My Favorite Films (#11): 2001: A Space Odyssey-Going Beyond The Infinite

*SPOILER WARNING. PLOT POINTS AND SPOILERS REVEALED IN ARTICLE. READ AT OWN RISK*

Introduction

I, along with many critics and moviegoers, consider Stanley Kubrick to be a genius and likely the greatest movie director of all time. A lot of his films rank highly in my personal favorite list. It’s impossible to deny the man’s ambition, scope, and perfectionism when it came to his craft. As a result, he created many distinct films that are now considered classics in their respective genre. Film scholars, critics, and your average movie goer are almost unanimous in declaring Kubrick’s sci-fi film 2001: A Space Odyssey his greatest work and among the greatest pieces of film in the history of cinema. Although I personally enjoy A Clockwork Orange and The Shining more, the consensus is understandable. 2001 is another Kubrick piece that I now recognize as an achievement in the fields of visual effects and a highly philosophical think piece that discusses humanity, evolution, and technology among others. It may come to a surprise, then, that I had a very difficult time getting through the film’s deliberately slow, tepid pace.

I required multiple viewing to get through the entirety of the movie. At this point I had already seen and admired A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, and Full Metal Jacket, so why was I having a hard time? Why was the film taking as much time as possible to move through its scenes? I was baffled that an entire dialogue-less 20 minute scene was placed at the start of the movie for the Dawn of Man scene. I wanted to turn it off so badly. I figured the rest of the movie would be the same way and I was not wrong. I forgot how long it eventually took me to finish, but it felt like a chore the entire time. Of course, had I maintained my original feeling about the film, I would not be writing this essay discussing its rightful status as a masterpiece. Gradually over time, I began to think more and more about the film. I wanted to like it so bad. I watched YouTube videos and perused forums to determine what I was missing. A whole lot, as it turned out. I failed to see Kubrick’s intentions with the film. I was generally used to conventional storytelling and character development. As I began to look into the themes and purpose of the film, I came to the realization that made me consider the film a personal favorite. The fact was, Kubrick didn’t have any particular interpretations or themes he wanted to get across. He wanted the viewer to come up with their own. Each unique interpretation is equally valid and logical.

So, that’s what I did. I re-watched it a couple of times for reference. I didn’t dissect the film frame by frame. I allowed it to take its time, as it should be allowed to. I eventually decided what 2001 meant to me as a film and as an experience. The focal point of this essay will be what I have come to interpret and dissect the various aspects of the film are. I won’t be discussing the technical achievements, the groundbreaking cinematography, or what I thought about the acting or character development.  This is an analytical essay designed to explain my personal interpretations of the film. However, I will be going into big plot points so if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t know what happens, I suggest you watch the film first or at least read the Wikipedia article. Both the store and analysis section contain plot points as references for my analysis.

The Story

2001: A Space Odyssey is among the most minimalist films I’ve ever seen. There is no dialogue in either the first 20 minutes and last 20 minutes. The opening scene depicts humanoid apes in an apparent war with another tribe of humanoid apes. They are driven away quickly. Out of nowhere, the apes awaken to a strange monolith. They are perplexed and frightened by it. Eventually, one of the apes touches the monolith. At first nothing happens, then we see this ape fiddling with bone. He seems to know how to use it. So do the other apes in his tribe. Utilizing this newfound knowledge, they drive away the enemy tribe and retake control. As the ape raises the bone in triumph, we cut to millions and millions of years later.

We are inside a spaceship in orbit. It is revealed to the characters that a similar monolith as seen with the apes has been detected on the moon. After investigating the monolith, we cut to 18 months later where another monolith has been spotted on Jupiter. A new crew is assembled to journey to the monolith and investigate its meaning and purpose. They are guided by their spaceship’s computer HAL9000. While on the journey, the crew become concerned with HAL’s behavior. HAL lips reads the crewmembers’ conversation and determines human beings are a threat to the mission he is programmed to accomplish. HAL begins to wreak havoc by severing one astronaut’s oxygen pod and severing the life support for many others suspended in orbit. The final remaining astronaut manually forces his way back in and proceeds to manually shut HAL down. HAL attempts to reason with the astronaut, eventually pleading and showing fear before he is finally shut down.

We learn from a video message that there is indeed a monolith on the moon, its purpose and origin completely unknown. The astronaut exits the spaceship in a pod and notices yet another monolith in orbit of Jupiter. He is sucked into a vortex of bizarre amalgamation of colored lights. He is thrown through space while observing strange cosmological phenomenon and unusually colored landscapes.

He ends up in a uniquely designed bedroom alone. There are multiple version of him: a middle-aged version, him dressed in a suit, and finally, him as a noticeably older man. Another monolith appears at the end of his bed, which he gingerly reaches out to touch. In his place is now a large, translucent fetus entombed within a glowing orb. The film ends with the fetus floating in space, silently gazing over the Earth.

Analysis/Interpretation

Many people, like myself originally, are confused by 2001. The limited plot, dialogue, and focus on character is perplexing for many traditional moviegoers. There’s nothing wrong with this in itself. Certain films need to be dissected to be made sense of. That’s what I’m going to attempt to do here. Through my interpretations of the film, hopefully others are able to gain a grasp on the complexity and intentional ambiguity of the film. I promise I’ll do my best.

The Monolith

A strange, black stoned monolith appears four times in the film. Originally with the ape-humanoids, then on the moon, then orbiting Jupiter, and finally at the end of the final astronaut’s bed. It’s purpose for being where it is and its usage remain unclear to the characters in the film, both ape-men and astronaut. When the ape-men tribe approach and touch the monolith, they seem to be growing in intelligence. After being driven away by a rival tribe, they are able to utilizes bones as tools and effectively as weapons to reclaim their territory. Near the end of the film, the final astronaut is launched into an apparent cosmological vortex filled with bizarre color patterns and strange structures. He ends up in a room where he rapidly grows in age, until the monolith appears for one last time. The astronaut is transformed into some sort of giant space baby floating within a glowing, protective orb. The entity appears at peace as the film ends.

The monolith is, quite simply, a tool of evolution. It’s reason for being there or how it works is not known and makes no difference regardless. We see the ape-men evolve into more intelligent being, and we infer that the next step in evolution for the modern human is represented by the floating space baby. What the next step exactly is serves no relevance to the context of the film. The ape-men are clearly shown to evolve into more intelligent being. With the monolith, humanity can now transcend into its more superior form of existence. 2001 is a film that does not focus on individual characters, or even groups of people. It focus on humanity as a whole. It’s scope is intended to be epic. Different groups of humanity are depicted in the film, separated by millions of years. Each of these facets of humanity are transcended into the next one by the monolith. I believe Kubrick had no intended message to spread to us viewers in this. He simple desired portraying the vast breadth in which we have existed, which we exist now, and where we will exist in a completely different way.

HAL9000

HAL9000 is the primary antagonist of 2001: A Space Odyssey. He is the ship’s supercomputer that controls its functions. He is programmed to complete the mission primarily. When he perceives the astronauts as detrimental to the mission, he begins to go haywire and turn on his crew.

2001 has been widely lauded for its accurate and revolutionary usage of technology and special effects used within the film. Kubrick meticulously ensured the science behind the space travel and related things were as accurate as possible. The models of the spaceships and other technology are considered way ahead of their time and inspired modern technologies such as tablets. HAL9000 is the most advanced piece of technology in the film, yet he is the only one to malfunction. At least, that’s how it appears on the surface.

HAL9000 never betrays his programming in the movie. His primary goal is to accomplish the mission. He perceives his crew as getting in the way of the mission, so he takes action. The way I see it, the .conflict between the human crew and robot HAL is a reflection on human vs technology relationship. However, I don’t believe Kubrick was intending to portray either as sinister. Rather, he wanted to show the role reversal of the two groups. HAL acts more human than any other human character in the film, even showing genuine emotions at the end of his life. Most of the astronaut crew appear stilted and robotic with each other. The meditative pace of the film and the particular focus on day-to-day activities that may seem unnecessary are better characterizations than any dialog could have accomplished.

Existence, Purpose, Realism

I’ve said it once but I’ll say it again. 2001 is an EXTREMELY slow film. It’s running time is roughly 2 hours 20 minutes, with the premiere having been 2 hours 40 minutes. Minutes of screen time are devoted to focus on the very tedious and monotonous process of docking a space ship. The little dialog works to enhance this tediousness. Of course, there is an excellent score playing in the background of most of these scenes. Certainly the mostly classical score of 2001 is one of my favorite aspects of the film. More on that later.

So why does the film take so fucking long to do simple things? Easy. Because that’s how it would be in actual space. AKA, in real life. Docking and walking through building are boring and repetitive. Kubrick wanted very strong realism in his film. Realism in a science fiction movie in space? But we hadn’t even gone to the moon yet? What’s the point of showing us?

That’s exactly the point, in my view. We had no idea was space travel and being on spaceships were like yet. Kubrick floored us with his representation of what it would be like to occupy space outside our planet. He did extensive research in ensuring the most accurate and realistic depiction of how space existence would be. Science fiction works had existed before that. Kubrick wanted to take us away from this typically outlandish tales and bring us back down to Earth (or away from Earth in this case). 2001 is a film that wants to make us think about existence. The film portrays existence as occurring away from our planet. The film characters exist in a universe where going beyond our planet is common and not out of the ordinary.  It really makes you consider your existence and the existence of everything else past what you can comprehend. In 1968, people couldn’t comprehend an existence beyond Earth. 2001 tells us that our existence will keep evolving and evolving until who knows when. Now that our views of existence have been increased in scope and reason, what could our new purpose be?

