Movie Magazine International

American Psycho

USA - 2000

Movie Review By Monica Sullivan

Do you remember John Dowell, the defective narrator of Ford Madox Ford's masterpiece, "The Good Soldier?" Surrounded by infidelity, madness, suicide & treachery, Dowell lived a simple life with quiet pleasures until he recognized the truth about his wife Florence & their best friends Edward & Leonora Ashburnham. Ford's satire of "the saddest story (Dowell) ever heard" is breathtaking in its skillful economy of language & deceptively straightforward style. As I perched on the floor in front of the first row of the packed AMC 1000 theatre watching the movie of Brett Easton Ellis' "American Psycho," my mind kept returning to Mr. Ford & the subtle touches he might have employed while telling the story of Patrick Bateman. Master Bateman, like Mr. Dowell, has a point of view in absolute conflict with reality. The movie I saw could easily be the violent fantasies of a 27-year-old wanker as he dozes in his dreary office & drearier fiat.

Since no one except avant garde buffs would watch a 100m movie like that, we see the "American Psycho" as he might appear if he existed in reality. Sufficient information is drawn in extremely broad detail to reveal that the "American Psycho" is indeed a legend in his own mind rather than an up-&-coming tabloid superstar. If we didn't mind the smoke-&-mirrors supplied by 1999's "The Sixth Sense," why would we mind the card trick played in this 2000 fairy tale about the long ago & far away 1980's? Still, just like in the 90's, 80's, 70's & 60's, I saw boyfriends explaining this movie afterwards to their incredulous girlfriends in the lobby. La plus ca meme, la plus change...The cast (Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Samantha Mathis, Chloe Sevigny & Cara Seymour) is first rate. Only Reese Witherspoon does an overdone turn that made me nostalgic for Madeleine Kahn in "Young Frankenstein." Mary Harron directs in workmanlike fashion & speaking of fashion (& accessories!) the numerous product placements here are sometimes more prominently credited than the crew members!

© 2000 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 4/12/00

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