Monday, November 30, 2009

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

American Psycho - Get Disturbed . .

Well, there are a lot of psychotic movies all over Hollywood. In those movies, we see a character either a complete psycho, going on a killing spree, and getting killed at the end by the protogonoist. Or, we see the character getting psychotic at certain times, experiencing vioient mood swings (these characters usually have a pathetic story to tell in hteir flashbacks) and they will be supported by the female lead in the movie so that the disorder gets eradicated totally or they succoumb to it. But, 'American Psycho' is different. At least, to a certain extent.

American Psycho is adopted from the novel of the same name which was released in 1991, authored by Bret Easton Ellis. The novel sparked critical acclaim and controversies, due to the violence and sexual content it contained, and after many attempts for a screenplay, the one by Mary Harron (co-written by Guinevere Turner) was chosen, and Mary Harren herself directed the film. It was released in 2000.

The story is recounted by Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), a Vice President of a Wall street company (Pierce & Pierce), a company which specializes in mergers & Acquisitions. He casually narrates his everyday activities to the audience. We see him discussing with his colleagues, over official things and etiquttes, doing rigerous work-outs, going to high class restaurants, drinking in pubs... In short, the high styled life of an executive. When we begin to raise a question about the casualness of these incidents, the story begins to take a blunt turn.

While Bateman is showing his hi-style visiting card which he got printed newly to his colleagues, they too show their cards one by one to him, of which some are more stylish than his own card, including one by Paul Allen, a fellow hi-fi executive. We see Bateman slowly becoming rigid with contempt, and he starts sweating. He leaves the place.

That night, Bateman talks to a beggar in a dark ally. He woos him by sounding like he will get a job for the beggar. Just when the beggar begins to than him, Bateman stabs the beggar kills him along with brutally tramping over his dog. He then walks casually away.

Bateman then talks to Paul Allen, who mistakes him for another executive, named Marcus Halberstorm (this is a very important point in the film). They both eat out, and then Bateman brings a drunk Paul Allen to his apartment. While casually talking about an album ('Huey Lewis and the news') and mentioning about the proffessionalism and the humor in those songs to a bamboozled Paul Allen, Bateman picks up a big, sharp axe, drinks his daily dosage of a pill, and
moonwalks behind Paul Allen, addresses him, and while he turns. . . . . . . .


After disposing the body, Bateman registers a message in Paul Allen's answering machine in his cozy, cosly apartment (more costlier than his own), that he is traveling to London on a trip, and he will be back after some days. He also picks up a few suits and dress and leaves.

After a few days, Bateman is approached by a detective ('Body of evidence' fame Willem Dafoe), who questions Bateman about the sudden disappearence of Paul Allen. He asks Bateman about his whereabouts during the night of Paul Allen's disappearence , for which Bateman is unable to answer. The detective says they will meet up again in a week for lunch, and by that time, he needs the answer.

The next day, we see Bateman rigorously working out, and that night, he picks up a prostitute, along with another one. He wants them to do a 'threesome', and while doing so, he videotapes it (some dialogues and clippings in this scene got cut during the release. They were there in the DVD - but nothing very 'exiting', though (??!!)). The prostitutes ask ateman if they can leave, but he says it ain't over yet. After a while, we see the prostitutes hurrying out.

Bateman, then is again disturbed by his colleague Carruthers, who gets a new visiting card for him. With the intention of killing him, Bateman followes Carruthers to the rest room, and when he is about to lay his hands on Carruther's neck, he turns, mistakes Bateman for a gay, and tells him that he too wanted it to happen. Bateman is taken aback, and runs away.

Bateman asks his secretary for dinner the next day, and she is happy. He takes her to his apartment, and as usual, plays her some music, and while he is about to drive a nail on her head, the phone rings, and it's the girl whom he is dating. He asks his secretary to leave, as he says he is afraid he might hurt her.

Bateman again picks up the same prostitute (she initially refuses, saying she had to make a stitch, after their last meeting), and a model friend of his, and this time, takes them to Paul Allen's apartment. After their threesome, the while the prostitute tries to whisk away, she sees Bateman biting the model's vagina, and there is blood all over. A naked Bateman chases the prostitute (she sees two naked dead bodies stacked in a room) and finally, is able to kill her by dropping his chainsaw on her from the top floor.