Once again, 2001 is not a film that concerns itself with human beings. It doesn’t concern itself with any particular subset of existing beings. It’s ambition extends past us, never even touching us. We shouldn’t ask ourselves what our new purpose is. We should ask what the purpose of humanity really is. What’s the purpose of constantly evolving beyond our current perception of existence? Kubrick designed 2001 as nearly completely ambiguous on purpose. Here’s what I mean.

No explanations are given for who the ape-men are or any indication to their inner thoughts. They encounter the monolith, they ascend to a higher level of existence, and they are now superior and triumphant over the other tribe. We know this will repeat itself for the rest of eternity (monoliths or not). The astronauts’ journey to Jupiter is met with heavy resistance. HAL does not attempt to sabotage them because he understands the monolith. It just happens. What’s their mission again? To investigate and attempt to discover the purpose and origin of the monolith? Of course they are resisted. We shouldn’t be finding purpose in these monoliths. We are just there to accept them, utilize them, and enjoy them. The monolith (evolution) isn’t concerned with who you are. You are part of humanity. You will be ascending beyond what you currently comprehend. The monolith has no desire to necessarily stop you nor help you. Its origins and purpose remain ambiguous. Humanity is simply meant to ascend up the evolutionary ladder. Again, it is irrelevant why. There is no why. That’s evolution.

2001 is a movie that uses mostly visuals and music to tell its story. Most of the dialog in the film is exposition and/or bears little relevance to the overarching ideas of the film. The main plot involving the Jupiter mission and HAL9000 going haywire is merely a vessel to get us where we need to go. The technology featured in the film is quite impressive and very advanced. I feel that 2001 makes the argument that technology is part of humanity. The bones in the Dawn of Man sequence are utilized as tools after the ape-men touch the monolith. Thus, they evolve from mere bones to useful tools and weapons, their own version of technology. HAL9000 is a piece of technology that seems to be far advanced than the other technology. His ability to read lips, draw his own conclusions, and most importantly, experience emotions are certainly unheard of, even in this film. HAL did not come into contact with any monolith or anything like that. How could he have been in an evolved state?

Think back to the ape-men and their “tools”. The bones themselves were upgraded and utilized only when the ape-men realized they could. In present day, the astronauts have come into contact with the monolith on the moon before the Jupiter mission. Perhaps while not evolving themselves, HAL9000 subsequently evolved past his original programming. Remember how I noted that HAL seemed more humans than the actual humans? Perhaps HAL’s next step on the evolutionary ladder was something a lot more human.

I want to clear up any misconceptions that might arise over my argument in this section. I’m certainly not saying our existences don’t have purpose or that our existence is inherently irrelevant. 2001 is, in my opinion, more concerned with presenting us a broader scope compared with our current existence rather than telling us to philosophically ponder our existence and purpose on a deeper level. Kubrick suggests that humanity will continue to evolve beyond any existence we can comprehend, and that’s how it is supposed to be. More importantly, it is more beneficial. The ape-men thrive with their newfound knowledge. The final astronaut seems content and at peace in his new space baby existence. Kubrick knew he needed to visually show us these themes and ideas rather than some dialog heavy, philosophical discussion. 2001 is a philosophical movie, but not for us to think about ourselves, but more for us to think about everything as a whole. Humanity isn’t necessarily a group of people or a race or multiple races. It’s perception and existence of the universe as we know it.

The film’s slow, deliberate attention to detail and realism shows us a reality in which we should be perceiving. Slow things down, embrace the vastness of what’s around you, both physically and philosophically. We are not insignificant, but we must accept that we must change. To continue growing and succeeding as humanity, we must embrace the unknown and trust it will lead us into an existence on a higher plane than the one we currently embody. Then, just like the film ends, we can peacefully gaze with our new enlightened perception and purpose.

Conclusion

2001: A Space Odyssey is a remarkable achievement in both the science fiction genre and for cinema in general. While I do believe the visual effects, scientific accuracy, and attention to detail are nothing short of revolutionary, I limited mentioning these in my essay for a reason. For me, 2001 is a bold, daring philosophical meditation that came out way ahead of its time. Kubrick had so much to say when either nobody was willing to listen  or they weren’t able to understand. Humanity, purpose, and existence will never stop, to put it frankly. Kubrick has inspired me to broaden my scope of perception towards everything around in. I’m not arguing that I believe humanity will all ascend into giant space babies and reach true enlightenment. The film works as a metaphor through its visual story telling and epic grandeur it presents. Embrace the random. Embrace change. Embrace the big picture. Evolve into enlightenment and purpose.

Rating: 9.2/10

 

Logan (2017) Movie Review

Introduction

Well, this is it. It’s been quite the 17 year run with you, Mr. Jackman. For every great X-Men movie, and for every not so great X-Men movie, you’ve embodied Wolverine better than anybody could have asked for. Nobody had faith in the little known Australian actor to play the ferocious, animalistic superhero portrayed in the comics. Oh, how the times have changed. Now nobody wants anybody else to play Logan, including me. I figured your final appearance as Wolverine had to go out with a bang. At the very least, I hoped for a fitting eulogy for your character or maybe a movie that eschews traditional character and story in place of a bloody, violent mess. I’ve loved the X-Men films for many years and things seemed promising that we’d at least be getting one final Wolverine performance. I am very proud to announce that we received a film that’s the perfect amalgamation of all three of those things, plus surprising but welcome emotional depth that only serves to pack an extra punch on top of an already crazy thrill ride. This is Logan. 

The Story

I will spend as little time on the story as possible. The year is 2029. There are barely any mutants left, with the last being born more than 15 years ago. Logan is old. He’s broken down. He doesn’t heal as quickly or efficiently. On top of that, he looks after a very old Charles Xavier, who’s having health problems on his own. These two and others and struggling to get by and live in a world without mutants. Their main goal is to live our the remainder of their lives for as long as possible.

Their pathetic existence takes a complete 180 after they encounter a young girl with very special powers. There are dangerous people after her and Charles, and the movie becomes a cat and mouse game as the three hunted go on the run from their hunters. This unexpected journey will serve as a period of growth for everyone involved, growth which they never believed they would experience again.

That’s the basic gist of the film. No spoilers or reveals at all. I would highly encourage everyone to go out and see this film because it is quite fantastic. Director James Mangold has successfully ended the Wolverine saga on a strong and potent note. Let’s discuss what makes this film so incredible.

Subjective Praises/Analysis

Logan  is an unconventional superhero movie in the sense that it is a character study. Not just of Logan himself, but all of the parties involved. We see that Logan and Charles are broken down and despondent.  We aren’t used to seeing these powerful, badass mutants so frail and helpless. As painful as it was to watch, I strongly respected the film’s decision to portray them as such. We were able to get a glimpse into the flip side of superheros. What would they be doing if they couldn’t be hero anymore? Who would be their hero?

Well, to answer that question, nobody. Only themselves, really. Mutants are virtually extinct at this point. Logan works as a limo driver and pawns drugs for Charles. Then the duo are forced to help another one like them in need. Logan is skeptic. Of course, Logan has always been characterized as the gruff, anti-social mutant who would usually prefer to stay out of things. Now, he’s too broken to do much. His portrayal in this film is very human (aside from the superhero stuff still in him). The emotional depth he exudes, both verbally and non, were a warm welcome into the Wolverine saga. By the end of the film, I felt myself almost moved to tears. NEVER before had any Marvel or DC film brought me to tears. With that, I can praise this film for its grasp of tone and character development. Everyone’s character arc felt emotionally satisfying and nuanced.

Before I move onto another point, I really need to talk about the R rating. I knew going into the movie that it would be R and that it would be gritty. I certainly was not expecting Saw levels of gore and violence. Even for a standalone Wolverine movie, I felt that they would have gone easy with the violence in fear of alienating potential audience members. NOPE. This movie is relentless. Blood spurts out of people like a fountain. The action scenes do not hold back whatsoever. Decapitated body parts, horrifying wounds, you name it. One scene in particular literally made me jump in my seat like a horror film due to its unexpected gore. I could not be happier with the way the action scenes were filmed and executed. The decision to be relentless was the best possible decision they could have made. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not obsessed or fascinated by extreme violence. Violence in film is detrimental to the context of the film, and vice versa. With Logan, it was a necessary evil, if anything. It’s the level of action Wolverine has deserved since the very first X-Men. Action scenes were well choreographed and filmed. I was on the edge of my seat as the action set pieces unfolded in front of me. Even the young actress playing the mutant girl was excellent with her fight scenes. She embraces the role like any other adult would. Her and Hugh Jackman made an excellent team. Even as he nears age 50, he’s still got it.

You may have heard through the grapevine how different Logan is compared to other Marvel films in terms of tone. The trailers depict a sort of rugged, desert setting. Most of you would be fairly accurate. There is a huge influence on this film by the Western genre, and though I’m not the biggest fan of the Western, in the case of Logan, the gritty feeling really gave the film a big boost. The violence was brutal and uncompromising, similar to some Westerns. Characters spent long periods of time traveling through harsh desert terrains in order to reach their destination.

Setting aside Western parallels, I would compare the tone of Logan being similar to Watchmen (another superhero film I love and will talk about one day). Both films I would describe as bleak and hopeless. Superheros are no more and are forced into hiding to avoid capture. Both films are focused on discovering the characters and following them on their reluctant paths to become heroes again.

