Hulu has recently expanded the selection of movies that are available for streaming. One of the recent additions is “American Psycho”, starring Christian Bale (“American Hustle” and “The Dark Knight” trilogy). This movie explores the inner being of a true psychopath as he attempts, although not very successfully, to fit into normal society.
The inner monologue is a clear view into Patrick Bateman, the hollow shell of a person who goes through his daily routine working for a large corporation. From his rigorous grooming regimen to his emotionless conversations with self-entitled rich executives, his life seems pointless. He is looking for something that can relieve this wasteland he feels inside his soul.
He proceeds to kill. His first victim is a homeless guy in an alley. No one will miss this person. No one will mourn him. Later there is a model, several call girls, a person who works at his firm. Each murder is a little more gruesome and he expresses himself more fully with each kill… but they are never enough. The rage he feels, the hatred, comes out directed at each victim, but it is always based on some exaggerated feeling that these people are irritating things to be used and disposed of.
Even after meeting a police detective, portrayed by Willem Dafoe, he is shaken, but not diverted from his chosen path. He continues to kill, taking less and less care with each one. Where can this all end? Will he be caught? Will his punishment be received?
There are several shots in this film that are very unexpected, almost comical, in a morbid sort of way. He reaches into the freezer, and the viewers are shown a head in a bag. He opens another cabinet in the same scene and there are various weapons. The scene ends with Pat holding a nail gun to the back of his assistants head, but then fighting the urge to kill and asking her to leave. She misunderstands, thinking that him hurting her would be an emotional thing.
One of the craziest scenes involves a prostitute and one of Patrick's friends that he takes to his apartment. After drugging their drinks, he takes them to bed. As the dazed women are in bed with him, the prostitute sneaks out of bed, already frightened by a previous experience with Patrick where she was injured by not killed, and tries to run away, seeing that Patrick is killing the other woman. Christie, the prostitute, runs from him and he comes after her, naked and covered with blood, wielding a chainsaw through the halls of the apartment building. As Christie attempts to escape down a set of stairs, Patrick revs the chainsaw and drops it down the stairwell, killing Christie as the blade buries itself in her body. Unbelievable? Of course, but still an amazing scene peeling back the layers of normalcy that Patrick has built up and showing the true face of the killer.
In the last scenes of “American Psycho”, Patrick loses control of himself and kills everyone he sees. He ends up hiding in his office and calls his lawyer, confessing to all the killings. He finally admits, “I mean, I guess I’m a pretty sick guy.” But he survives the night and goes to the club to meet his friends the next day after a surreal visit to the apartment where he had killed so many people only to find it cleaned, painted, and up for sale. The implications are that there are no consequences for his actions. There is no punishment for his crimes. The inner monologue sums it up in response to a statement about Ronald Reagan showing a trusting façade on the outside, “But inside doesn’t matter.”
American Psycho is a disturbing movie laying bare the idea that there are people battling with psychosis that strip away any moral ideas about the value of life or regard for consequences to actions performed. Christian Bale is a strong actor and he runs through the gamut of his acting ability, from the deadpan delivery of statistics about musical selections prior to a kill to the love of self that he shows anytime he glimpses himself in a mirror. This is a good slasher/thriller and is now available to stream through Hulu.