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So I just finished reading Bret Easton Ellis' 1991 novel American Psycho, which was made into a movie in 2000, which I watched earlier this year.
In the film, it's unclear whether Patrick Bateman, the main character (played brilliantly by Batman's Christian Bale), is actually performing the crimes shown in the film, or if he is simply fantasizing about them. There is little difference in terms of Bateman's mental health of course, but the doubt turns Bateman from a dangerous psycho desrving of justice into a fascinating patient ripe for analysis.
In the book, it is quite clear that Bateman kills people. He is a sick puppy immersed in a sick world where nobody is as shallow as they want everybody to think they are, and too many people are hiding too many awful secrets. Bateman is too rich and too good looking to be thought a murderer, even when he is brutally frank honest with the people who are supposedly his friends. Even his dry cleaners and his maid simply clean up the blood because it is their function in life. It's awful and dark and bloody and disgusting and depressing. It made me long for the innocence of mere insanity.
Anyway, after that I started reading Christopher Priest's novel The Prestige, which was made into a movie in 2006, which I watched earlier this year.
The film is very mysterious about what is happening, but everything you see makes sense, it just makes more sense if you watch it again. The book (which I have not yet finished reading) has passages that don't even make sense unless you know what is happening. Of course, having seen the movie I don't get the experience of being confused by them. It's disappointing, really. On the up side, if I'd read the book first I would not have enjoyed the film as much, I think.
2008.09.16 at 11:00pm EDT
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