Listen now | Today’s movie is American Psycho directed by Mary Harron. This movie is made up of brilliant moments, but the pieces never manage to come together.
I feel exactly the same about the movie. The book is kind of a hodge-podge so they tried to simplify it to keep the comedy of manners aspect of it, but it still does not work, there are still too many inconsistencies in the points the movie tries to make and things don't add up. The directing is also very bland so there's not much to talk about it.
I remembered the tone of the book was different so I also reread the first half of it in order to have something to add to the conversation. I don't think it's a great novel but there are some interesting ideas in it and it's much better than the movie in my opinion. The book is the complete stream of consciousness of Bateman so the scenes play differently than in the movie. It's still comedic but there's a psychological angle that is lost in the film. Also, the book is longer and the scenes repeat so there's an accumulation of descriptions, lists, etc. which has a numbing effect that is super interesting. To me parts of the book felt more like Ellis took Proust and pushed it to its logical conclusion, where attention to surfaces and details becomes completely alienating, time stops being significant, etc. I tried to find articles on that, there's one that compares the book with Baudrillard's "Simulacra and Simulation" which goes in that direction. For a comparison with Proust, I found an article that talks about Proust's view of fashion. He saw it as an artistic endeavour that could reverse the natural order, fashion seeming more natural than Nature itself, but for him, it was still a positive, affirmative force. So, to me at least, the relationship between Proust and Ellis is the angle from which I get the most out of "American Psycho".
Is the movie you talked about "Header" from 2006? I never heard of that one, I'll try to watch it. For the same kind of satire about late capitalism, there's "Cosmopolis" by Don Delillo which I like a lot.
Here are the articles on Baudrillard and Proust:
Also on the same theme of Proustian hypersensitivity in "Cosmopolis":