American Psycho

American Psycho Image
Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 635 Ratings

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  • Summary: Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis and featuring the sounds of Huey Lewis and other classic early 80s gems, this satire set in 1980s Manhattan follows the dual life of Patrick Bateman (Bale), zealously materialistic and misogynisitc Wall Street executive by day, murdering sociopath by night.

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 35
  2. Negative: 5 out of 35
  1. A lean and mean horror comedy classic.
  2. Rolling Stone
    Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    90
    An uneven movie that nonetheless bristles with stinging wit and exerts a perverse fascination.
  3. 80
    The slick satire cleverly equates materialism, narcissism, misogyny, and classism with homicide, but you may laugh so loud at the protagonist that you won't be able to hear yourself laughing with him.
  4. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    70
    Nearly perfect for what it is.
  5. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    63
    A second-rate nightmare: the Reagan generation meets Leatherhead with flickers of brilliance drowned in blood and snobbery, a corpse dressed by Bloomingdale's.
  6. A standard-issue slasher movie, stylishly shot, but with little to distinguish it from a long line of "Psycho"-spawned gorefests.
  7. Most of American Psycho just sits there, looking at trouble, rather than looking for it - complacent, overjoyed in fact to exist at all.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 59 out of 73
  2. Negative: 2 out of 73
  1. Aug 1, 2012
    10
    11/10 would watch again.
    It's funny, I seriously just love watching people die. It legitimately turns me on, at least a bit. Good, good, good
    11/10 would watch again.
    It's funny, I seriously just love watching people die. It legitimately turns me on, at least a bit. Good, good, good movie...
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  2. Apr 4, 2016
    10
    'American Psycho': Murderer! Fiend! Cad! (But Well-Dressed)

    Watching "American Psycho" is like witnessing a bravura sleight-of-hand feat.
    'American Psycho': Murderer! Fiend! Cad! (But Well-Dressed)

    Watching "American Psycho" is like witnessing a bravura sleight-of-hand feat. In adapting Bret Easton Ellis's turgid, gory 1991 novel to the screen, the director Mary Harron has boiled a bloated stew of brand names and butchery into a lean and mean horror comedy classic. The transformation is so surprising that when the movie's over, it feels as if you've just seen a magician pull a dancing rabbit out of a top hat.

    Four years ago Ms. Harron's film "I Shot Andy Warhol" performed similar magic by creating credible facsimiles of Warhol and his motley entourage. "American Psycho," a more ambitious, far more confident film, salvages a novel widely loathed for its putative misogyny and gruesome torture scenes by removing its excess fat in a kind of cinematic liposuction. Except for a few wittily chosen lists, the book's numbing catalog of high-end consumer items has been drastically edited. Its murder rate has also plunged. The trimming demonstrates once again that less is often more. What remains of the story is a sleek, satirical, yuppie-era "Jekyll and Hyde" that blithely tap dances along the fault lines separating movie genres.

    At the heart of the film is a star-making performance by the handsome Welsh actor Christian Bale (adopting an impeccably snooty pseudo-preppie American accent) that softens the novel's portrait of a serial-killing Wall Street hotshot just enough to force us to identify with this ultimate narcissist. Mr. Bale's portrayal of 27-year-old Patrick Bateman, a budding master of the universe by day (he works in mergers and acquisitions, which he facetiously refers to as "murders and executions") and homicidal maniac by night, is alternately funny, blood-curdling and pathetic.

    As this character metamorphoses from preening, wolfish yuppie to chain-saw wielding maniac to whimpering crybaby, Mr. Bale makes us feel the underlying connections between these multiple personalities. One minute Mr. Bale's Patrick is a cowering corporate geek and self-described empty shell, the next an arrogant, name-dropping smoothie, the next a hysterical wimp unable to distinguish reality from fantasy.

