction features classics of the genre, old and new

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Postcard from Sundance

    Dark Horse director Louise Osmond on visiting Sundance for the first time, where her film premiered to critical acclaim and won the Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary. [caption id="attachme

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Film4 signs development deal with Jonathan Glazer

    Film4 has announced a development deal with Under The Skin director Jonathan Glazer, continuing its longstanding relationship with the acclaimed British filmmaker. David Kosse, Director of Film4, s

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share