Look, Listen, Analyze

American Psycho

In order to review this scene I used the information I received from my post How to Read a Movie.


Analyze the camera work. Before watching the first time, turn the volume on the clip (or on your computer) all the way down. Take notes on the visual aspects of the clip. Look for camera angles, cuts, how many times the camera switches view, the quality of light, the cuts or transitions. Look for the ways the camera tells, guides the story.

  • Head on
    • Objectified, like a mug shot
  • Film from above when filming the guy on the coach
    • Pawn
    • Less dominant
  • Film from below when filming the guy standing
    • God like
    • Dominant over the other guy
  • Reflection in mirror
    • Suspense
    • Lack of knowledge
  • Attention to medicine bottle
    • Highlighting, he didn’t take his medicine
  • Guy on coach, guy standing is behind him
    • Foreground stronger than background
  • Guy on coach back to audience
    • Lack of knowledge


Analyze the audio track. Now turn the volume up, but play it without looking at the screen (or turn off the screen); just listen to the audio. Take notes on the pacing of the dialogue, the spaces in the audio, the use of music or sound effects (think back to our work earlier on listening to audio).

  • Creepy door
  • The characters voices aren’t what I expected
  • Footstepts
  • Water
  • Movement
  • Joking
  • Music- happy, upbeat, loud
    • Hip to be square
  • Screaming
  • Struggling
  • killing noises


Put it all together. Finally, watch the scene as normal. Pay attention to something you may have missed the first time or how the elements you saw in the first two steps work together.

  • The conversation makes more sense with the images and knowing he’s going to kill him
  • Now that I know the end result the mirror makes sense
  • Newspaper on the floor makes sense with him asking about the dog and the end murder
  • The music playing because he wants to cover up screams

I truly want expecting the murder when I first watched it, I guess because of the lack of sound. I did wonder why the one guy had an ax though. The conversation seems really weird with a lack of images as well.

x Kelsey

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