Rafael Jovine’s review published on Letterboxd:
How does one tackles such a behemoth as this one. A movie that has been overly discussed, parodied and crawled into the pop culture conscious. These questions arise as I was rewatching this movie for the first time after finally seeing it early on the past decade. However, like I pointed out, this is a film that’s just impossible to ignore and you can’t help but crossing path over and over again.
Luckily for me, as the movie progressed and the themes unfolded, I began to formulate my own thoughts, which might be entirely right or completely wrong, as by the end there’s no clear ending besides this man is very disturbed and he’s a complete narcissist. Bale was simply brilliant as this scum of an individual we’re not supposed to root for, but for some inexplicable reason we can’t help but being mesmerized, he stands for everything that’s wrong and disgusting about capitalism and Reagan era in a nutshell, but just like many back then, even though we know its terrible, at the same time its so attractive we can’t help but to love it.
Now, without further ado, I’ll be going into spoilers exploring some of the themes I caught and my interpretation of the movie as a whole.
No Dicks, Only Cards
While there’s plenty of greed and cocaine, none of it really matters in this world. In any other conversation, these men would be around having their locker room talk about sex, their conquers and their bodies, especially this homoerotic thing many “straight” men do where they constantly talk about their dicks *shrugs*.
But if you pay attention, while we get scenes like the iconic one where Bateman gives a s**t about the prostitutes and its only worry about his own presence, his own physic, me, me, me. That scene in particular captures perfectly the thing these group of man care about and that’s themselves.
In terms of the card, again, going back to what I just said, no man here goes around bragging about their genitals, in exchange what we have is the business card that for most of us, let’s be honest, they all look the same. But those small details that don’t mean anything for us, those are the ones that gets to trigger this man as it makes him feel less important. In a way, it also gives us a look at the size of his ego. His insignificant ego.
Paul & Dorcia
So, I had these two separately, but come think about it they both stand for the same thing and that’s rivalry and failure.
Bateman sees himself above everyone and everything else. He’s one of those individuals with such a fragile self-esteem (if he even has any) that he doesn’t accept any form of rejection, so when both this man mocks him and doesn’t respect him to the point, he doesn’t even take the modesty of learning his goddamn name, that infuriates him and leads him to do what he does in the now iconic murder scene. That was him mocking Paul with Huey Lewis (the most cynical version of Elvis Costello) serving as his voice, cause if its clear throughout the film is that him and music have a strong connection. His mindset, his self is extremely attached to all these artists that not only give us a glimpse into his way of thinking, but also serves as the knot that ties this feature with the whole biting satire against what’s perceived as the overall 80s culture.
Alright, so this one would even much shorter cause this one heavily falls into my last section and that’s Detective Donald Kimball. Its clear this man really doesn’t exist and for me he serves as part of Bateman’s conscious within this whole world he has constructed in his mind. Through characters like this, the movie is telling us this monster might have something resembling some feels and humanity that’s being buried under this big pile of s**t.
Where Is My Mind?
So this one has been overly discussed since the release of the movie, was it all a dream? Was it partially true? Was it all a lie? To be honest, after seeing this movie and see how it all plays out and working out the logic, its clear this was around 95% in his brain, like, the whole ending with the cops, the building, the corpses in such a short amount of time and I am pretty positive cops would go into Paul’s apartment and investigate (or maybe I just watch too much crime procedurals).
This is a two hours “what if?” situation with the final line of dialogue serving as a warning of what would happen if we don’t do anything about it. But at the same time is a demential look, again, into the many horrible things that one way or another did happen and keeps happening through the work of selfish individuals and greedy corporations, we are the prostitutes and the civilians who get dusted and brutalized by these organizations and individuals. Its both a warning and a f**k you to us, to everyone.
All in all, there’s so much I am probably missing even on my own thoughts, it’s a very dense and yet vastly entertaining dark comedy with some incredible performances and also technical work, featuring great lowkey cinematography and overall direction.