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

In a nutshell

A brave adaptation of a bracing book.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 Wish I Was Here

    Wish I Was Here

    Zach Braff writes, directs and stars in his belated second feature about a man who begins to re-examine the relationships in his life after his father falls ill

  • Film4 A Walk Among The Tombstones

    A Walk Among the Tombstones

    Ex-New York cop turned unlicensed private detective Matt Scudder (Liam Neeson) hunts down two ruthless kidnappers, who target the wives of mid-level drug dealers with ready cash

  • Film4 Neighbouring Sounds

    Neighbouring Sounds on Film4

    Life in a middle-class Brazilian neighbourhood changes upon the arrival of an independent private security firm in Kleber Mendonca Fliho's assured debut on Film4

  • Film4 Ferris Bueller's Day Off

    Wheels In Motion Season On Film4

    It's a parade of motorcycles, trains and automobiles on Film4 as the Wheels In Motion Season gets rolling

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Joe Cunningham's 10 recommendations for LFF 14

    Unfortunately I haven¿t been jet setting around the world this year to the various exciting international film festivals, but that¿s what makes the London Film Festival¿s compilation approach to progr

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Michael Leader's 11 recommendations for LFF 2014

    One of the best things about the London Film Festival¿s smorgasbord approach to programming is that, amongst the world premieres and gala screenings, there¿s an eclectic collection of exciting films o

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Share