Welcome to my apartment. Hope you are comfortable sitting there before I blow your head in with my dumb words. We jump from 1998 to 2000, because in the Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness of today, we have a treat of ‘Carnival of Souls’ (1962), one of those movies that are just too amazing for words, but here’s a video with words and images, a wonderful essay if you ask me. So, I am left with this movie, what will it be? What will I think? Let’s see.
I have a certain history with Bret Easton Ellis. When I was a young 17 year old guy trying to get into films as well as literature, I was brought violently into the books of Ellis, and not because of their edge or because they were any trendy, I mean, this was 2007, when Ellis was far from a career revival and turning into the people that now everybody assumes that you must hate, you know… hip to be a critic. But at that time, when I was making intense decisions in my life, I’d say that Bret Easton Ellis isn’t necessarily influential as much as he demonstrated just how far one could go in terms of literature. Then I read the Marquis of Sade, and I knew that this was just a continuing legacy of authors trying to break everything that was allowed just for the sake of breaking it. But there was something in Ellis that didn’t particularly speak to me, as much as it made me admire what he was doing. With Less Than Zero, which took me about five days to finish while still attending school and on a library loan of 15 days, I understood that he was doing something major for literature at the time, he was opening himself maybe more than any other writer at that time, and he was bringing it all down with him, critics, his generation, all of it. Then came American Psycho. I could never finish it.
But I could finish this movie, directed superbly by Mary Harron, and perhaps the perfect condensation of the story and the ideas behind that really long novel. There’s something in Christian Bale’s performance that makes the whole virtually unappealing world completely accessible, as it is through his mind that we see it and experience it. While, yes, extremely violent, I’d say that it works because of how violent the world around us is, as it only seems possible that kind of interaction between the kind that Patrick Bateman represents, and while nor the film nor the book is trying to say that the Wall Street kinda types are all like that, I’d say that it says a lot about privilege and identity, both of them are constantly attacked in this film, much like when Patrick attacks his co-worker with an axe, and we are left with the debris of a mind that is breaking down in front of us, where we are introduced in a kind way to present us a disgusting type of people through a kinder canvas, just that when it finally gets to us, it starts to shock us and throw us everything that we feared that would happen with a title like the novel and film use. It’s a film that intelligently puts all its elements on the floor, directed superbly and edited in a very intelligent manner, it’s a deeply disturbing and well acted film that one can’t help but feel glued to every moment that happens, and its ending, while quiet, it’s immensely deep in its repercussions for the character and the viewers. This is a never ending loop.