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In greedy 1987, 28 year-old Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is a Wall Street player dedicated to a lifestyle of material acquisition and status. Engaged to Evelyn (Reese Witherspoon), Patrick's apparently perfect world revolves around physical perfection, designer labels, corporate power plays and getting bookings at trendy restaurants. Patrick Bateman is also a serial killer whose murder spree begins with a homeless man and accelerates as the disgust for the world he lives becomes all-consuming.

"Watching American Psycho is a bit like looking at a car accident. You know you shouldnít, but you just canít drag your eyes away. This repulsively fascinating look at the eighties Ďyuppieí mentality through the eyes of a psychopath is skilfully executed by a brilliant cast, headed by a legendary Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman.

Bateman is the charming yet loathsome American Psycho, and an apt title it is. He typifies all that was wrong with American society in the 80s, from the obsession with business cards to the need to be seen at the right restaurants. He seemingly has it all; a great body, the right hair, clothes and apartment, and a hairspray blasted girlfriend (Reese Witherspoon). But as the story progresses, Batemanís obsession with perfection escalates out of control, and his sadistic desires begin to creep through his outwardly normal persona.

The interesting thing is that as Batemanís grip on sanity diminishes we are not ostracised from the film. Having read the book, I was expecting an aversion to the violence depicted but this didnít happen. Not because the film isnít violent - it is, but because the violence is almost funny. Certainly some scenes are set up as a satire; Bateman running naked through a hallway covered in blood, grinningly wielding a chainsaw is not meant to be horrifying.

The transfer to DVD is superb, the picture is sharp and detailed throughout. Both the music and the dialogue are well recorded, with no noticeable distortion. The soundtrack is excellent in Dolby 5.1; all the 80s classics are there including Robert Palmerís Simply Irresistible and Whitney Houstonís The Greatest Love of All. The music plays a major role in identifying Batemanís psyche; when he starts spouting the virtues of Phil Collinís solo career versus his performance in Genesis, you just know that danger is imminent.

The Behind the Scenes featurette is disappointingly vague, considering how much could have been explored and discussed. The cast and crew talk briefly about the controversy associated with the novel and film, but the perception of author Bret Easton Ellis would have been most interesting. Sadly, his thoughts on the movie are not presented.

The additional features add very little, but the quality of this sharp, aggressive and highly entertaining film make it well worth a look."
Luisa Browett

Published April 12, 2001

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CAST: Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Chloe Sevigny, Reese Witherspoon, Samantha Mathis

DIRECTOR: Mary Harron

RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Col Tristar Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: February 14, 2001

Original Widescreen Presentation; Behind the Scenes Featurette with Cast and Crew; Interviews; Isolated track of songs and John Caleís music score; Original Movie Trailer; Talent Profiles; Picture Disc

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