Controversy to Comedy
Easton Ellis' novel American Psycho inspired some of the
most scathing reviews in recent literary history and was summarily dismissed
as an offensive
insult to the American public on its release in 1991. During that year,
we were in a Capricorn cycle. Three outer planets (Saturn, Uranus and
Neptune) were all passing through the conservative, pro-money, anti-controversy
sign of the goat.
have changed. Now, in Y2K, Uranus and Neptune have moved on to Aquarius,
the most anti-materialistic, pro-controversy sign in the zodiac. And last
month, Mary Harron's (I Shot Andy
Warhol ) adaptation of the book about an '80s Wall Street sociopath
who values his Cerruti suits over the lives of the numerous people he
kills and dismembers, opens at theaters everywhere, and puts the spotlight
on its young British star, Christian Bale.
the character he plays, Patrick Bateman, has no empathy for anyone but
himself (this is part of a riff on empathy in the film, which Bateman
places in the context of the trite '80s Whitney Houston epic song, The
Greatest Love of All), Bale has no empathy for Bateman. In his
cover story in the April 13 issue of Time Out New York,
Bale describes how he felt inhabiting the psycho killer's mind and body
during the shooting period of the film: "Whilst Bateman's intelligent,
I see him as a dork. I found it quite hilarious, walking around, being
a prick 24 hours a day."
Bret Easton Ellis is going along with the "Bateman as laughable"
party line, now, but he certainly balked at the literati's skewering of
his book at the time of its release. Not everyone believes Ellis meant
his story to be as unthreatening and campy-style silly as Harron's film
presented it to be. In J. Hoberman's review of American Psycho
in the April 18 issue of The Village Voice, he writes: "She
(director Harron) treats the whole notion of a status-obsessed, fashion
enslaved yuppie engaged in Ed Gein-type ritual sex-killings as a joke—on
the author...Harron has deftly transformed the naughty-boy original into
the anti-masculinist satire Ellis claims it always was (the writer resembles
his creation in that no one believes his admissions)."
as Bateman: His Demons Revealed
Christian Bale, who became a teen idol after his break out kiddie performance
in Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun, followed by two
bizarre teen "musicals," Newsies and Swing Kids,
has gained adult actor status in the recent hip films Metroland
and Velvet Goldmine. Although in interviews Bale mocks Bateman,
his chart shows that under the most extreme of imagined circumstances
the actor could be just as crazy as the character he plays!
Sun, Mercury and Jupiter are all in Aquarius, a sign that at its most
unevolved can have extreme problems with intimacy and empathy. The "lower"
form of Aquarius looks at people more as bugs under a glass than as fellow
members of the human race.
Mars, the planet of sex and aggression, is in Taurus, and it hits the
midpoint between his Sun (representing who he is in the world) and Jupiter
(the way he gets excessive). The lower version of the sign Taurus can
be greedy, physically bullying and obsessed with material/sensual comforts
actor's Venus is in the last degrees of Capricorn, a sign that in its
most unevolved form is ruled by its desire for status and power. It is
thought that when a planet is in the last degree it exhibits extremes
of the sign that it falls in.
sure Bale was raised well and is a stand-up guy (a gazillion fans on his
numerous teenybopper webpages can't be wrong!), but his chart certainly
shows an eerie connection to the nutty nature of Patrick Bateman. And
perhaps his dismissal of Bateman as a "dork" can be filed under
"he doth protest too much!"
To Other Elements
American Psycho, Christian Bale is surrounded by a bevy
of rising young actors who all serve as foils to his detached, air sign
Chloe Sevigny plays Jean, his gentle, compassionate secretary.
She brings deep, water-sign emotions to this generally feeling-free film.
Capricorn Jared Leto, as executive colleague Paul Allen, beats Bateman
at his own game by being more powerful and successful than the killer
could ever be. Only an earth sign could get out of his head and totally
into the material and physical pleasures of this world we live in. And
finally, fiery Reese
Witherspoon, an Aries, plays Evelyn, Bateman's fiancée. She
catches her man truly offguard by causing an attention-grabbing scene
in a fancy restaurant after he dumps her. This sends Bateman running out
of the joint in a tizzy, making his standard excuse, "I've got to return
in all, it's the humor and charisma of this cast, as well as the satirical
style of director Harron that saves this '80s send up from being a straight-to-video
bomb. However, a film made in the ironic '90s about the empty '80s is
unlikely to inspire much real feeling in movie-goers in the twenty-first
century. For what it's meant to be though, it certainly rates as a guilty