Originally adapted from Benton Ellis’ novel in 1991, Mary Harron gives the crime-drama film a satirical twist in ‘American Psycho’ (2000). Set in 1987 New York City, Harron lures us with scenes narrated by the devilishly handsome sociopath and Wall Street banker himself, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale). Sharp interweaving scenes expose both Bateman’s daily regime as a Wall Street investment banker by day and satisfying his hedonist fantasies as a serial killer by night.
Harron mirrors Bateman’s narrative through illusionary film techniques which allow our imaginations to wander and question if we are experiencing Bateman’s fantasy or reality. The camera lingers on the scenes that are focused upon the pure costume of Bateman’s dual caricature.
Harron’s satirical themes of male ego, sexuality and misogyny interestingly connect with the ongoing theme of animalistic indulgences of luxury, vices, sex, and money. Though the daily life is seen as socially acceptable, both are shown to have monstrous characteristics within ‘American Psycho’.
We are rawfully exposed to both the thoughts inside Bateman’s deranged mind and Harron’s lingering camera techniques to follow, bringing tension to each scene that tests Bateman’s mental strength in maintaining his dual persona.
The intertwining scenes of Bateman’s balancing act as a prodigy on Wall Street and a blood lusting murderer progressively cuts sharper throughout the film as his mask slowly rots, surfacing his true character.