Director: Mary Harron
Stars: Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Chloe Sevigny, Jared Leto, Samantha Mathis, Justin Theroux, Reese Witherspoon, Cara Seymour, Josh Lucas
American Psycho's battles against feminists and defenders of good taste trace back to the 1991 publication of author Bret Easton Ellis' original novel. The book, like the movie adaptation, is a gruesome and darkly comedic look at a young Wall Street yuppy's obsessions with manifesting his prejudices, women-are-sex-objects attitude, and sense of entitlement in murderous, Ed-Gein-inspired ways. In the 2000 film, scenes depict Patrick Bateman (played brilliantly by Christian Bale) physically and mentally abusing prostitutes, dismembering them with chainsaws, and hanging mangled female corpses on hangers in a closet. Which, on a purely surface level, sure looks and feels misogynistic.
What so many of American Psycho's pissed-off critics seem to overlook, however, is the fact that it's a satire—an incredibly smart one, at that. And what both Ellis' novel and (wouldn't you know it, female) director Mary Harron's film skewer is worst kind of consumerist, superficially inclined person who fails to realize that surrounding one's self with expensive, fancy things only exacerbates one's ever-growing unhappiness.
American Psycho is only misogynistic because, well, it has to be in order to present the most extreme manifestation of a guy like Patrick Bateman's most dangerous impulses. But Ellis and Harron did so knowingly and without malice.