American Psycho (2000)

(On VHS, April 2001) Both less entertaining and more interesting than expected, American Psycho ultimately wimps out before saying something interesting. As far as performances go, this is entirely Christian Bale’s show as he manages to credibly personify an extreme character. The axe-murder sequence remains the film’s high-point mostly because of his manic portrayal. Even though many might mistake the film as belonging to the slasher genre, it’s considerably more unnerving than your usual teen horror film, both because it’s better-written -with some social commentary- and because it is extremely violent while not seeming too exploitative. The extremely black humor of the film also works to distance it from its more routine brethren. Unfortunately, while the film had some definite potential, it squanders it by an ending that wants to have it both ways without committing. (For instance, it would have been more interesting to make the point that in this environment, even a full-blown confession might not matter.) Alas, threads are left dangling, the film defuses its own bite and the whole point of the film is lost.

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