    He's also a serial killer, or at least he is in his imagination. The movie plays adroitly with the notion that his violent spasms are merely the revenge fantasies of a repressed corporate toady. The fluidity with which Mr. Bale moves from one state of mind to the other makes for the kind of tour-de-force performance you'd expect from Sean Penn, another master of throwing tear-stained tantrums.

    From the opening credits, in which drops of blood are confused with red berry sauce drizzled on an exquisitely arranged plate of nouvelle cuisine, the movie establishes its insidious balance of humor and aestheticized gore. That sly confusion between the beautiful and the gruesome extends to the language of the screenplay by Ms. Harron and Guinevere Turner.

    Dinner specials are described by waiters in the tones of unctuous coroners announcing the results of autopsies.

    Some of the funniest speeches are Patrick's pompous lectures -- each a prelude to homicide -- on the 80's pop stalwarts Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, and Huey Lewis and the News.

    While the movie's interiors conform to late-80's styles of design and architecture, they, too, are eerily exaggerated. The severe black-and-white minimalism of Patrick's gadget-filled apartment has the feel of a high-rise morgue.

    The movie's sexual ethos is a bifurcated world of male monsters and their often shallow but still recognizably human girlfriends. Patrick and his Wall Street cronies are interchangeable reptilian pod people, soulless under their designer-label shells and supercilious smirks. (One running joke finds Patrick being continually confused with others, despite his wealth, status and miraculous instant entree to New York's priciest restaurants.)

    In one hilarious early scene, he and his colleagues compare their business cards (the texture of the paper and the quality of embossing) in a competitive game of show and tell that has a murderous undertone. Those colleagues, wittily embodied by Jared Leto, Justin Theroux, Matt Ross and Bill Sage, are the ne plus ultra in cocky, carnivorous sang-froid.

    Compared with these robotic cobras, the women are almost poignantly human. Reese Witherspoon,

    At the very least, "American Psycho" is a dazzling period satire. It's still too early to know what, if anything, it might foretell.
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  3. Apr 16, 2015
    10
    Wow just wow amazing movie hilarious and quotable i never get tired of it and Bales performance is mind blowing and this happens to be myWow just wow amazing movie hilarious and quotable i never get tired of it and Bales performance is mind blowing and this happens to be my favorite movie ever Expand
  4. Mar 2, 2012
    8
    A frank and unsettling insight into the mind of a psychopath. Christian Bale gives an excellent performance and really sells the character toA frank and unsettling insight into the mind of a psychopath. Christian Bale gives an excellent performance and really sells the character to the audience. The tension and thrills slowly and effectively build as the movie progresses. The film can be a bit disjointed at times, possibly due to the cutting of some material in the transition from book to movie. Expand
  5. Nov 26, 2013
    8
    American Psycho is a bloody success! It's funny and violent and Bale's performance was excellent. The largest problem I had with the film wasAmerican Psycho is a bloody success! It's funny and violent and Bale's performance was excellent. The largest problem I had with the film was the ambiguity of the ending but that aside it's a must see! Expand
  6. May 11, 2013
    7
    Christian Bale plays a character so simple, yet so complex, it's hard to understand what you're actually watching. In short, the movie's justChristian Bale plays a character so simple, yet so complex, it's hard to understand what you're actually watching. In short, the movie's just about a man killing women. There is no great background story to why he's exactly doing this or not an ending that gives you a final conclusion. On one side, Christian Bale is perfect for this role, but somehow, at the same time, he's not. His preformance, however, is what makes this dark thriller so interresting and brutally funny, going so far it makes you wonder "How sick am I?" every time you laugh at any of the events. Expand
  7. SlyEnemy
    Oct 12, 2008
    2
    In comparison to the book, it contains none of the subvertive text (How would it?) that is necessary for the characters and "storyline" to In comparison to the book, it contains none of the subvertive text (How would it?) that is necessary for the characters and "storyline" to grip onto. Without reading between the lines, we're left with a pointless story about a pointless man doing pointless things - A film which Withnail and I did many moons ago, without the grotesque and (film wise) unnecessary gore. Expand

See all 73 User Reviews

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