American Psycho

Director: Mary Harron
Screenwriters: Mary Harron, Guinevere Turner

Institute History

  • 2000 Sundance Film Festival


Director Mary Harron returns to Sundance with her highly anticipated second feature (her film I Shot Andy Warhol played in the 1996 Dramatic Competition), a darkly sly, tongue-in-cheek lash at nefarious eighties materialism and corporate-clone culture. New Wave music, cocaine, and five-pound cell phones take a bow in this slick horror adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's controversial novel. Harron's American Psycho is a satirically sinister riff on the depravity of the Reagan years and that class of soulless Wall Street executives Tom Wolfe dubbed the "masters of the universe."
Patrick Bateman is young, white, beautiful, ivy leagued, and indistinguishable from his Wall Street colleagues. Shielded by conformity, privilege, and wealth, Bateman is also the ultimate serial killer, roaming freely and fearlessly. His murderous impulses are fueled by zealous materialism and piercing envy when he discovers someone else has acquired more than he has. After a colleague presents a business card superior in ink and paper to his, Bateman's blood thirst sharpens, and he steps up his homicidal activities to a frenzied pitch. Hatchets fly, butcher knives chop, chainsaws rip, and surgical instruments mutilate-how far will Bateman go? How much can he get away with?
With a wonderfully dark sense of humor and keen political wit, Harron creates an inventive thriller that evokes a tainted nostalgia for the decade that gave us Genesis and Iran-Contragate. Christian Bale's remarkably performed Bateman is a modern monster whose invincible, invisible power echoes the seemingly omnipotent corporate and political forces which torture the American psyche.

Screening Details

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