So to be honest, Logan is not a completely bleak and hopeless film. There are actually quite a few moments of humor and levity in the film. Not in the laugh out loud kind of way, but more quips and tongue in cheek kind of way. Think something like The Dark Knight. That’s a very serious, dark & gritty film. There are still moments where characters drop sarcastic or chuckle worthy lines. The same can be said for Logan. I found this especially prevalent with Charles. Aside from getting used to him dropping F-bombs and S-bombs, Charles seems to have a pretty good sense of humor considered everything going on around him. The film isn’t afraid to provide you with a little bit of levity as a reminder of the humanity still present.

Objective Praises/Criticisms

Now that I’m done explaining what I enjoyed about the movie on a deeper than surface level, let’s get into what the movie did right and what the movie didn’t do as well. First things first, the acting. Hugh Jackman AND Patrick Steward are both equally excellent, in my opinion. Jackman’s years of playing the character certainly played a role in portrayed Logan at an old, grizzled age. Patrick Stewart definitely surprised me with his balance of sadness, humor, and caring attitude towards Logan and the girl. Speaking of which, you have to admit it takes a lot of talent to portray a young girl who rarely speaks but still has to convey emotion. Props to Dafne Keen as Laura for her impressive work. Although I mentioned it earlier, her performance during action scenes were definitely one of the best parts of the film.

I do have some complaints about the film. The first 15 minutes or so kind of dragged on for me. Luckily things get started quickly so I put it out of my head. There are certain scenes of lazy exposition that I can’t help but feel could have been done in a better way. There were a few ex-machine moments that seemed more unrealistic as the film progressed. I realize superhero movies tend to follow that formula, so I won’t be too harsh on it.

Conclusion

Some people are calling this the best X-Men movie to date. For me, it comes in at a  pretty close second. Days of Future Past still holds the top spot for sure. I would have to keep thinking about this though. For a movie to pump me up with its action, make me think with its characters, and make me cry with its relationships, I won’t deny this film will hold a special place in my heart as far as superhero movies go. Hats off to you, James Mangold. This is one of Marvel’s best outings to date. You had a good run, Wolverine. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the X-Men universe has in store.

Rating: 8.8/10

Paterson (2016) Review/Analysis: The Beauty of Monotony

*This Review Is Spoiler Free!!!*

“I’d rather watch paint dry”, exclaims the sarcastic individual commenting on how BORING a movie is or how slow a class is going. How much time do we have left? It’s been 5 minutes but it feels like an hour. I’m as hard-pressed as the average person when it comes to watching a film described as slow or plotless. At least I don’t have to pay to watch paint dry. Nonetheless, there are a few select films with little focus on story and excitement and more on themes and spectacle (2001: A Space Odyssey). Nonetheless, this past year I heard stir about a particular little indie film called Paterson. Adam Driver, best known as the emotionally unstable Star Wars villain Kylo Ren, stars as the titular main character. Reviews were universally raving and I figured eventually I would get around to watching it. Well, after deciding to watch randomly it one early morning around 3, I can proudly say that the decision to watch Paterson is the third best decision I’ve ever made at 3 AM. Let’s talk about the quiet, introspective modern masterpiece that is Paterson.

Adam Driver stars as the titular Paterson, a bus driver in the city of Paterson. The film is written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. Paterson enjoys writing poetry and spending time with his wife Laura, who enjoy his poetry more than Paterson does himself. Every day, Paterson gets up and does the exact same thing. He drives his bus around town while listening to his passengers’ conversations. In between rides, he scribbles more poetry onto a notebook he always carries with him. He walks his wife’s dog and then heads over to his bar of choice to enjoy a single beer, repeating his process from the bus and silently observing and listening in on other patrons. This is as much as I can write to describe the story. Not in risk of revealing spoilers, but there’s really nothing else to describe. That is essentially everything that happens. Rinse, wash, repeat. Paterson goes through an almost identical routine every day. For 118 minutes, Paterson wakes up, talks to his girlfriend, drives the bus, writes poetry in between stops, listens to his passengers’ conversations, walks his wife’s dog, goes to the bar and listens to conversations there, goes home. Repeat as necessary.

Paterson is a man of quiet resolve. Adam Driver’s quiet, brooding performance is the fuel that launches the film off the ground. The man who had previously portrayed an emotionally unstable Star Wars antagonist turns down the emotion and resolves himself a man not just resigned to a boring existence, but as one who revels in it. We only see a week in his life, but I feel this has been his daily routine for quite some time. One of his defining trademarks is his love for writing poetry. His poetry is spontaneous yet inspired. The conversations & interactions he encounters throughout the day are certainly a source of inspiration for his writings. He frequently carries a notebook around to jot his poetry down should he be inspired throughout the day.

His relationship with his wife Laura is almost too sweet and perfect for a film. She views his poetry in high regard and often encourages him to publish it or at least make copies. However, he is reluctant. It doesn’t seem apparent why at first, but I’ll go into my reasoning a bit later. Meanwhile, I could describe Paterson and Laura’s relationship as gentle and playful. She is bubbly and outgoing, while he is broody and contemplative. If opposites attract, then these two would be the proof. I’m certain the chemistry between the actors helped establish legitimacy and realism. Paterson often encourages Laura and her varying passions, such as learning how to play guitar. His support and love are genuine. This is not a film that needs to instigate a huge fight that will quickly be fixed out of nowhere at the end of the film. Paterson, if you can’t tell already, is a feel good film. There is little conflict and when it arises, it is minor and overall inconsequential. You might argue that the constant monotony and repetition is the biggest conflict. You fear that things will go sour fast after Paterson snaps. This is thankfully not the case.

There’s good reason why our main character and the city he’s located in share the same name. Paterson’s life essentially revolves around the city of Paterson. His job is there, his apartment is there, his bar of choice is there, you get the idea. So why are they the same? In my opinion, Paterson the man’s relationship with Paterson the city is very reflective of Paterson’s relationship with his passengers and everyone he interacts with. For Paterson the man, Paterson the city is all he knows as home. He feels comfortable and content there. He revels in his minimalist life, which he owes solely to his city. Taking a look at the people/stories that inspire his poetry, we see similar parallels. These people are usually strangers and don’t know Paterson personally. Yet, he learns many things about them. They hardly notice their bus driver listening in on their stories, but it’s not in an nosy way. Paterson feels at home when hearing stories, when writing poetry, when enjoying a simple beer with the same people. His poetry serves as a home for what he has obtained from his day to day life. Rather than simply writing what he hears word for word, he translate it into something a bit more meaningful to him. He is reluctant to share his poetry to a larger public because he fears it will diminish the value of the stories given to him. He never asked for them, and yet he still receives them thanks to his propensity as a good listener. Paterson has become a sort of home for these strangers and their experiences. It doesn’t matter how repetitive his life may seems. For him, his life is enriched and fulfilling.

Thus, Paterson truly derives joy from the repetition and mundaneness of his life. The stories he hears every day provide material for his poetry, but therein lies something deeper.  To me, Paterson is not being selfish here. Official recognition/fame is not his goal for as a poet. His goal is to preserve the uniqueness and creativity of the city that became his home. Paterson isn’t depressed or constantly pondering the meaning of line. The film has no desire to explore philosophical themes or make grand statements about human existence. It is meant to celebrate monotony.

Jim Jarmusch’s films are usually classified as minimalistic and meditative. Admittedly, this is my first Jim Jarmusch film. I had to wikipedia the director to determine how his style was classified. Apparently, the majority of his films are similar to Paterson. Slow, minimalistic, little important placed on plot. His films are all about character, a personal favorite film genre of mine. Paterson is a unique character study that is reinforced through minimal plot and dialogue. Character traits and motivations are revealed to how characters act towards one another. The way they look and how they react to the limited dialogue that does appear fill in relationships between characters.

I believe the most important thing the film wanted us to take away is that any of us can be Paterson. Often times we feel our lives fall into a slump, a repetitive journey wherein we circle the same track every day. Even though the gate is open, we remain on the track. Paterson goes as far as to glorify and celebrate this lifestyle. We are seeing the upsides of a boring existence. Even in this monotonous routine, we have our purpose. We can comfortably remain on this circular path without too much discomfort or apathy. The movie isn’t encouraging people to stay in the same rut they’re in. However, it’s not focused on inspiring you to make drastic changes and climb out of your rut. Paterson is bold and confident enough to tell us that it’s ok to be caught in a loop, and that things can still be fine. What we make of what we have is what matters most. We can find meaning and happiness in a repetitive life by effectively creating something out of nothing. It’s the little things that matter. Perhaps one day things won’t be as monotonous as they are now. It’s certainly something to work towards. Nonetheless, enjoy the quiet serenity of your repetitive life. What matters most now is that you keep going and going, trudging through the repetition. Even if things are going slow, they’re still going. Never let things come to a complete stop.

Paterson is quite the unconventional for doing so, but it achieves its goals and then some. I wish more people had gone to see this in 2016, but of course it’s never too late to watch a fantastic, under the radar film. I foresee many “hidden gem” movies on my watchlist in the near future. If they’re anything like Paterson, I’ll be hoping for a boost in popularity of slow, minimalist films.

