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Glorifying White Killers: Broadway Edition

Today American Psycho opened at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Broadway following previews that began March 24th. Based on Bret Easton Elli’s 1991’s novel, the story is best known in its 2000 film version starring Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman — the wealthy, self-involved investment banker who turns into a serial killer at night. Sounds like something you want to spend money on, right?

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Benjamin Walker in ‘American Psycho’ (photo by Jeremy Daniel)

Considering everything that’s going on in today’s society with violence against women, in today’s political field (one of Bateman’s personal heroes is Donald Trump), and in the racism of white men being let off the hook and/or glorified for committing crimes, how did this thing make it all the way to Broadway? The critics are also letting their voices be heard on the matter.

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A bunch of women who will probably be killed off by the end of the show (photo by Jeremy Daniel)

As Ben Brantley of The New York Times say’s, “Collectively, how many hours of gym time per week does the incredibly buff cast embody? More than that of the acrobats of Cirque du Soleil, whose “Paramour” opens on Broadway next month? Did those auditioning for “American Psycho” have to submit ab shots instead of head shots? And before they set foot onstage each night, are they required to pass a body mass index test?”

The show did not spare the audience from the well-known violence of the film. According to AM New York,  “Act One closes with Bateman aiming an ax at one of his victims. The blood subsequently splattered is cleaned up during intermission by stagehands. Bateman later wields an assault rifle and chain saw as the bloodied-up corpses pile up.” Not only is it violent, but American Psycho seriously lacks any semblance of a sympathetic protagonist. The Patrick Bateman of the movie is not one who would characteristically break into song. And even if he did, what could the emotionless serial killer really have to sing about?  And if the show ends like the movie, I’m sure I wouldn’t walk out of the theater feeling very good about myself.

 

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