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Patrick Bateman is young, white, beautiful, ivy leagued, and indistinguishable from his Wall Street colleagues. Shielded by conformity, privilege, and wealth, Bateman is also the ultimate serial killer, roaming freely and fearlessly. His murderous impulses are fueled by zealous materialism and piercing envy when he discovers someone else has acquired more than he has. After a colleague presents a business card superior in ink and paper to his, Bateman's blood thirst sharpens, and he steps up his homicidal activities to a frenzied pitch. Hatchets fly, butcher knives chop, chainsaws rip, and surgical instruments mutilate-how far will Bateman go? How much can he get away with?
Mary Harron's sleekly brilliant screen adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's notorious 1991 novel pares away most of the book's gore to portray the main character's homicidal butchery as a high-gloss fantasy. The movie's chic blend of satire, comedy and horror is anchored in a star-making performance by Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, a fashion-obsessed late-80's Wall Street hotshot who goes on a killing spree. Reese Witherspoon, Chloe Sevigny, Samantha Mathis and Cara Seymour give dazzling cameo performances as the unfortunate women in his life. The movie's message about a soulless surface-obsessed society still applies. — Stephen Holden
2000-04-14 | Stephen Holden | Read the New York Times Review of American Psycho