Rating: 8.9/10

My Favorite Films (#1): Why American Psycho Is My Favorite Film Of All Time- A Comprehensive, In-Depth Analysis/Interpretation

In 1991, author Bret Easton Ellis shocked the literary world when he published the novel American Psycho. The novel follows an unhinged, narcissistic yuppie named Patrick Bateman as he narrates his way through materialistic behavior, Valentino suits, meticulous beauty routines, and his insatiable blood lust for murder, rape, torture. The novel proved incredibly controversial for its graphic description of violence. Many denounced the novel as torture porn with no substance. Many feminist groups denounced the novel for its perceived misogyny and its brutal violence directed towards women. Ellis himself received many death threats after the book was published. It seemed peculiar, then, when talks of a movie adaptation arose soon after. Who would want the movie form of torture porn? How would they even film it in the first place? Due to this, a potential movie struggled to get made for nearly a decade. Directors Oliver Stone, Danny Boyle, and David Cronenberg were all considered to helm the adaptation at one point in time. Leonardo DiCaprio was slated to play the lead Patrick Bateman. Eventually however, Christian Bale showed interest in the project and committed to the Bateman role, even discouraging actors from trying out for the role. Mary Harron ultimately became the director while she co-penned the screenplay with Guinevere Turner. After many years in development hell, American Psycho premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2000. Like the novel, the film was highly polarizing for the same reason as the book. “The violence was too much”, some would say. Others lauded it and recognized it for the work that it was: A highly satirical dark comedy commenting on the excesses of late 80’s Wall Street. Easton had the same end game in mind when he wrote the novel in 1991. His account was meant to be intentionally over the top and overbearing to prove his point. Unfortunately for him, people were quick to disregard this and crucify it as smut instead. Since the film’s release, however, it has gained a large cult following. Many people now consider American Psycho among the best dark comedies of the 21st century.

Me personally, after a personal record of 15 complete records, American Psycho is easily my favorite film of all time. I’ve spent hours and hours analyzing it, interpreting it, appreciating it. I’ve looked at YouTube videos, interviews, behind the scenes footage, all related to discussing and giving unique and varying interpretation. Now, I figured it was my chance. I am going to be as comprehensive as possible. I will be going scene by scene, explaining their relevance and what it means in the grander scope. Maybe most importantly, I will going into my own personal thoughts and interpretations and why I personally consider this my all time favorite film. This is going to be an epic read of an article, so hopefully I make my points engaging and clear enough for people to keep moving. My end goal is to explain my genuine praise of a film that, in my opinion, is a remarkable achievement in satire, black comedy, and character study all rolled into an entertaining story that’ll keep you thinking and guessing for a while after viewing it. This is my comprehensive analysis and love letter to Mary Harron’s American Psycho. *SPOILER WARNING* I’m going to be going into a lot of major details concerning the story, so it’s only fair I issue a major spoiler warning. After that, I will devote the rest of the essay to explaining the meaning of things and interpreting the themes and messages of the film. I will conclude this essay with my objective and subjective thoughts on the movie, ending it with my final rating. I would suggest watching the film or reading the Wikipedia article on it before continuing so nothing feels ruined. A lot of the arguments I am going to make will make much more sense after having seen the movie. Anyway, let’s begin.

The Story

Patrick Bateman is the central focus of this story. American Psycho devotes itself to understanding and exploring Patrick Bateman’s existence. In the film, he is a 27-year-old Caucasian male living in New York City as a wealthy investment banker for Pierce & Pierce. He works as a “Vice President” in Mergers & Acquisitions. He is quite fit physically, as we see around the 5-minute mark when we are formally introduced to Patrick Bateman. His narration begins with which apartment complex he lives in before he even tells us his name. He spends a solid 3 minutes detailing his daily workout routine and his daily beautification routine. He uses a superfluous amount of cleansers and lotions to maintain as perfect skin as he possibly can. This in itself is fairly hypocritical as he indulges in cocaine and alcohol semi-frequently. He takes delight in meticulously detailing which products he specifically uses, even giving us some advice along the way. He ends his description of his routine with an unsettling reflection on his identity. That is, his lack thereof. He might appear physically in front of you, but on the inside, there is nothing to Patrick Bateman.

Patrick Bateman spends most of his downtime with his coworkers who work in the same division as him. They are Timothy Bryce, David Van Patten, and Craig McDermott. He is engaged to a woman named Evelyn Williams, a dainty socialite with little concern but for her social status and connections. Patrick openly admits (in narration) that he knows that Evelyn is cheating on him with Timothy Bryce, going as far to admit that Bryce is the most interesting person he knows. He does not care about this, however, nor the fact that Evelyn might know he’s having an affair with her best friend, Courtney Rawlinson. Courtney herself is engaged to “the biggest doofus in the industry”, Luis Carruthers, who is clearly homosexual and attracted to Patrick. However, Patrick strongly dislikes Luis.

Patrick spends most of his time either in clubs, fancy restaurants, or looking for reservations at said restaurants. To be blunt, Patrick Bateman is probably the most narcissistic, pretentious, material obsessed yuppie businessman in the entirety of New York City. His daily routine and wealthy lifestyle are all that matter to Patrick. He defines himself on how expensive his suits are, or how fancy the restaurants he goes to are, or how organized and pseudo-artsy his apartment is. One of the earliest scenes in the film has the camera slowly pan through Patrick’s swanky apartment. We don’t even see Patrick yet. The stylized art, the completely white design, the cleanliness of it all. This is us vicariously viewing Patrick’s existence for the first time. At night, however, lies something quite different. When Patrick isn’t busy commenting on colleagues attire or hero worshipping affluent celebrities (Donald Trump is mentioned as one of these people in the film), he’s out murdering, torturing, raping, eating, and all in all terrorizing other people. Patrick Bateman is one part yuppie scum, one part brutal serial killer. He has murdered homeless people, women, old girlfriends, coworkers. He kills, rapes, and tortures indiscriminately. Those who anger him or those he is envious of are especially targeted. Those who he sees an inferior (a lot of people you might guess) are also victims. It is implied that his crimes become more brutal and graphic and he begins to lose his sanity. He is seen apparently eating one of his longtime friends during sex and later tries to bite a prostitute who had joined them that night. During his tearful phone confession to his lawyer, he admits eating some of his victims brains and trying to cook a little. All in all, he ends up confessing to the murder of 20-40 homeless people, his ex-girlfriend, a model he met in Central Park, a homeless man and his dog, and especially Paul Allen (A lot of these are not shown in the film as they were described in the novel alone). In the end, Patrick attempts to cure himself of his psychotic behavior. However, nobody believes him. His lawyer thinks he’s playing a prank. Nobody hears him admitting to dissecting girls or for his love of murders and executions (heard as mergers and acquisitions). Patrick is right back where he started at the beginning. His blood lust remains, likely stronger than ever. All he can think about is harming other people and inflicting as much pain as possible. He knows he can get away with it forever. However, he is not content with this. He does not feel any better realizing this. He has made a complete 180 and it is left ambiguous on purpose where he is going from there. The movie ends on this ambiguous note.

Analysis

American Psycho is a film that is far more that what is presented on-screen. It is a movie that has sparked countless debates on what it all meant. What was the point of everything that had happened? If Patrick ends up right where he started, why were any of these events even relevant? For me, most of my love for this film comes from these answers I’ve discovered. As I’ve watched and rewatched over and over, I feel I learn something new every viewing. I’ve come to very solid conclusions about what I took away from this film. Here, I will be comprehensively analyzing the entire film, using nearly every single scene to generate as much evidence as possible for my claims. I will attempt to leave no evidence or points of analysis/interpretation behind. After this section, I’ll be going into my personal reasons for ranking this as my number one film, though the analysis plays a big part of that love. Anyway, let’s get into it.

Satire Of Late 80’s Excessiveness Through Dark Comedy

 

Bret Easton Ellis had one critique in mind when writing the source material of the film. He wanted to comment on yuppie culture and excessive greed present on Wall Street in the Late 1980’s. He derided the shallow aspects of capitalism and believed that a continuance of this lifestyle would lead to moral and social decay of society.

The film version utilizes the same techniques to establish this message, albeit to a much less violent and gruesome extent. Both works are effective satires of the time period and location they are trying to satirizing. The world of American Psycho is one that is an almost complete lack of subtlety. In fact, it sets to demonstrate the opposite, wherein everything is over the top, in your face, and to the extreme. Mary Harron wanted a visual experience of excess that would end up so ridiculous and out of touch with reality, it could never exist. Perhaps more importantly, the film wanted to be very humorous in a dark comedy kind of way.  Successful satires are often quite comedic, making you laugh in a way where you’re thinking about why you laughed at something rather than letting you remain laughing at something with little substance. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with laughing at what you please. I’m merely arguing that it takes talent to incite laughter from a generally uncomfortable subject. Let’s examine the ways in which the film effectively accomplishes this goal.

The very first scene takes place in an upscale restaurant. Waiters are going over the food selection in great detail. We’re able to understand that this is a high-class establishment for only the very wealthy. Here we meet Patrick Bateman and his friend group. One of them, Van Patten, remarks out bluntly and matter-of-factly that there’s not a good bathroom to do cocaine in. The final bill ends up as $570, which is declared reasonable by the group. Inherently, this shouldn’t be laugh out loud hilarious. So, why do I find it funny? Because, to put it simply, it’s ridiculous.

