“Patrick Bateman is handsome, well educated and intelligent. He is twenty-six and living his own American dream. He works by day at Wall Street, earning a fortune to compliment the one he was already born with. At night he descends into madness, as he experiments with fear and violence”.
I’ll just start off with the obvious pun: “Before Christian Bale was Batman, he was Bateman”. Hilarious.
Well this an incredibly clever film. In the way that, we follow Christian Bale’s character but in a way that only spectates, we, as an audience never feel involved in his life at all. We merely see him just going along with his life in a slightly episodic way. Most of the violence occurs of screen. Even with the arrival of Willem Dafoe’s character, investigating the disappearance of Jared Leto’s character that Christian Bale killed- “with an axe to the face”. That event in the film is the only real narrative development. But strangely this isn’t a bad film and having the protagonist as a flat out psycho, this is probably the only way you could of done this film.
However the techniques are echoes of Christian Bale’s sanity, despite how horrific some scene’s are there is never that cinematic style of “WOW I’m watching a psycho”, well obviously some scenes do scream this in your face, but the music usually juxtaposes the event’s (e.g. Huey Lewis and Phil Collins) and the camera just casually swifts past severed heads.
Christian Bale’s performance is quite hard to describe, like it is frantic yet controlled and bad but good. For a good portion of the film he show’s little or no emotion and there is this condescending narration by Bale and you can’t really tell whether this is just a parody of the life of a man on Wall Street or this is the look inside the mind of a psychopath. However this film does a good job either way.
There is a nonessential plot twist at the end, but it is nonessential in the fact that, if it wasn’t there the film could have lived and breathed fine but it still works and enhances your already crazy views of Christian Bale and come to think of it is probably the only plausible ending to the film despite how open ended the film is.
Also the 80’s backdrop enhances Bale’s nuttiness with the lectures on pop music and the at times bloody awful soundtrack.
This brutal yet genius look at the life of a Wall Street psycho is no easy watch. But incredible at the same time and features probably Christian Bale’s finest performance.
Best Line in the Film: “I’ve got to return some video tapes” – Christian Bale.