He then talks to his date (Reese witherspoon) the next day, tells her it's all over between them as his need to engage in homicidal behaviour is going in an uncontrollable manner, and he doesn't know anyother way to service his needs (It is to be noted that Bateman, many times, admits to people around that he is in to murders & executions, all the way telling the truth, but they always gets misunderstood like he is talking about mergers & acquisitions).

She thinks that he has lost interest in her, and Bateman leaves a crying Evelyn. That night, while Bateman is taking money from the ATM, it appears to him in the ATM screen to feed a stray cat in to the machine. While he lifts the cat and tries to insert it in to the machine, a lady questions him, and he shoots her.

Then starts a spree of incidetns which look like a disaster movie from the eightees. He goes on a shooting and killing spree, and kills everyone who come in his way. A police vehicle gets blasted out, and Bateman is unable to believe himself. He goes to his office, calls his lawyer, and confesses all of his killings so far. He says he has killed 20, or may be 40 people so far, including Paul Allen.

The next day, we see Bateman casually working out. He dresses up, goes to Paul Allen's apartment where he has stacked many of the dead bodies. He wears a mask around his nose, and slowly enters in to the apartment.

From this point on, the story takes a turn, and it cannot be mentioned here, just for the reason that it will spoil the fun. Hence, see it for yourselves what happens next.

American Psycho is a complex film, which talks vividly about the complexities in the mind of Bateman. He is narcisstic to the core, enjoys portraying himself, and is unable to withstand the pressure when someone else steals the show when he is around. He also has the ago of a sussessful exacutive, and is proud to boast off his status to everyone, even when they are uninterested. It appears that he kills people just for the sake of doing it, and doesn't feel towards the killings at all.

At the end of the movie, we get to know about what happens to Bateman. It is something which Bateman has to accept, something which he says to his date Evelyn - his need to engage in homicidal behaviour is going in an uncontrollable manner. He has no exit.

For the first time, this movie might disappoint the viewer, by the sheer surrialistic nature, towards the end. We, as an sudience, always expect some dramatic turn towards the end of a psychotic thriller (like silence of the lambs, or seven, or watever). The way this movie ends might even irritate the audience, for the first time. I suggest seeing the movie again, for, there are many minute clues and scenes all over the movie which tells us about the end.

Christian Bale as Bateman, is very good. I learnt that he worked out three hours a day, to get the tonned up physique of bateman in the film. The way he has acted is par excellence, and in some scenes, during his close-ups, it reminded of Vikram's face in Anniyan (only the face, mind it). Especially, watch his expressions and the way he talks to his lawyer whe nhe confesses his murders, over the phone. It's a sheer professional performance.

I also suggest seeing the movie with the director's commentary, as it will set the rope straight, solving some of the mysteries in the film.

Overall, watch American Psycho with an unbiased mind, and get disturbed.

Watch the trailer here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2012 - Were we Warned ?

Imagine an apocalypse happening right in front of our eyes. We are a part of it, and we are gonna be consummated by it. What will it look like? How will it be? The answer is 2012.

When we look at the director Roland Emmerich's previous attempts, he tends to be a director who believes in disasters, in general. All of the movies which made him famous, were basically disaster-oriented ones. Take for an example Independence day, or Godzilla, or Universal Soldier, or the most recent ones, The day after tomorrow or 10,000 BC. He directed a good drama , The Patriot, in the midst of these disaster oriented films. I can remember Madhan interviewing Roland Emmerich during the release of Godzilla in Philippines, and the interview came in Vikadan. In that interview, Emmerich had mentioned that he loves destroying New York with all those disaster movies he films, and has expressed a child-like joy in doing so.

Now, I saw 'The day after tomorrow' keeping in mind these facts, and it did disappoint me. That movie was a total goner, and it was boring, without a proper story. Hence, when 2012 was announced, I vowed to myself I'm not gonna see this film, as it will be an extension of the day after tomorrow. But, when I saw the trailer for the first time, it impressed me. All those CG scenes with huge earthquakes and tsunamis, were realistic, and so I decided to give it a try.

