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American Psycho

American Psycho, Whenever

Several MoFos (you know who you are) rated this movie as one of their favorite Christian Bale performances. I expected it to be one of mine as well. The movie based on the legendary novel by Brett Easton Ellis, with Bale as the yuppie psychopath Patrick Bateman – I couldn’t wait. Especially after having experienced Bale as John Preston in Equilibrium, in which he did a great job as the emotionless-turned-enlightened government killer agent. The characters can hardly be compared but I was still impressed by Bale’s talent for playing psychotic roles. However, I was massively disappointed by Bale’s performance in this movie.
Now, I’ve only read one chapter of the book, in connection with an English class. However, it was enough to give me a good idea on how the character of Patrick Bateman was. The cold, superficial character appealed to me and I thought the character was extremely well written. After having watched Bale’s excessive and overacted interpretation of it, I felt like the original character had been raped.
When he put on the rain coat and killed the guy with the axe – the silly walk he made. Though it was comedic, I felt like he was trying to entertain a physical audience, within the movie.
The scene with the prostitutes, where he mixed his analysis of the music with perverted comments wasn’t very well done.
Through the entire movie I felt like he’d read the script and then performed the character with all the upper class superiority he could muster. It wasn’t very elegant and way too much for my taste. He was simply trying too hard, and the result was a serious case of overacting.
The voiceover – same thing.
Bale’s performance faded compared to Willem Dafoe’s. This became very clear in the scene where Dafoe was interrogating Bale. I felt like I was watching an experienced actor facing a rookie.
Then, out of the blue, Bale turns on a platter and throws out a fantastic performance, in the breakdown scene, which raises suspicion that Bale simply can’t play the upper class snob.
The chapter I’ve read was the one where Bateman tortured the homeless person. This was described in horrible detail in the book, and it was truly a disgusting read. However it was watered down in the movie. The whole situation in the book was described in a manner that was heartbreaking. In the movie it was just a couple of stabs and it was done.

I guess I just expected more from the movie based on the book, which was so violent that it was criticized of being utterly and completely pointless. And I certainly expected more from Bale.
This only sneaks up to this grade due to Bale’s performance in the breakdown scene.