Quick reminder that this scene was literally the first 5 minutes after the opening title. The entire film bases its satire and dark humor around being ridiculous and outlandish. Subtlety is not key (though there are many cases of subtlety being used in the film I will explore later). Patrick firmly and clearly admits to his fiancée, “Because I want to fit in”, after she asks why he doesn’t quit his job.  Later on at dinner with Paul Allen, Patrick states, “I like to dissect girls. Did you know I’m utterly insane?” The look on his face is almost matter-of-factly. As if it’s something you would say during a speed dating session. Of course, Paul is too drunk to notice or care. Like the previous quote, it goes unmentioned and unacknowledged. This culture is incredibly blunt and in your face, but it doesn’t matter. Nobody is listening. They’re too involved in their own selfish lives that they don’t react or respond. Patrick is allowed to get away with being blunt and in your face. At an early scene in the club, Patrick loudly proclaims to the bartender, “You’re a fucking ugly bitch. I wanna stab you to death and play around with your blood”. She does not hear and it’s almost as if Patrick is saying this to himself. Perhaps it’s more cathartic in this case to loudly insult someone you know can’t hear you or won’t listen. Which brings up an interesting point. Is this culture of excessiveness and bluntness trying to find its identity and reach out? Maybe these so-called selfish people just want to be heard. Personally, I feel the film is somewhat sympathetic to the same people it’s trying to critique. Maybe they’re trapped in their materialistic culture while desperately trying to get out. The film certainly makes the case for this.

Throughout the film, Patrick is often ignored, misheard, and misinterpreted. The model hears his love for murders and executions as mergers and acquisitions. Luis sees Patrick carrying the suspicious looking bag but merely asks where he obtained it. The most relevant example is the ending phone confession and subsequent discussion with his lawyer. His lawyer initially assumes the whole voicemail was a huge prank and takes it lightly (he doesn’t even recognize Patrick Bateman and calls him Davis. More on this later). Even when pushed by Patrick, his lawyer states that the confession can’t be true because Paul Allen is still alive, having dined with him in London a week before. Everything comes to a head for Patrick after this revelation. His final words ring as the movie ends.

“There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused, and my utter indifference towards it, I have now surpassed. My pain is constant and sharp, and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape. But even after admitting this, there is no catharsis. My punishment continues to elude me, and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself. No new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing”.

The final scene shows a sign displaying “This is not an exit” in the background. Patrick is right back where he started. He tried his best to tell people of his psychopathy. His narration to us as the audience fruitfully described his mask of sanity slipping, whether directly or indirectly. His final monologue is one final confession to us about his desire to cause and inflict pain as much as possible. There is no going back. He does not tell us this as a way to reach out and escape his culture. He knows he is right back where he started and that all his efforts to “fit in” were fruitless. His confession meant nothing because he knew nobody was listening. There is no exit out of this lifestyle. I have an interesting interpretation about this revelation. I won’t assert whether it’s absolutely right or completely wrong, but I feel it’s never been mentioned in interpreting this film.

It seems Patrick is doomed to be the deranged yuppie serial killer we had come to discover in the film. He will never be punished, and as a result, will never change or gain deeper knowledge of himself, thus growing as a person. “This confession has meant nothing” has a totally different meaning when approaching this theme from a different angle. Perhaps Patrick is finally content with his life and the culture he participates in. Perhaps it is fate that Patrick will continue to live this life exactly how he has been. It must be more than a stroke of luck that he has continued to elude punishment. Thus, this confession is utterly meaningless. It is meaningless because what he has done and what he will continue to do is right for me and for society around him. A better word may be an epiphany or a revelation in this instance. Patrick Bateman is meant to be the chaos in a meticulous, rigorously structured, shallow society. Perhaps others like him are experiencing the same things. The only thing to break this society out of its current state, then, is disruption through chaos. The same unsubtle and over the top chaos that has been permeating it for some time. For Patrick, there may not be an exit, but for his world, he might be its exit.

Conformity & Individuality 

When watching this film, a viewer might sense a feeling of homogeneity in the film. That is, an extreme lack of diversity and a large proportion of likeness. Certainly, that’s how the society within the film is intended to be portrayed as. Patrick and his social group act virtually identical. They share the same positions at the same division within the same company. Fitting in and being comfortable with complacency are big themes in the movie, no doubt about that. This begs the question, how does Patrick stand out within the universe of the film? Why is Patrick the focus of the character study if he’s just like everyone else? Sure, we know he’s actually a serial killer and we won’t just assume everyone else is. What’s more important, however, is to understand how one can obtain individuality through conformity. In this case, how Patrick can stand out so significantly beyond the whole “serial killer by night” distinction. First, I will discuss the overarching desire of conformity in this world and how it might or might not be broken. Let’s discuss.

I already mentioned how everybody in this shallow society seem identical, so let’s back it up. One very noticeable trend that occurs multiple times in the movie is a case of mistaken identity. In the very first scene, Craig McDermott mistakenly calls one of the diners by the wrong name (Mason). He is correct by Timothy Bryce who says that the person is actually Paul Allen. However, then Patrick Bateman correct Bryce and says that this person isn’t Paul Allen either. He points to another diner elsewhere and claims that this person is really Paul Allen. However, based on the decent glimpse we get of this person and when we discover later who Paul Allen really is, Patrick is also mistaken. That’s 3 cases of mistaken identity within the first 5 minutes.

I will briefly mention each occurrence of mistaken identity. Paul Allen thinks Patrick is actually Marcus Halberstram. Patrick’s coworker Hamilton calls Patrick “McCoy” at the Christmas party. During the famous business card scene, Paul Allen thanks Craig McDermott but calls him “Baxter”. While out and about with his friends at a bar, Patrick mentions serial killer Ed Gein, whom David Van Patten mistakenly refers to as the maitre D’ at Canal Bar (somewhat different but the confusion remains relevant to the argument). Patrick’s friend Elizabeth says “Paul Normand” after Patrick tells her to use the name Paul Allen. During Patrick’s rampage, the doorman refers to Patrick as “Mr. Smith”, almost as if he knows him. Finally, Patrick’s lawyer Harry Carnes thinks Patrick is someone named “Davis” before Patrick insists he is Bateman. Though not related to mistaken identity, it’s also worth nothing Patrick gives names to both prostitutes he hires, Christy and Sabrina, and only refers to them by these names. We never learn their real names. As mentioned previously, it seems that Patrick and all of those with similar social status are essentially the same person. I personally believe that they genuinely don’t know they are getting their names wrong because they don’t know any better. It’s easy to get people mixed up in a homogenous culture like this.

Patrick and his friends pride themselves on having the best business cards. One scene devotes itself to fawning over each other’s cards in a display of pure vanity. What’s the kicker? You’ll notice that there is very little difference in the cards. They all contain the same type except for their individual names. They are all Vice President at Pierce & Pierce working in Mergers & Acquisitions. There’s little difference when it comes to texture, font color, lettering, borders, and so on. However, it is apparent only to this group how superior one’s card is to the other. Their desire to have the best card is intentionally laughable. How appropriate is it that these characters recognize these nearly identical cards as completely different, but don’t see themselves as near identical as well?

Patrick’s music taste is a vital aspect in understanding this section’s claim. We know how obsessively he tends to rant about music. On the surface, it’s merely off-putting and somewhat out-of-place. But what’s the relevance of the music he listens to? To answer this, we need to examine who he listens to and why. First, he discusses Huey Lewis and The News. He praises them for their comments on the importance of trends in their music. Specifically, Hip To Be Square is a personal favorite of Patrick’s, for good reason. As Patrick axes Paul Allen, we can clearly hear the lyrics playing over the scene.

“I like my bands in business suits, I watch them on TV
I’m working out ‘most everyday and watching what I eat
They tell me that it’s good for me, but I don’t even care
I know that it’s crazy
I know that it’s nowhere
But there is no denying that
It’s hip to be square”

The second line directly parallels Patrick’s remark about his daily routine of working out and eating well. The line after reflects the attitude Patrick Bateman most likely carries. He doesn’t workout and eat well to be healthy. He does it to look good and impress people with his physique. Patrick knows it’s crazy and pointless to obsess over such things, but like the song, it’s the cool thing to do these things. Being as boring and predictable and cliché as possible is what’s in. Patrick strongly identifies with this song.

The next musical reference is Phil Collins. Patrick goes on another long diatribe about Phil Collins and Genesis while bizarrely instructing the prostitutes to do various acts. He notes that before Phil Collins, he didn’t enjoy Genesis’ apparent intellectual and artsy style. Of course, once they become more mainstream with Phil Collins, he found their music a lot more relatable. Patrick can probably understand Genesis’ older thought-provoking music, he simply chooses not to. It’s easier to fit in and talk about music when everybody else likes the same stuff. Patrick stresses his admiration for Phil Collins’ solo career, in which he furthered himself as more of a mainstream artist (and I stress the word “artist”).

Lastly, he brings up Whitney Houston while casually watching two women make out on his couch. He is clearly more focused on discussing the success of Whitney’s debut LP. Elizabeth makes fun of him for listening to Whitney Houston and questions if he’s being serious, being the first time somebody actually noticed the type of music Patrick would listen to. Of course, Patrick goes on about Whitney’s career, showing his admiration for her songs based around monogamy and true love. This intentionally ironic statement from Patrick, who couldn’t be further from monogamous, is meant to demonstrate the lack of genuine feelings Patrick has towards the music he listens to. This itself is the main point of this particular characterization of Patrick. All three artists listed are usually seen as generic, shallow & soulless music that’s popular in the mainstream. A lot of people listen to it, but merely for the sake of listening to it. There’s little meaning in the lyrics from the artists. Arguably, some of these lyrics are intentionally meaningless and generic to visualize how easy it is to appeal to the average music listener without actual depth. Patrick is not a victim of this trend, though. He knows what soulless garbage he listens to. He just listens to it because everybody else does. He wants to fit in with his music style. He rants and lectures about it to make himself seem intelligent and well versed in the field. He intentionally uses superfluous and hyperbolic language to describe his love and feelings for the music to make it sound like he has something insightful to say. The people listening to him either don’t know any better or are too intoxicated to say much. Once again, Patrick achieves a smug sense of individuality and superiority by falsely hyping up music that should not be hyped up as such. Just another vain effort to relate to “the mainstream” and get on their level, while ironically coming across with a superiority complex.

