American Psycho ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

For a film that is centred around murder and sexual violence, American Psycho is surprisingly engaging to watch. A large part of that is down to Bret Easton Ellis' brilliant book that the film is based on, but it's all strongly to do with Christian Bale's phenomenal performance as Patrick Bateman in this adaptation.

Although the character of Bateman should be immensely dislikeable, Ellis crafted his characteristics so well that we find ourselves almost condoning his behaviour, urging him to pursue his alter ego as a psychopathic murderer at times, with Bale taking on the role to become one of his most stand-out performances to date.

Full of shock and intrigue, although not half as gory as the book, the adaptation has a classic feel to it, using similar lines of dialogue to the book and with superb acting throughout.

A social satire that is relevant even today, Bateman's narration and lengthy monologues, focusing on the irrelevance of his everyday life, are read aloud by Bale perfectly. Contrasted against his brutal actions, as well, it's almost impossible not to want to crazily laugh along with him; it's so deliriously twisted that you can't help but be so drawn in by it.

Best of all, the twist at the end of the film can be interpreted in so many different ways that you will think differently about this film every time you watch it - sometimes seeing Bateman as so bored with his mundane life that he simply made everything up in his head, sometimes seeing it as Bateman being such a gutless character that nobody believed he could do such a thing, and other times seeing it as people just not caring enough, blurring everybody together because of how they all dress the same and work the same job, that it makes no difference if one of them accidentally goes missing.

As an adaptation, Harron makes excellent use of Ellis' book. Whilst the film is much more watered down (many of the scenes we wouldn't want to see on screen, anyway) compared to the vivid details of the book's sex scenes and descriptions of mutilation, the film captures the tone of the book perfectly.

The book does come across as more intellectual with the obsessive use of detail and descriptive narrations being even lengthier, sometimes spanning whole chapters just to describe a band's discography, but Harron always references the same qualities that she has left out from the book, which is a brilliant nod to Ellis' fans.