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By Chris Gore | July 3, 2001

Based on the controversial book by Bret Easton Ellis comes the sure-to-be controversial film, “American Psycho.” Christian Bale plays Patrick Bateman, a Wall Street yuppie by day who becomes a brutal serial killer by night. Patrick doesn’t just kill people, he relishes every moment of each victim’s demise. For him, dismemberment is a fun-filled ritual involving duct tape, knives and chainsaws. He even kills many of his victims while discussing the pop culture significance of musical acts like Whitney Houston and Huey Lewis & the News. Yes, he is truly one sick f**k.
The story is set in 1987 and it’s hard to think of the late eighties as a period now, but it is truly captured in every detail, from the clothes, the music to Patrick’s constant retort, “I need to return some videos.” It brings new meaning to the oft-repeated 80s phrase “Die Yuppie Scum!”
Patrick’s lust for blood plays tricks on his mind and the audience’s as well – can he separate his reality from sick fantasy? Detective Donald Kimball played by Willem Dafoe seems to be closing in on Patrick’s extracurricular activities, pushing him over the edge with guilt.
Christian Bale’s performance is absolutely amazing. The last time you may have remembered seeing this remarkable actor is in Steven Spielberg’s “Empire of the Sun”. Bale played the little boy.
While American Psycho contains its gross-out moments, it is actually far less violent than the book. In the capable hands of “I Shot Andy Warhol” director Mary Harron, the film emerges as one part comedy examining 80s excesses and another part horror movie parody. It’s smart, frightening and funny.
The film is sure to be criticized for its violence but viewer’s who pay attention will notice that the most horrific moments of savagery take place off screen, out of sight from the camera. (That’s when most of you aren’t looking.) American Psycho is definitely not for everyone. If you have a sick sense of humor, like me, this could be one of the year’s best comedies!

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