So how does Patrick stand out within this identical society? Well, let’s think about what we’ve seen in the film with Patrick. Since the film is a character study on Patrick, we’ve mainly seen his interactions with those around him. We’ve seen his interactions with his peers, but also we’ve seen his interactions with those outside of his selfish culture. We see him interact with Jean, Detective Kimball, prostitutes, models, random people on the street. What does this mean in comparison to the rest of his peers? I mean sure, we can assume his peers have interacted with “normal” people as well, but we rarely see this. If anything, Patrick and his peers will interact with others as well with different results.

I believe the most obvious evidence of this is Patrick’s relationship with his secretary Jean. Throughout the entire film, it is strongly suggested Jean is the only one to truly care about Patrick. She seems in love with him and spends a lot of effort trying to help him or just talk to him. On the flip side, we figure that Patrick only truly cares about Jean as well. The issue is, he isn’t good at expressing this at all. He’s used to caring about material things and routines rather than relationships and emotions. To him, people are used to keep up social appearances and appear as someone important and well liked. Patrick is awkward and unintentionally offensive towards Jean. When he berates Jean to dress prettier on multiple occasions, he’s speaking to her in his own language. This is his way of complimenting her on a shallow level and a way of lightly suggesting how she could reach even more of her potential, in terms of physical attractiveness. To Jean, Patrick is insulting her plain and ugly wardrobe but since she likes Patrick so much, she takes it in stride. What’s interesting about their dynamic is that it becomes clear Jean is very sexually and physically attracted to Patrick as well. One might argue that her infatuation isn’t rooted in genuine care but rather sexual desire or a desire to become part of Patrick’s society. Personally, I don’t agree with this assertion. Jean became Patrick’s secretary and started to idolize him and yes, did gain a sort of crush on him. However, the way she talks to him in her tone shows me that she is truly looking out for her boss. She seems more saddened than disgusted when she discovers Patrick’s horrifying drawings. Even after being rejected romantically, she still shows concern over the phone when Patrick is in the midst of his mental breakdown. As for Patrick’s perspective, well, to put it bluntly, Jean is as close as Patrick has ever gotten to a normal life. That is, normal society that isn’t ravaged by greed and narcissism. Patrick cared for her genuinely as a way of vicariously living and experience healthy thoughts and emotions. He wanted to kill her but that would be the same as killing his opportunity of escape. In the end, he cares for Jean as a person too much to attempt to end her existence in hopes of a better one for him. Signs of selflessness appear in Patrick, but they do not last long.

Patrick’s encounter with the homeless man is the earliest example of an interaction with a non-elite. His choice of words and tone are quite out-of-place. He makes a reference to insider trading and seems baffled why the homeless mad doesn’t just get a job. He even offers false hope in promising to help the man, but is really moving into kill mode. Essentially, he gave up on trying to relate to the man and decided he would just end his life and move on. The homeless man did not really offer Patrick a way into a normal life, however. This was a case of an extremely nonideal life for anyone to live. Patrick recognizes this and quickly escapes. Another big example are his interactions with Donald Kimball. Aside from Jean, Kimball is clearly the most adjusted and thriving member of the society Patrick wants to be in. Patrick acts nervous and unintentionally suspicious around him. He tries to be funny and insists on giving Kimball drinks even when Kimball politely refuses. He realizes his defense mechanisms don’t work on Kimball, spiraling him further into uncertainty and paranoia. Kimball, aside from Jean, arguably has the biggest impact on Patrick’s decision to escape his current mindset and lifestyle. It’s uncertain whether Kimball truly believes Patrick is Paul Allen’s killer. For their first interview, Mary Harron had Donald Kimball actor Willem Dafoe doe the scene in three separate ways. For one, Kimball was sure Patrick didn’t do it. For another, Kimball was suspicious but not certain that Patrick did it. For that last, Kimball was absolutely certain Patrick did it. Harron combined footage from the three and edited them into the one scene that appears in the movie. Thus, Kimball and Patrick’s relationship remains ambiguous as to whether Kimball is out to get Patrick or believes something entirely and has Patrick’s back.  When Detective Kimball arrives for a second time, Patrick is thrown off his track. It appears that Kimball sees through all of Patrick’s bullshit, but doesn’t acknowledge it. He could have known Patrick looked suspicious but let him play it out in order to get Patrick to admit it on his own. Near the end, Kimball mentions being a fan of Huey Lewis and The News. He asks Patrick if he’s a fan and Patrick denies such after a bit of hesitation. Kimball is trying to relate to something that we know Patrick loves . Patrick’s defense mechanism is to prevent any connections between him and Kimball. To Kimball, Huey Lewis and The News is casual listening. We, however, know Patrick obsesses over his music and does not want to give any of his character away to the detective. I would go as far to say that Kimball was one of the movie’s main antagonists, in terms of Patrick’s perspective. He intimidates and flusters Patrick the most out of any other character, even though Kimball seems like a genuinely friendly guy. To Patrick, however, Kimball is his ultimate downfall and his main obstacle between beating his violent tendencies and falling deeper into insanity.

The next major example are his interactions with the prostitutes he hires and also the blonde model in the club. The prostitutes are introduced to Patrick’s way of life through his large sums of money, fancy apartments, and expensive drinks and accessories. They are noticeably uncomfortable with all of these, to Patrick’s chagrin. He becomes visibly annoyed when they show no interest in what he does for a living. They stay away from the expensive alcohol Patrick has poured for them. Patrick attempts to make small talk and seem charming but really comes across as creepy and pushy. Christy and Sabrina are likely able to recognize Patrick’s life as fake and manipulative, and are thus reluctant to participate in it. Even the allure of money isn’t as convincing once their second encounter occurs. Patrick has to bring in his equally shallow and wealthy friend Elizabeth and what a surprise, Christy cannot relate to her at all. Obviously, Patrick has no desire to escape into a society populated by these prostitutes. It’s clear he demeans them and looks down on them as mere sex toys for his pleasure. Unfortunately for him, his attempts to relate and appeal to those outside his circle fail once more. They are just tests for him to practice being relatable and down to Earth.

In regards to the model he meets at the club, it looks like things are going well on the surface. The model admits to liking Patrick and feeling strangely connected to him. My interpretation is that this model is really part of a shallow society like Patrick. As a would be stereotypical model, she values looks and attention over meaningful connections. Unlike the prostitutes who refused, she asks Patrick what he does for a living. She’s interested in people’s wealth and social status. Thus, upon further inspection, we realize this model is not outside Patrick’s social circle, but at the same time isn’t exactly a part of it either. Perhaps Patrick realizes this at some point and thus kills her off-screen. No reason is given for why he killed her. I think it’s safe to say that once he received his sexual gratification, he tossed her aside by killing her, relieving the pleasure by crunching a piece of her hair back and forth the next day.

One last example is a brief scene near the beginning. Patrick, Evelyn, Timothy, Luis, Courtney, Evelyn’s cousin and her boyfriend meet to have dinner. This is the first time Patrick has met Evelyn’s cousin and her boyfriend and they appear to be part of the goth culture, very different from Patrick’s. During the night, Bryce goes on a rant about how certain events in the world don’t affect their group and culture and that there are other important things to worry about. Patrick quickly cuts in to oppose Bryce, explaining, “Well, we have to end apartheid for one. And slow down the nuclear arms race, stop terrorism and world hunger. We have to provide food and shelter for the homeless, and oppose racial discrimination and promote civil rights, while also promoting equal rights for women. We have to encourage a return to traditional moral values. Most importantly, we have to promote general social concern and less materialism in young people.” At this last part, Bryce chokes on his water laughing. Even he sees how incredulous such a statement sounds like coming from Patrick. Herein lines the point of this scene. Patrick is attempting to seem genuine and caring about issues and people, because that’s what’s been told is the right thing to feel. It doesn’t matter if you truly believe in it or actually do something about it. It’s easy to relate to “normal” society if you appeal to their emotions. There’s no substance in his words and he knows it. He believes that if he comes across as how one in society should act, it’ll get him closer to becoming a part of it. His need to escape his current society outweighs any desire to truly reform as a person.

So, what have we learned about Patrick through his interactions with people? What sets him apart from the rest of the society he lives in? Well, in my view, I believe Patrick shows more desire to escape his culture than anyone else in it. He is frustrated and tired with how things are going. He breaks up with Evelyn simply because he can’t keep the facade going. Just another step in the process of purging himself of his psychopathy and entering the “real world”. His attempts to relate to others and impress them go from simply bragging about his current lifestyle to attempting to becoming one of them. The homeless man was merely a means of venting frustration. Patrick got to gloat about how rich and successful he was and achieved pleasure in goading the homeless man into temporarily idolizing him. Initially, his interactions with Jean were short and rude. He craved the attention and virtually got off on it. When Detective Kimball arrived, he was thrown off his track. It appeared that Kimball saw through all of Patrick’s bullshit, but didn’t acknowledge it. He could have known Patrick looked suspicious but let him play it out in order to get Patrick to admit it on his own. In their second encounter, Kimball mentions being a fan of Huey Lewis and The News. He asks Patrick if he’s a fan and Patrick denies so, after a bit of hesitation. Kimball is trying to relate to something that we know Patrick loves. Patrick’s defense mechanism is to keep any connection between him and Kimball broken. To Kimball, Huey Lewis and The News is casual listening. We know Patrick obsesses over music like this and does not want to give any of his character away to the detective. I would go as far to say that Kimball was one of the movie’s main antagonists, in terms of Patrick’s perspective. Without reiterating my points about Patrick’s interactions with the prostitutes, I will conclude that the evidence to support my claim that only Patrick seemed to desire to escape his culture far outweighs any lack of information or ambiguity supporting any of his cohorts.

