Movie Review: American Psycho

Details: Released in 2000. Stars Christian Bale. About an hour and forty minutes long.

A lot of times when I’m writing these posts/reviews, I want to discuss the substance of whatever it was I watched rather than just review it without spoilers. After some thought, I decided to just review the thing and give it a recommendation or not.

The premise of American Psycho is as follows: Patrick Bateman is a big, investment banking CEO and tries to indulge in his murderous, psychopathic desires while hiding it from those who know him.

This is a very adult movie with some graphic violence as well as explicit sex scenes and nudity. The movie attempts many things and is, in my opinion, mostly successful. One of the things this movie attempts is to offer some insight into the mind of a psychotic individual. Bateman is clearly crazy and the movie does a good job delving into his psyche.

The movie also attempts to deliver an opinion on the financial sector and, to a greater extent, society as a whole. The world Bateman inhabits is a superficial world obsessed with nothing other than greed and status. His friends, coworkers, and lovers all fit this theme and are superficial and contribute to his psychotic behavior.

It’s a wild ride and reminded me a little of Scorsese’s Wall Street film in that it gives an opinionated glimpse at a similar time period and section of society, in this case, the financial sector.

The cast is very good and has a surprising amount of big names in it. Some of these names are Christian Bale, Jared Leto, Justin Theroux, and Reese Witherspoon. There are a lot of familiar faces here whom I’ve since seen in many subsequent movies and television shows. They’re all good and help construct this grim world that Bateman inhabits.

Overall, I would recommend this movie for a watch. It’s a subjective view into the life of a successful investment banker who can barely control his murderous urges. I imagine that many people in finance might be able to identify with Patrick Bateman. I do not recommend this for the squeamish or for kids. Lots of violence and nudity in this film.

Score: 7/10

Movie Review: The Big Short

The Big Short is a big mess.

This is what happens when you have a film that gets too big a budget and too much support.

I imagine that when they pitched this movie to the studios and the oodles of A list actors in this movie, they gave the familiar pitch of a film based on a book base upon a true story. This was probably a short time after the success of the Wolf of Wall Street and all parties involved wanted to recapture some of the success of that film, to inhale some of that movie’s fumes. And each time they signed up another well known actor, they did it by dropping the names of each A list actor already signed onto the project, giving false hope of how successful this movie would be. Too bad this film was not a success.

And there are a lot of famous faces in this movie. Off the top of my head, Brad Pitt, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Marissa Tomei, Amelia Pond from Doctor Who, that weird Jewish guy from New Girl, and a lot of others I’m sure I’m missing. It’s a star studded cast. Too bad the plot is trash.

You can see what they are trying to do; a hard hitting drama conveying the injustice of Wall Street, the American finance industry and of residential mortgage backed securities. Despite the convoluted plot, the main problem is the attempts of the film to explain the financial crisis and CDO’s to the audience. See, The Big Short fails to understand something that The Wolf of Wall Street understood very well: people are idiots. At least most people in the movie theater. We don’t want to think about complex financial instruments or systemic problems in our society, we want to watch an entertaining story. Movies are escapism at its finest and when you try to educate an audience when they seek entertainment, you get a movie like this. This is a movie that does poorly at both educating and entertaining.

Additionally, there are noteworthy appearances by Anthony Bourdain, Selena Gomez, and Margot Robbie in a bathtub drinking champagne.

Score: 4/10 Only watch if the entertainment value of a movie depends entirely on the big names that are in it. I know there are many who can enjoy a bad movie if you put their favorite actors in it. While not complete trash, this is a movie for them.