Quick Plot Summary
Why the MPAA Rating
Main Cast Members
Who Should See This Movie
Tips for Parents
…. April 7, 2000
…. 97 min.
…. Mary Harron
…. Chris Hanley
…. Mary Harron
…. Lion’s Gate Films
MAIN CAST MEMBERS:
…. Patrick Bateman
…. Donald Kimball
…. Craig McDermott
…. Paul Allen
…. David Van Patten
QUICK PLOT SUMMARY:
Horror/Thriller – A rich corporate exec with a morbid way of dealing with jealousy and materialistic envy turns into an uncontrollable psychopath.
AS A DATE MOVIE
Maybe -Those who find themselves watching this film alongside someone they are dating for the first time might feel the need to slip out of the theatre, run home and hide under the covers just in case the one they’re with is psycho, too. Daters who enjoy seeing slasher films together will really like American Psycho.
Probably OK -If the gals’ idea of a good movie is one without blood and guts, then this one should be avoided. If the ladies enjoy hot, sexy scenes with a gorgeous naked guy, and don’t mind the butcher scenes don’t walk�RUN to see American Psycho.
Great Bet -A male fantasy in every aspect. Wealth, prestige, pornography and chainsaws!
Poor Bet -Graphic violence, nudity, drugs, sex and profane language make this one off limits to the kids.
Maybe -The entertainment value aside, this film is based on a novel by one of America’s favorite contemporary writers of the 20th Century. However unpleasant, parents might have to face the fact their teens might need to see it for school. Or maybe they will just tell them that to get permission!
Great Bet -Some Gen Xers are still having a love affair with the 80s era, throwing 80s parties, going to 80s nightclubs and dyeing their hair odd colors (now to avoid the coming of gray hair, as opposed to just being trendy!). American Psycho speaks to this generation, giving them the culture they love and the violence they need, to feel something other than beautifully sad.
Great Bet -Boomers are the group probably the most familiar with Bret Easton Ellis’ writing. Besides seeing the film simply to compare it to the book, Boomers will appreciate the winner-take-all attitude of the executives as well as admire their Armani suits. Corporate businessmen in need of a method of venting might enjoy the violence in American Psycho a little more than they probably should.
Probably OK -Pretty graphic to show Grandma, but Gramps might be able to handle it, if he was in the war or if he was a surgeon or mortician! Mature audiences who appreciate slasher films however, will really like American Psycho.
Great Bet -Intellectuals will never finish the discussion that will stem from seeing this movie. American Psycho leaves much open for debate, in fact, an entire university course could be dedicated to understanding its social implications.
WHAT PARENTS SHOULD CONSIDER BEFORE THEIR CHILDREN SEE THIS MOVIE:
(click on each category for more detailed information)
Sex and Nudity
Extreme – talk of stabbing; a man is stabbed in alleyway three times; a dog is stomped to death; a man is chopped to bits with an axe; Texas Chainsaw Massacre can be seen on television in background; someone is injured with surgical tools; several implied murders; body parts, heads and limbs are shown; a nailgun is pointed at the head of an unknowing guest; one woman is murdered under the sheets; another woman is killed with a chainsaw; a woman is blown away with a gun; several cops and security guards are shot down; a car explodes.
Extreme – a man urinates, seen from behind in his underwear; a man is nude in the shower; sexual abuse on the job; pornography can be seen on television in the background; a man is nude in tanning bed; a couple kiss; talk of homosexuality; prostitututes nude and forced into various sexual scenarios by a nude man; a minor gay moment almost happens in a men’s bathroom; sex between a man and his girlfriend; two women make out semi-nude on a couch; a man and two women have sex; a nude man with blood all over chases a woman.
Extreme – 25 F-Words, 6 SH-Words, 1 damn, 7 B-Words, several derogatory references towards deity, sexual orientation and body parts.
Extreme -A dry cleaner employee is threatened; a man is stabbed in alleyway three times; a dog is stomped to death; a waiter is threatened; prostitutes are hired into a scene they are unsure of; a man is snuck up on while urinating; a nailgun is pointed at the head of an unknowing guest; a woman runs from a murder scene, chased by a nude, bloody man with a chainsaw; a man kills everyone in his way as he tries to escape police.
Extreme – Talk of stabbing; sexual abuse on the job; prescription drug abuse; drinking, smoking; fraud; murder; harrassing street vagrants; animal cruelty; being rude to waiters; joking about murder; false identity; breaking and entering; theft; talk of cocaine use; prostitution; cocaine use shown; refrigerating body parts; a drink is laced with an unidentified substance; more animal cruelty; a mad spree of killing in the streets; snooping in the boss’ desk; ignoring a confession of murder.
– She is no stranger to social issues and cultural trends. Mary Harron made her directorial debut with the film I Shot Andy Warhol, plus was one of the first American journalists to interview punk legends The Sex Pistols when they caught fire in the 1970s. Looking back at the 70s, a decade of recession and Jimmy Carter seems to have paved the way for the excessive 80s, a scene of new wave music, promiscuous sex and cocaine introduced to us years ago in a movie based on Bret Easton Ellis’successful novel Less Than Zero. Besides showing moviegoers a side of Robert Downey Jr. they had never seen before, the film offered a social commentary on how the fast life can get out of control and become all consuming to those caught up in it. American Psycho picks up where Less Than Zero would not have dared to go. Patrick Bateman is an animal of the 80s who didn’t fall under the weight of excessiveness. On the contrary, the higher he climbs the social ladder, the more untouchable he seems to become�at least in his own mind. Ellis’ American Psycho is a dark, disturbing, brutally honest and violently real piece of fiction. Mary Harron’s depiction of Ellis’ story brings to life the violent images in a way I had not imagined possible.
Christian Bale is phenomenal as the cold, unfeeling, egocentric Patrick Bateman. Anal retentive, obsessive-compulsive, incredibly vain and extremely wealthy, Patrick enjoys some rather unorthodox hobbies beyond the basic dining with friends that involve nice shiny axes, nail guns, chainsaws and surgical tools. Dining with associates seems to hold a close second in Patrick’s list of daily priorities, providing it’s at the most exclusive hot spot in town. Patrick and his wealthy pals throw around enormous hordes of cash as they enjoy being seen in restaurants where reservations are the most difficult to aquire. Someone once said a little healthy competition never hurt anyone, but the simmering, unspoken rivalry between associates definitely seems to lend to the mindset that eventually consumes Patrick Bateman completely. One thing is certain�this reviewer will forever think twice now of someone who departs with the excuse they have video tapes to return!
An entire thesis could be written about the social commentary of American Psycho, but I will spare you the college theories and get right to the point. The film itself truly delivers as a thrilling, hardcore ride into the mind of a self-absorbed killer. His behavior is unacceptable, yet we can’t help but watch with sick fascination as he kills. Typical to the person who rubbernecks at the scene of a fatal accident, American Psycho feeds on that same curiosity. We can’t help but look, no matter how awful it might be.
A tight production, terrific plot, and an ending that can be taken a number of ways�now that’s my idea of a great movie. The violence is shocking, but a necessary element. Scenes change drastically, without too much foreshadowing. Finally, a film that surpised me! Suddenly a woman is running for her life from a man with a chainsaw when only moments before she was in his arms. Packed with unexpected thrills, dark comic moments we should all be ashamed we enjoy, some really great designer wear, and more 80s music than I’d care to listen to, American Psycho is definitely an E ticket ride and an Oscar contender not to be missed.
Children’s Value Rating
– Not a film for children