I will mention, though, that I believe someone comes quite close. It wasn’t apparent to me at first, but after analyzing this character’s actions, behaviors, and personality, someone can make a case for Luis Carruthers not truly fitting in. He is described as the biggest “doofus in the industry” by Patrick himself. Patrick loathes Luis, possibly because Luis is fairly different, even though he works as the same position in the same division of the same company as the rest. It’s obvious Luis stands out among this group. His admiration of Patrick’s disingenuous tirade comes to mind first. The lack of respect he receives from everyone, including his own fiancée, suggests to me that he secretly doesn’t buy into a lot of the crap they spew.  When Patrick freaks out over Paul Allen’s business card, Luis is the only one to notice something wrong and ask if he’s ok. Later, Luis gets a new business card and attempts to show it off the same way everyone else had earlier, to a lukewarm reception. This pisses Patrick off and he wants to kill Luis, but eventually decides he can’t. Why? In my view, Patrick may have realized how different Luis was and how he should have belonged to a more “normal” society like Patrick wanted. It appeared to me that Luis said whatever he wanted to and that he wasn’t bound by this selfish society’s pressure to conform and stay silent and be cold and emotionless. His obvious love for Patrick is always hinted at until he confesses it himself. At the end of the day, it’s hard to say what was going on with Luis due to the lack of focus on his character. He was in maybe 10-15 minutes of the entire movie? I won’t come to any conclusions about Luis’s conformity, individuality, or the lack thereof.

Patrick Bateman is the ultimate individualist among conformists in the film. That might be super obvious as he is the main character and focus, but it’s important to understand his character aside from the obvious. We already know Patrick kills. We know he looks down on people. We know how insecure and jealous he can be. What we should want to know is what influenced Patrick to desire to combat his criminal ways, so to speak. We should want to know why he ultimately ended up failing in escaping his culture. At the end of the film, does it really matter? He’s apparently doomed to be stuck as a conformist forever. But as I mentioned before, is that really such a bad thing for Patrick?

Ambiguity, Detachment, & Disillusionment

There’s no question that the constant debate around the film revolves around its intended ambiguity. The film ends on a sort of cliffhanger for many viewers. “That’s it? What’s he gonna do now?” Let me just address the elephant in the room. “Did Patrick really commit all of those murders? Were they all in these head? If neither, how many were real and how many were delusions?” This is the biggest topic of debate regarding the film. Many people have different observations. Some people think their answer is 100% right, no argument. Some people think none of the popular arguments are right. What do I think? Before I answer, let me explain what the author of the novel and the director believe.

Bret Easton Ellis and Mary Harron both said their intentions were never to assert that Patrick didn’t kill a single person and that he was completely nuts. Patrick Bateman did horrible things in both book and movie. The extent of what he did, is certainly up for debate. I will be offering my own perspective on this with as much detail as possible. I’ll discuss what I believe really happened and also how the themes were illustrated.

Let’s get this out of the way. Patrick Bateman killed a lot of people. He killed all of those homeless people. He killed the blonde model. He killed his friend Elizabeth. He killed Paul Allen. What he didn’t do in reality was attempt to feed an ATM a stray cat, or shoot a random woman, or blow up police cars, or shoot a doorman and a janitor. He did, however, leave the confession voicemail on his lawyer’s answering machine. Let’s go into detail

Patrick really did kill and rape and torture a lot of people. That’s integral to the main points of the film. Patrick got away with all of his heinous crimes because nobody gave a fuck enough to investigate. Their own lives were more important and since they requires such focus and attention to detail, nobody noticed. I’ve already discussed the inherent selfishness, the mistaken identity, the miscommunication between characters. Patrick killed the blonde model because she was expendable. Plenty of hot blonde models in this culture. Patrick killed Paul Allen and got away with it. Patrick’s lawyer Harry did not dine with Paul in London, he just thought he did. Paul Allen was mistaken the most for someone else out of anyone else in the film. The first scene makes it so that you know that somebody else was mistaken as Paul Allen. You just didn’t understand its relevance until later. Patrick killed both Elizabeth and Christy. The scene in which Patrick chases Christy with a chainsaw and magically drops it on her perfectly accurate is very silly and preposterous, for sure. I am of the opinion that Patrick killed her either the first time or in another unspecified way. The whole chainsaw bit, the discovery of the bodies, the “Die Yuppie Scum” on the wall were all delusions or hallucinations of Patrick’s. The entirety of Patrick’s climactic rampage was completely delusional minus the phone call. I remember when I first watched the film and wondered to myself, “This guy just took out a bunch of cops and some random people and they never found him? They even had the helicopter light on him and he just got away”. Over time I realized how it was a manic induced delusion. In my opinion, the sheer ridiculoness and over the top unlikelihood of it all was a way for Patrick to try to purge his system of his evil feelings. This is why he immediately calls his lawyer to confess after it all happens. Perhaps in his mania, his subconscious created this overly violent and gruesome scenario as a way for Patrick to realize where he was going with his crimes. This is portrayed as the climactic tipping point of Patrick’s sanity, but it only occurs in his head as a last-ditch effort by his conscious/soul/guilt/subconscious to get him out of this mindset. At first, Patrick does not realize this. The next morning, he goes to Paul Allen’s apartment to literally clean up his mess, only to find it’s already been cleaned for him. The realtor there dismisses Patrick’s claims and suspiciously tells him to leave. There’s a theory that the realtor herself discovered the bodies and cleaned it up in order to preserve a sale on an expensive property. It would not be surprising seeing as the movie wants you to understand the large selfishness and greed people possess. Another theory is that Patrick’s lawyer actually did help him out by cleaning up his mess and covering up his crimes. He took the voicemail seriously and when Patrick confronted him in person, tried to play it off as a joke in order to not implicate his client and maintain his innocence. While both of these are certainly valid and interesting, I personally believe all of that carnage that Patrick thought would be there was never there in the first place. During the scene when Christy was running around and saw a lot of bizarre stuff, I feel the filmmakers wanted US as audience members to feel like we were seeing things, like we were in the mind of Patrick and this was how he was starting to interpret things. Patrick had killed many more people than shown in the movie and thus probably had experience and knowledge in disposing of bodies. The only victims Patrick is shown killing at Paul Allen’s apartment are Elizabeth and Christy. So, where did all the bodies and carnage come from? Did he store victims there? It seems plausible, but very impractical and unlikely.

Another thing worth mentioning is that I do believe 100% Patrick had the nail gun up to Jean’s head and was prepared to kill her. Based on that scene alone and what we know about Patrick and Jean’s relationship, Patrick was likely in a clear state of mind at the time. His desire to kill was still there, but he stalled and delayed the actual killing. He conversed with Jean and acted like a “normal” person. Patrick was very close to the threshold between psychopath killer and functioning conversationalist. Ultimately, a surprise intervention from Evelyn left him more so in the normal state, but close enough to where he could slip into a killer at any time. Hence, he urged Jean to get out before the negativity overpowered his compassion.

Consider one of my favorite scenes in the film: when Patrick breaks up with his fiance Evelyn. After finally understand the scope of things, Evelyn tells Patrick, “You’re inhuman”, to which Patrick quickly replies, “No, I’m in touch with humanity”. There is a sheen of desperation in his voice as he says this. Even he has to convince himself out loud that he’s in touch with reality and not slipping away. Evelyn’s comment made him quite noticeably defensive and flustered. When someone as detached as Evelyn calls you inhuman, it must be fairly eye-opening.

I also want to bring up something I did not notice until a recent viewing. A subtle moment identifying Patrick’s entire character arc throughout the film up to that point. Near the end, Patrick is having a panic attack and calls Jean from a payphone. They have a bizarre conversation where Patrick is clearly losing. Jean remains calm and mentions that his friends want to meet up for drinks later and asks Patrick what she should tell them. He yells, “JUST SAY NO!” into the phone, scaring Jean. If we go back to a very early part of the film, we have a basic scene where Patrick arrives to his office and Jean starts going over his schedule for the day. Jean mentions he was invited to dinner with someone, which Patrick tells her he does not want to go. Jean asks what she should say and Patrick replies, “Just say no”. The same exact thing he says to Jean in the phone-booth. However, in the first instance, he says that phrase calmly and cooly. The sharp distinction between calm & cool and loud and desperate is a fitting representation of the character development and arc Patrick had undergone over the course of the film. This usage is not apparent at all unless you’ve seen the movie enough like yours truly to realize what was said both times was the same thing, just in two different manners. In a movie packed with lack of subtlety and tact, I give props to the film for incorporating some nuanced character change.

All in all, I believe American Psycho’s ambiguous ending was the perfect way to end the film. Viewers aren’t sure whether they should be worried for Patrick, worried for more potential victims, or that they shouldn’t be worried at all because things would remain exactly the same.