Off we went to this film last Saturday in Bangalore.

The movie begins in the year 2009 with Adrian Helmsley, an American scientist coming to India to meet his friend satnam (now, this is one name I see frequently in American movies and books!), who has made a discovery that the minute particles called neutrinos, which emanated from the sun by means of a huge solar flare (solar flares are nothing but large flares of energy from the sun's surface which are caused by the sudden explosions on the sun's surface. The length of a solar flame equals to thousands of kilometers), have reached earth. It's a common thing for these neutrinos to reach earth, but then, in his discovery, these neutrinos have caused the earth's core to heat up, there by resulting in a chain reaction of events, which will end in the world getting destroyed. And, it has already started to happen. The scientist Adrian Helmsley travels to US and he informs about the impending danger to all the authorities.

It's 2010 now, and all the leaders of the G8 countries are informed about the danger. A plan is evolved, which is about constructing huge ships which can contain four hunderd-thousand people inside them, so that they act as an arc (remember Noa's arc ?), and these people can be saved to kickstart a new world, after the disaster. This is meant for rich people only, and it involved billions of dollars.

The year is 2012, and we see Jackson Curtis (John Cusack), a literaturist, whose books sell only for a few hunderd copies, decides to take his children to a trip to yellow stone national park. His ex-wife Kate(Amenda Peet) lives with her boyfriend. Jack's son Noah hates him, and he likes his mother's boyfriend.

At the park, there is a lot of military activity around, and Jack meets Charlie Frost, who runs a radio show. Frost tells Jack that the park will be the center of a giant volcano very soon, and he advices Jack to return. Jack doesn't believe Frost, but tends to believe everything when he hears about an earthquake at California, from his ex-wife. Frost had already told Jack that he knows about the government's huge arc building process, and he also has a map. Now, Jack returns, takes his ex-wife, her boyfriend and the kids back to yellow stone to get the map from Frost. There starts the adrenaline rush.

Jack hires a private aeroplane to safeguard his family, and is able to save his family, flying away from an earthquake hit Californis, which gets completely destroyed.

By the time Jack reaches yellow stone, the volcano starts to erupt, and he is able to recover the map, when the Volcano starts to engulf the area. Jack & family successfully escape (!!) from the volcano too, and through the map, they travel to China, to reach the place of the arcs. What happens during their journey? Did they reach China? Did the world got destroyed? The questions are answered in the movie.

As usual, this is an Emmerich film which you gotta see, without asking questions. You gotta remove your brain, place it outside the theatre and then should see the film. I mean, what else can you expect from an Emmerich film?

I liked the film. The graphics are exceptionally good (except for a few scenes which clearly gives us the impression of the 'Partha mudhal naale' song where they show the road at the background on a screen). This movie was definitely interesting to watch when compared with 'The day after tomorrow'. It's a huge adrenaline rush throughout.

There are a few cliched scenes, though. Like showing a huge structure getting destroyed (this time it's 'Jesus the redeemer' statue from Brazil), a monk looking at the huge trunami, the bad guy dying, the hero safeguarding his family through massive destruction-he flies his aeroplane amidst huge-collapsing buildings , without even getting a hair burnt, getting saved at the final moment, the hero's ex-wife's boyfriend getting killed (so that the hero can be united with his wife again), Everyone dis-believing the disaster theory from the hero until they actually see it, US government spearheading the 'safeguarding' mission (as if the other countries are like clowns), The US president getting portrayed as the 'I'll save everyone-I'll give-my-life' kinda angelic man, The guy who flies a huge plane without even knowing the basics of piloting . . etc etc..

Overall, this a time pass film. Go to the theatre and experience the world getting destroyed.

PS:- The one plus point of seeing this film, was that, I happened to see the trailer of 'Avatar' a James Cameron flick-the return of Cameron after Titanic. It was excellent, to say the least, and I'm looking forward to see Avatar in Dec.

See the trailer here.

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