‘This Is Not an Exit: The Fictional World of Bret Easton Ellis’ (1999)

Bret Easton Ellis - 'This is Not an Exit' - South Bank Show, 2000(UK • Gerald Fox • 2000)

A ‘South Bank Show’ TV special from way back in 1998, the feature-length ‘This is Not an Exit’ explores the often controversial work of notorious American author Bret Easton Ellis (‘American Psycho’,’Less than Zero’, ‘Glamorama’, etc).

Structured around several enactments of scenes from his earlier works (some featuring actress Rachel Weisz), we get the author discussing the inspirations, thoughts and motivations behind his early writing, as well as a bit of rent-a-commentary from his mother, Carrie Fisher, Will Self and others. Ellis’ work obsessively combines the transgressive with the mundane, capturing in minute and explicit detail the day to day accoutrements, debaucheries and alienation of the eighties/early nineties decadensia.

Despite having written such de Sadean passages as;

…she stays alive long enough to watch me pull her legs away from her body – her actual thighs, what’s left of her mutilated vagina – and hold them up in front of me, spouting blood, like trophies almost. She has only half a mouth left and I fuck it once, then twice, three times in all.”,

Ellis comes across as an articulate and seemingly ‘well-adjusted’ individual, albeit one with a fascination with the perverse. Interesting viewing indeed!