American Psycho, a great movie with even better aesthetics.

A theatrical poster made for the thriller "American Psycho".

A theatrical poster made for the thriller “American Psycho”.

American Psycho is a 2000 American Cult Drama film that was based on a novel with the same name  written by Bret Easton Ellis. The movie was directed by Mary Harron, and was debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in April of 2000.

The movie is  about a wealthy investment banker named Patrick Bateman that is living in Manhattan in the late 1980’s. Bateman who was played by Christian Bale, has a life that revolves around work, dining at trendy New York restaurants, keeping up his appearance with his fiancee Evelyn, and his shallow group of friends, whom most of them he actually dislikes.

Later in the movie, we learn that Bateman secretly becomes a serial killer when he becomes jealous of Paul Allen, who is an acquaintance of Bateman’s in the movie. Bateman first kills a homeless man and his dog when he becomes jealous of Allen and his superiority over Bateman. Later, Bateman lures Paul into his apartment and kills him with an axe, while listening to the song “Hip to be Square” by Huey Lewis and the News. Bateman then send a suitcase to the airport, and tells people that Allen had to go to London for a business trip. Bateman then has to deal with the questioning of detective Donald Kimball, who has been assigned to ask for any leads for the missing Paul Allen. Bateman begins lying to Kimball, telling him that he hasn’t seen Paul Allen and that if any new news comes up he would let the detective know.

Later in the movie, Bateman ends up killing prostitutes and models who he originally meets with to have sexual intercourse with. As Bateman’s craziness continues in the movie,  he later kills an older woman he meets at an ATM, and eventually shoots a bunch of cop cars’ gas tanks during a chase which causes the cars to blow up.

Bateman then enters an office building that he mistakes for his own and calls his lawyer Harold, whom he confesses in a voicemail that he is Patrick Bateman and that he is a serial killer. At this time, his secretary Jean finds a notebook in Bateman’s office,  filled with pictures of murder and rape.

Bateman then sees his lawyer at a restaurant, and confesses to him that he is a serial killer and that he wants to be turned into the authorities. Harold mistakes Bateman for another one of his colleagues named Davis, and laughs at the confessions Bateman makes. He also tells Bateman that he had just had dinner with Paul Allen in London only 10 days ago, so that murder of Allen couldn’t have happened. The movie ends, with Bateman realizing that he will not get the punishment he deserves and that he will continue to conflict his pain on other victims.

This movie’s aesthetics are superbly done, starting with color scheme used for Bateman and his activities he does. Bateman in the beginning of the movie is always shown during daylight and bright colors such as white, tan, and yellow. He wears a lot of the same color suits when he is at work, however he is made out to be a very sophisticated individual. Bateman later in the movie is given a lot of darker colors, such as black, grey, and dark blue and I think that resembles the murders that he commits later in the movie.

The camera shows a lot of angles in the movie especially during the sex scenes. During these scenes, the camera is shown tilted upwards towards Bateman to show his “superiority” over the prostitutes that he pays for sex. Also, during the “chase” scene of one of his paid prostitutes, the camera is shown from above when Bateman drops his chainsaw to kill the prostitute as she tries to escape from Bateman. I feel that both the colors and camera angles help show the personality of Bateman and how he changes throughout the movie. In the beginning, Bateman is portrayed as a sophisticated entrepreneur of a man, but when he gets involved with murdering, he is then shown as a bully of some-sort.

Here is an interview I found on Indiewire.com that was done with director Mary Harron back in 2000 on American Psycho when she was nine-months pregnant. I hope you enjoy it! http://www.indiewire.com/article/decade_mary_harron_on_american_psycho

I hope you enjoyed my review on American Psycho and my thoughts on the aesthetics as well as the background on the plot of the movie as well. Thanks for reading!
-LH

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