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, Josh Lucas, Matt Ross, Samantha Mathis, Willem Dafoe, Christian Bale
  • Director: Mary Harron
  • Screen Writer: Guinevere Turner, Mary Harron
  • 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 Just Wright

    Just Wright

    Queen Latifah plays a physical therapist falling for Common's recovering basketball pro in this romantic comedy

    On Film4: 27 Jul 1:00PM

  • Film4 Grand Central

    Grand Central

    Gary (Tahar Rahim) falls into both a job and a love-triangle at a nuclear power plant, as he develops a powerful attraction to the fiancee (Léa Seydoux) of his new boss

  • Film4 Betty Blue

    Betty Blue on Film4

    Béatrice Dalle stars as the beautiful and unpredictable Betty Blue in Jean-Jacques Beineix's romantic drama on Film4

  • Film4 Sleepy Hollow

    Sleepy Hollow on Film4

    Johnny Depp stars in Tim Burton's spooky tale about a man named Ichabod Crane who is sent to investigate decapitations being attributed to the legendary Headless Horseman

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Share