Patrick Bateman is both detached and disillusioned with his social circle and the society they inhabit. His psychopathic ways are a means of lashing out and expressing his desire to become something else. At first, he is in denial, and thus murders and rapes to take his frustration and anger out on those he perceives as threats. Each victim is a glimpse into the life he eventually realizes he could have. Even Paul Allen, who lives a more affluent, egotistical, and shallow lifestyle than anybody else. Patrick kills Paul to effectively keep denying how fucked up their culture they live in is. Patrick loathed Paul Allen at first for being more successful than him. In my opinion, however, Patrick may have killed Paul while secretly admonishing Paul for encouraging and spreading the decadent lifestyle he had come to hate. He probably didn’t realize it at first, but eventually, Paul’s death became the most significant for Patrick. “I killed Paul Allen…and I liked it” he tells his lawyer, gloating and taking pleasure in the fact. How many of his other murders could Patrick say he really liked? To him, they were just easy ways of relieving temporary stress and increasing his own denial. Think of Paul Allen as a final boss in a video game. He’s at the top of the world, clearly in charge of everyone else. He’s the apex predator of Patrick’s society. His actions and attitudes directly contributed to the fall of normal society and the rise of shallow society. People worshipped him and idolized him like a God. Only Patrick saw him as a false prophet, as a final boss to beat. Though Paul Allen’s murder occurs before several murders, his has the most impact on the plot. The investigation into his disappearance is the most conventional aspect of the story and the most influential on Patrick’s sanity. After he kills Paul Allen, he begins to become more “free”. He interacts more with non-elite people. His sanity begins to slip, but this is just the cleansing part of his spirit. You have to be broken down to be able to rise up stronger than ever. The final boss of this cruel society was gone.  Maybe someday he would be replaced. The film certainly argues that there’s no difference among the residents of this society and that anybody could be this alpha male type and society would remain the same. This interpretation doesn’t concern itself with that aspect. American Psycho is first and foremost, a character study. The film manages to explore the depth of Patrick Bateman’s psyche better than I could have ever asked for. A movie that entertained me with a completely unlikable character, then made me gradually more sympathetic for him as the movie progressed. I began to think of who Patrick really was as a character. Who was he intended to represent in reality? The messages the film brought forth over consumerism, capitalism, selfishness, and so on were very clear and well done. I do, believe, under the surface, the film had something to say about characters. I won’t go as far to say as the film wants to be optimistic. I still firmly believe the film’s ambiguous storytelling, morals, and ending are perfect the way they are. Perhaps we’re supposed to wonder how much Patrick Bateman relates to us. Not in the sick and twisted way obviously, but on a deeper level. Are we living among people who we can’t stand? Yet, why do we still crave their attention and acceptance anyway? How far would we go to escape society and live among those who better you and help you grow? How do you know what society is best for you?

My two cents: Patrick Bateman is a tragic anti-hero. I will never condone the things he did or things other people did similar to his. Those types of things are only detrimental in real life. It was never Easton’s intention to glorify violence and encourage it. Violence and graphic content was merely the vessel for a point, or many points. Sure, we could try to get you to understand by being safe and nice and not stepping out of our comfort zone. Or we could demonstrate our feelings and critiques by shoving them in your face and being uncompromising. Ellis and Harron believed that by portraying the ridiculous and absurd, more people would become aware of the true ridiculous and absurd. Could society be so fucked up that it drove someone or some people to commit horrible acts? Maybe we as people would be more likely to reflect and ponder issues that inhabit our livelihoods. Perhaps they weren’t as apparent before we were exposed to them in such a shocking manner. Otherwise, would we have even noticed? Or even cared? “No worries, I’m safe here in my comfort zone. I’m complacent with my role in society. There’s nothing wrong with excess or greed or violence or selfishness because I’m not THAT affected”.

At the end of the day, I’m not attempting to bring about social change or start a revolution with this essay. All I wanted to do was talk about a film I love and what I think it meant, and what it meant to me. Thinking about film and really analyzing it is a true passion of mine that hopefully I will be able to pass onto people one day. I poses many rhetorical and hypothetical questions in this essay on purpose in hopes of inciting many different answers. I don’t claim that all claims of mine are 100% fact. It’s the beauty of leaving things up to debate. I would highly encourage debate for anything like this. Films are meant to be talked about and discussed and analyzed. I love hearing new interpretations on things I’d never heard before. Even for this film, I discovered new possible interpretations I had never considered myself. Some I even believe very strongly now.  If anything, even if you don’t agree with what the film was arguing or what I’m arguing and interpreting, all I would want is for you to understand the importance of putting effort into your passions as I’ve done here. At best, I hope you’ve come to gain a new understanding of the film and that I’ve truly opened your eyes to many different things. I’m looking forward to doing this more in the future so hopefully this was a quality piece of writing.

My Own Objective & Subjective Observations

Thus ends the lengthy and extensive analysis part of the essay. No more theme interpretations, analysis of character moments, or anything of the sort. I believe I have covered every possible track with what I wanted to talk about. Now, I offer my views on the film from both objective and subjective perspectives. I believe both are important things to consider when rating a film. Neither is more important than the other, although if one were to subjectively enjoy an objectively terrible film (AKA guilty pleasures), who am I to take that away from someone? Enjoy the films you want to enjoy. Don’t let anybody take that away from you. Anyways, here are my thoughts.

Objectively

For a movie without a huge budget or big name talent at the helm, the technical aspects of this film are absolutely fantastic. Ok honestly, regardless of budget or talent, this movie was very well put together. To this day, Christian Bale’s performance as Patrick Bateman is the greatest performance I’ve ever seen on film. This performance alone deserved 10 Oscars, let alone one. When you become the character so accurately, it’s hard not to recognize talent and hard work. To this day, it’s difficult to see Christian Bale and not see Patrick Bateman. I’m happy to say that everybody in this film is pretty excellent. Chloe Sevigny as Jean is excellent and really captures the timid and reserved girl well. Jared Leto as Paul Allen is the perfect combination of cocky swagger & austere confidence. Reese Witherspoon as Evelyn Williams is great as a socialite obsessed with extravagance and her over-the-top fashion sense. Patrick’s 3 main friends (Bryce, Van Patten, McDermott) do their best to give their nearly identical characters their own unique personalities and mannerisms. Willem Dafoe wasn’t in the film much as Donald Kimball but I feel he really came across as ambiguous when it came to his true perception of Patrick Bateman.

The film itself would not have worked without the genius screenplay by Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner (Fun fact: she plays Elizabeth in the film). Of course, I’ve read that most of the dialog was taken directly from the source novel, so I give props to Bret Easton Ellis for originally coming up with it. A screenplay that focused solely on the horror aspect and violence would not have worked at all, but the decision to go into the satirical route could not have been implemented better. Sharp dialog, hilarious dark humor, and lack of subtlety have cemented this as one of my most quotable movies. I was able to get my hands on the screenplay and finally read it in hopes of inspiring me and providing me with insight to apply to my own writing. This film has cult classic written (pun intended) all over it.

For an inexperienced and relatively unknown director, Mary Harron’s direction really went above and beyond. It’s easy to just frame a shot and shoot and then move on, but Harron had a vision. She understood the source material well and figured how it should translate into film. Certain sound effects, close-ups, focus on certain things, and many more creative decisions really make this film unique. I cannot praise this film enough for its originality and uniqueness when it comes to story and direction. The decision to let the viewer think and ponder over what they had seen was ultimately the right choice. Subversive material like this should never be so straight forward, and Harron knew what she was doing in making it different from most movies. It’s pretty sad that she’s looking to be a one hit wonder. None of her other films look particularly appealing and they haven’t received the best reviews. Oh well, if this is her legacy, then so be it. I can’t complain.

This movie is the closest movie I’ve seen to utterly flawless. The only issue I really have is pacing at times. Sometimes, I felt scenes were too short and that transitions from scene to scene weren’t the smoothest, but those are very minor nitpicks. Definitely not enough to significantly ruin the movie for me. Overall, a very well constructed film. I could tell those working on it really cared and put in the effort. It definitely showed.

Subjectively

I’ll be honest with you guys. Subjectively, I find American Psycho an absolutely flawless film. Utter perfection in my mind. No, I’m not exaggerating. People tend to use hyperbolic language when describing their favorite things, I get it. While objectively it is a 9.1/10, I have no qualms giving American Psycho a 10/10 subjective rating. It’s the only film I’ve ever rated a 10/10 subjectively (no film will ever be a 10/10 objectively, in my view). I’ve seen this film more than 15 times from start to finish and it has never waned in quality or entertainment factor. The film is the perfect length of about 102 minutes. Not too long and drawn out, not too short and rushed. I quote this film so often in everyday life, I’m sure it pisses off or confuses a lot of people I talk to. I’ve used the name Patrick Bateman for when I play online games anonymously. For me, American Psycho is a cultural phenomenon. I never knew I could become this invested in a film. I like plenty of other movies for sure, but I’ve easily spent the most time thinking about or analyzing or talking about this film. It’s been my number one film for a couple of years and for the time being, I see it remaining at the top for quite a while. I always recommend my friends watch American Psycho no matter what type of films they like the most. Never before have I watched such an outstanding achievement of satire, horror, dark comedy, character study, and thought-provoking intelligence all combined in one film. Anyway, I’ll stop gushing before it gets too out of hand.

Conclusion

Film is something I’ve become truly passionate about over the past couple years.  I’ve devoted a lot of time and effort into research and analysis for this essay. This is my first in-depth analysis so I decided to start with my favorite film. I had a lot to say as you can tell but I promise for other analysis/reviews, they will not be nearly as long. Of course, if you have any comments, questions, disagreements, constructive criticisms, compliments, requests, or if you feel I missed anything with this essay so I can add it, please feel free to let me know! That’s it for this cinematic essay. Thanks for reading!

Rating: 9.6/10