American Psycho (2000) Dir. Mary Harron – 16th Sept at QFT Belfast
Who’s in it? Christian Bale, Reese Witherspoon, Chloe Sevigny, Willem Defoe
What’s it about? Before Christian Bale was Batman, he was Bateman. Before he had “Academy Award Winner” after his name the man who would be everybody’s favourite all-american anti-hero was some people’s favourite American Psycho. Mary Harron’s dark and disturbing sicko-chic shocker is a salacious study of 80s high society psychosis with a cruelly comic satiric streak. Follow Bale’s mesmerising and repulsive yuppie on a downward spiral of sociopathy and serial killing. But what’s real and what’s just a frightening figment of the slick-suited stock jockey’s maladjusted imagination? Either way you’ll need a strong stomach to find out.
Memorable Moments? Bale’s Bateman waxing encyclopaedic about the rise and fall of 80s pop sensation Huey Lewis and the News – while preparing oh so matter-of-factly to murder an unsuspecting female colleague in cold blood while she innocently sips champagne in his living room – is unsettling on so many levels and gave us a tantalising, if stomach churning, taste of Bale’s considerable charisma.
Look Who’s Talking: ‘It’s hard to summon up enthusiasm for a performance so rooted in bloody banality. I mean, as Patrick, Bale’s most emotionally pressing dilemma is: Chainsaw or butcher knife?’ – Desson Thompson, Washington Post
Like that? Try this: Martin Scorcese’s signature piece Taxi Driver (1976) subverts the anti-hero standard of an ordinary joe doing his bit for the common good by questioning the supposed goodness of common people. DeNiro worked as a Taxi Driver in New York’s most unsavoury neighbourhoods in preparation for the role and his aunthenticity as crazed sociopath Travis Bickle is etched into every frame. Interestingly enough his famous “you talking to me” line was never in the script and was improvised on the spot.
Trivia Pursuit: The single biggest expense for Harron during filming was purchasing the rights to some of the songs used in key scenes, most notably Hip to be Square by Huey Lewis and the News.