Continuing on with the theme of movies asking the question, “what is real” is a film that is not science-fiction but screws around with your perceptions nonetheless. That movie is American Psycho (2000), directed by Mary Harron and starring Christian Bale.
First, the IMDB synopsis.
Patrick Bateman is handsome, well educated and intelligent. He is twenty-seven and living his own American dream. He works by day on Wall Street, earning a fortune to complement the one he was born with. At night he descends into madness, as he experiments with fear and violence.
Set in the late 80s/early 90s, American Psycho (based on the novel written by Bret Easton Ellis) focuses on the then thriving yuppie culture to deliver a pointed attack on greed and selfish behavior, bringing it to a psychotic conclusion in protagonist Patrick Bateman (Bale in a star turn).
For the first three-quarters of the film, the narrative whizzes by sharply as we follow Bateman through his schizophrenic existence – investment banker by day, serial killer by night. As the plot thickens, it seems that Bateman might be exposed for the monster he is but inexplicably, all evidence of his life of crime seems to have vanished.
Did it all happen in his head only? That ambiguity is never clarified even as the film ends with Bateman’s blank stare… rather brilliant, I might add.
Bale is the main attraction here and the rest of the cast (Jared Leto, Reese Witherspoon) is rather incidental. Particularly amazing are the moments he actually recites detailed reviews of his favorite music i.e. Huey Lewis & the News, Genesis and Whitney Houston. Hilarious and creepy, all at once! Lovely!!
Not for queasy stomachs but if you love black comedy and can appreciate a little gore for what it is, then go for it…