American Psycho

Afitap Ada Ergün
Staff Writer

Although released two decades ago, American Psycho (2000) is now disturbingly more relevant than ever. This film is a black-comedy psychological thriller based on Bret Easton Ellis’ novel of the same name. Although a modern cult classic now, it was rejected by Hollywood Studios six times! Perhaps director Mary Harron’s dark social commentary hit too close to home… The blockbuster pokes fun at America’s greatest dream by showing the viewer its worst nightmare: materialism, misogyny, and bloodlust.

The protagonist, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), is an investment banker by day and a psychotic killer by night. His bloodlust, of course, doesn’t take away from his charms or success. Other than his slight ‘quirk’, Patrick Bateman is perfect. Similar to Fitzgerald’s Gatsby, his skillfully crafted appearance is only an illusion. However, in Bateman’s case it is not to impress a girl but rather to hide his “cold gaze”.

Bateman’s entire social circle conforms to the concept of the ideal American male. They all wear Valentino Couture suits and Oliver Peoples glasses in their desperate attempts to show off their wealth. In a world where identities melt into each other, Bateman wants to be seen.

When his homicidal behaviour becomes impossible to avoid, Bateman confesses to about twenty murders. Strangely enough, no one takes him seriously, including his own lawyer. This is either because his socialite friends are simply too self-oriented to even listen to what he has to say or because they think he is kidding. Whatever he does is inconsequential because he belongs to the glorified idea of the dandified American male.

This film is a must-watch for those not bothered by nudity or blood. Although intended as a social commentary of the late 20th century, it is almost more applicable to the internet era, with narcissistic influencers, do we even have room for individuality?

Originally Published on Vol.50 Issue 02 on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

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