American Psycho (2000)
Director: Mary Harron
Granted... What a marvellous cast: Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Willem Dafoe, Chloe Sevigny, Reese Witherspoon, Jared Leto etc. and they all deliver top-notch performances.
Dafuq? I only know one other person who prefers the novel over the movie (Hi Phil!), and even he wasn't as disappointed and frustrated as me. Bret Easton Ellis' "American Psycho" is IMO the greatest novel anyone has ever written. So far, I've read it more than 20 times in German and in English, and it keeps getting better, keeps getting more interesting. Even at the 20th time, you discover something new, discover little jokes, nods to other Ellis' other books, or some other weird things that suddenly stick out like a sore thumb. I've read of all Ellis' books several times, and they're pretty much all genius, but "American Psycho" is the unbe-fucking-lievably outstanding pinnacle, the one book every writer hopes to write at least once in his career.
The movie? Blech. Yes, I understand how hard it is to properly adapt an Ellis novel, but goddammit Mary Harron, you didn't even try! In the movie, Patrick Bateman is a dorky serial killer who seems to be one helluva funster, while in the book, he's a complete emotional wreck on the brink of self-destruction, desperately trying to fit in and save face, but also slowly realizing that his whole life is wrong. The book starts out rather amusing, but gets darker and darker, more and more disturbing, and by the time you're through, you, the reader, are an even bigger wreck than Bateman. Reading "American Psycho" is a brutal, shattering experience. Watching the movie is just a waste of time.
Ok, I admit it stays pretty true to the book, but omg, it completely omits any kind of over-the-top uber-violence (and there's A LOT of really unsettling uber-violence in the book), it turns Bateman into a complete idiot, some of the best scenes were left out, important characters get degraded to 'cameos', there's hardly any tension or suspene, and half of the actors were simply miscast (Cara Seymour, what the fuck??).
I love the way how Bale's Bateman became an internet phenomenon (does anyone remember the times when half of 4Chan consisted of Bateman memes?), and I love how the general popularity make more and more people go check out the book - but actually, I would have preferred if they would have never turned it into a movie. Ellis' "American Psycho" is a fucking masterpiece. Harron's "American Psycho" is utter bollocks, a wrong and terrible adaptation made for people who don't read and laugh at literally everything without thinking.
Like Ellis' once said: "I think that book is unadaptable because it's about consciousness, and you can't really shoot that sensibility. Also, you have to make a decision whether Patrick Bateman kills people or doesn't. Regardless of how Mary Harron wants to shoot that ending, we've already seen him kill people; it doesn't matter if he has some crisis of memory at the end."
To Quote... Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com
"Are you, more or less, setting yourself up for disappointment if you go to see
a film adaptation of one of the most powerfully written novels you can recall reading? (...)
Harron has (...) altered a story supposed to be about a shallow era into a film that is, ultimately, just shallow. (...)
One of the most compelling aspects of the novel was eventually realizing that Bateman is not a vile excuse for a human being, but simply an unstable man who, somewhere down the line of his life, has lost the ability to feel emotion, either for himself or those around him. It was a surprisingly poignant notion by Ellis, subtle, yet effective. The film attempts the same thing, but verges off-course in its conclusion to be something that almost begs you, in an overwrought fashion, to feel sympathy for this man.
(...) Having read the novel, it is impossible to watch American Psycho and not have your expectations tarnished, as the whole affair is an enormously large missed opportunity. Harron has taken nearly all that was great about Bret Easton Ellis' fine novel, stripped it of its dignity and profundity, and left it for the film-viewing world to behold as a sadly trivial, puerile, and, ultimately pointless, misfire."
Wesley Morris, SFGate.com
"Harron can't find an angle, therefore a reason, to have made a film of this book - beyond the simple fact that she could. (...)
Harron turns a stream-of-consciousness confessional into a flat, impatient murder mystery/detective story. For better and worse, she has locked us out of Patrick's psyche, afraid perhaps, that an immersion in his hilarious stream-of-consciousness would corrupt us. But any movie that shows its title nutjob dropping a running chainsaw onto one of his prostitute victims (...) or sets an execution to a long-dead Huey Lewis song is already in too deep."
Jim Judy, Screen It!
"Despite an initially intriguing premise in plot, character design and teasing storytelling technique, the film ultimately fails to hold one's interest and comes off as neither scary nor humorous enough to excel in either of those approaches."
Better: Read. The. Book. Read. The. Book. Read. The. Book. Read. The. Book. Read. The. Book. Read. The. Book. Read. The. Book. Read. The. Book. Read. The. Book. Read. The. Book. Read. The. Book. Read. The. Book. Read. The. Book. Read. The. Book. Read. The. Book. Read. The. Book. Read. The. Book.
READ THE FUCKING BOOK GODDAMMIT!