A wealthy New York investment banking executive, hides his alternate psychopathic ego as he delves deeper into his violent fantasies.
Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), a handsome young professional, lives a secret second life as a gruesome serial killer in this adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s 1991 novel, directed by Mary Harron.
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Perfectly appointed, strapped with business cards and prepared to deliver a passionate speech about the inarguable cultural impact of Huey Lewis and the News on a moment’s notice — so long as the plastic sheeting is already in place — Patrick Bateman is the Wall Street wolf no one wants to run into on a dark downtown street. But where Bret Easton Ellis’s novel scandalized literary circles with its misogynistic violence, Mary Harron’s feature film version (which she wrote with Go Fish’s Guinevere Turner) tweaks the narrative just enough to show us how Christian Bale’s peacocking Patrick isn’t nearly as powerful as his voiceover insists he is. That lens has grown even more resonant in the decades since the film’s release, but rewatching American Psycho now, it’s fascinating to see which cast members are clearly in on Harron’s joke — Bale, Chloë Sevigny, and Justin Theroux, absolutely are — and which ones might not be.
Content advisory: mention of sexual assault; violence, nudity, coarse language, sexual content