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.


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