Recently, I had the chance to revisit AMERICAN PSYCHO, a film that I hold near and dear to me as one of my all-time favorite films within the genre. However, I will admit it had been some time since I had last watched it last, so I was pleased to learn that I would have the chance to revisit it as it was being re-released in an all-new 4K format.
Based off the book of the same name by author Bret Easton Ellis, the film is directed by Mary Harron and stars Christian Bale in the role of supposed serial killer Patrick Bateman. The film also boasts an A-list cast which features Willem Dafoe (THE FLORIDA PROJECT, PLATOON), Jared Leto (DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, SUICIDE SQUAD), Josh Lucas (A BEAUTIFUL MIND, POSEIDON, SWEET HOME ALABAMAN), Chloë Sevigny (LEAN ON PETE, BOYS DON’T CRY) and Reese Witherspoon (WALK THE LINE, WILD).
Most people reading this review are probably familiar with AMERICAN PSYCHO, but for those who aren’t, it centers around Patrick Bateman, an entitled Wall Street VP who works for his father’s company in Mergers and Acquisitions (or murders and executions – depending on who you believe) and who has began to spiral out-of-control to the point where he “supposedly” begins murdering people for no reason at all. Brilliantly directed to showcase male entitlement as well as the toxicity surrounding a “boy’s club” mentality, the film also leaves viewers guessing on if Bateman is actually a serial killer or if everything that is depicted is all in his (seriously disturbed) head.
As I mentioned, it’s been a few years since I’ve seen this film, and let me tell you, in the climate of the #MeToo movement, AMERICAN PSYCHO perfectly encapsulates what many females encounter on a daily basis. When I first watched it at a much, much younger age, I saw it as a bat-shit insane take on the serial killer subgenre, but now as an adult, I found myself relating to a lot of what Bateman’s victims go through leading up to their brutal demise. Whether that be walking alone at night and noticing a stranger following closely behind or the total disregard that Bateman, and his group of male counterparts, have for women outside of an object that looks pretty in their arms. Though many look at Bateman’s character as a caricature of the ‘90s stereotypical male, it’s not far off from how some men still act today. What really drives this point home is the fact that Mary Harron directed this film in a way that perfectly captures what many women encounter on a daily basis.
AMERICAN PSYCHO is a film that I could easily write a thesis paper on, but that’s not why you are reading this review. As much as I want to go into the psychology behind Bateman’s actions, the significance of the music choices or how this story is relevant to society today, I think it’s important to also touch upon how incredible this new release on 4K HD is. The picture quality is incredibly vivid and the new transfer does a great job of highlighting colors, such as red and black, to make them look either brighter or darker, depending on their use. Also, the sound is completely ramped up in the best way possible by use of Dolby Atmos, which makes it feel way more immersive if you have surround sound. If you are a fan of this film, you’ll appreciate this aspect like I did, especially when we get to hear a little Phil Collins and Huey Lewis and The News. When you combine the amazing soundtrack along with the vivid colors and superb audio, it creates the perfect storm.
This release also has quite a few special features, the newest one being an audio commentary by Harron which is incredibly insightful and answered a lot of questions that I had about Bateman’s state of mind and what actually was happening versus what was more of a nightmarish fantasy. Along with this, there is another commentary which features writer Guinevere Turner along with deleted scenes with optional director audio commentary. As far as featurettes go there are two: “The ‘80s: Downtown” and “American Psycho: From Book to Screen” which showcases how the film was adapted from the novel.
Fans of this film will find a lot to love with this new 4K release. It definitely opened my eyes in a way that I didn’t experience when I first watched it and I found myself diving deeper into rabbit holes which dissected different aspects of this film. I would without a doubt recommend that people pick up this copy, especially if they want an even better, more vivid picture quality.
AMERICAN PSYCHO: UNCUT VERSION is now available to own on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital) from Lionsgate.