American Psycho and its themes (article) (2023)

American Psycho and its themes (article) (1)

For those unfamiliar with Bret Easton Ellis's controversial 1991 fictional novel, American Psycho is a satirical take on 1980s yuppie New York (or, more accurately, Wall Street), revolving around the Wall Street exploits Patrick Bateman (cleverly portrayed in Christian Bale's film adaptation), who is also a narcissistic sociopath. I've read the book several times, and while I certainly respect its sharpness and Ellis's bold, no-punch approach to some of the more violent passages, the overly vulgar rhetoric and profanity scattered throughout feels like overkill. In hindsight, writer/director Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol) certainly proved the right person to entrust the transition from script to screen, holistically elevating the essence of the material while maintaining the novel's prevailing ambiguity. I watched the movie countless times and analyzed it to its fullest. I find the characters compelling, the situations fascinating and hilarious, and the material layered. So much so that with each viewing I gain something new or an alternative view of any of his scenes. There is one thing that has bothered me since its release in April 2000 (if you don't mind), and that is that I would walk into any local video store and find American Psycho sitting right on top of the "Horror" shelf - that's always the case. It annoyed me, and here's why.

Not only are the book and movie almost entirely satirical in nature, but the underscored psychological component (first-person narration and all) makes for a far more cerebral foray than anything else you've encountered in the series. Mill horror section of a Blockbuster. Now, that's not to say that violent acts aren't committed on the screen throughout the film... or is it? I guess it depends on your perspective. However, there is evidence to trace the support of both arguments, and heck, Bale is depicted on the poster holding a Michael Myers-esque kitchen knife, right? I always felt like the picture did more harm than good to the film - it fooled people into inadvertently putting the film in a bunch of direct-to-video B-movie titles. I don't know, maybe it's just me and I'm reading a lot about it, but there's something about American Psycho sitting on the same shelf as John Carpenter's iconic 1978 horror film "Halloween" that bothers me (and yet I love the two movies). So for those looking for a little more method to madness, I thought I'd discuss some of the finer points and key themes present in the film, what it all means, and perhaps quantify why American Psycho is more deserving of its own metaphor. . shelf.

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At the top of the list is undoubtedly the recurring theme of mistaken identity, something that is always present in American Psycho. It is perhaps the biggest staple of the film. On display from the opening dinner scene to one of the iconic closing sequences at Harry's Bar. From the start, Ellis highlights the carbon-copy nature of these individuals (and I use the term "individual" loosely) who inhabit Wall Street. Street and its wide-ranging weather, and continues to validate this lack of individualism through imagery and dialogue. Early in the runtime, we are officially introduced to one of these would-be individuals, Pat Bateman, our leading man (in the sense that we sit with him throughout the film) who almost immediately turns out to be an unreliable narrator. . 🇧🇷 Thus setting in motion the dilemma of reality versus fantasy, a point of contention that will inevitably be raised by the viewer as the film unfolds. With the myriad of times the mistaken identity comes into play, it's surprising that no one knows what's real and what's not, including Patrick. Here's a breakdown of these top occurrences.

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  • In the opening scene, Bryce and McDermott (Patrick's co-workers) reference Paul Allen (ultimately revealed to be played by Jared Leto) sitting across the table from them. Bateman corrects them, or so he thinks, directing his attention to another man who looks like everyone else in the restaurant and who he thinks is Allen, but he isn't.
  • The second example is in the boardroom where Paul Allen is actually to blame for mistaking Bateman for another co-worker, Marcus Halberstram. Bateman goes on to divulge to the viewer that the two do the exact same job, have similar suits and glasses, and even go to the same barber (though Patrick has a slightly better haircut if you ask him). This is the first time the public has witnessed this pattern of mistaken identity develop, and perhaps Bateman isn't the only one to do so. In the same scene, Paul asks Patrick (or Marcus according to him) about Cecilia, someone we don't know, and also refers to McDermott as "Baxter". The only central woman we've been introduced to so far is Evelyn (Reese Witherspoon), who is Patrick's supposed fiancée. Patrick plays along with Allen's false lies, though the reason for this remains a mystery.
  • At the work Christmas party, Hamilton (another colleague) greets Patrick as "McCloy" and although Evelyn walks over and calls Patrick's name, Hamilton doesn't seem to notice. At the same party, Paul meets Patrick (referring to him as Marcus again) and suggests they have dinner and that he bring his girlfriend Cecilia (who is not Patrick's girlfriend). Importantly, Paul hesitates, searching for a name to come to mind when it's Bateman who finally chimes in with the name Cecilia. When Evelyn asks why Paul called Patrick "Marcus", he simply signals to her mistletoe and ignores her. At this point, Evelyn seems to be the only person who correctly identifies those around her.
  • Patrick checks into Texarkana to have dinner with Paul Allen under the guise of Marcus Halberstram. While dropping someone's name on a table in front of them, Patrick accidentally says his own name under his breath, quickly correcting him. However, Allen doesn't seem to notice.
  • When Detective Donald Kimball (played by Willem Dafoe) enters the lawsuit, he mentions someone he interviewed and how another colleague was mistaken for Paul Allen.
  • In a frantic state, Patrick calls his lawyer and at the beginning of the call refers to him as "Howard" (who we later find out is actually Harold).
  • In the closing stages of the film, Bateman's lawyer "Harold Carnes" refers to him as "Davis" and asks how "Cynthia" is doing.


While mistaken identity is often the key element that worries not just Bateman, but all the characters who occupy this yuppie landscape, the underlying core is the absence of anything resembling an identity, which inevitably leads to confusion among costumes. Likewise, socioeconomic status becomes the main currency with which these merchants trade. If you can't get reservations at the best restaurants, you don't live in the right part of Manhattan, and your business card doesn't scream "Look at me," you're risking your reputation and ultimately how others can or can't. perceive you. Bateman says exactly who or what he is (or more accurately, isn't) right from the start, and the vapid, hollow nature of him is on full display throughout the rest of the movie.

There is an idea of ​​a Patrick Bateman; some kind of abstraction. But there is no real self: just an entity, something illusory. And even though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel the flesh squeezing yours and maybe even feel that our lifestyles are probably comparable... I'm just not there.

When seeing him for the first time, most people are unlikely to give Patrick's opening monologue a second thought, but what he's doing is letting him know that there's a self-awareness inside of him. That he may not actually be a character in the true sense of the word, rather, the apex of the worst traits and behaviors of that society in that place and time – a walking cliché. Let's talk about Bateman's need for validation at all times and his desire to constantly profess something (anything) of value to his teammates. And how, after it, he turns out not only a hypocrite, but a conceited one and, moreover, a compulsive liar.

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The do's and don'ts of wearing a bold striped shirt

First, Bateman uses his tall and proud narcissism, evident from the moment he begins to tell us about his daily morning routine, which involves yoga, sit-ups (thousands of them to be precise), bathing, and a level of self-care application. Skin. that would probably embarrass any woman. Patrick sees an opportunity during the opening narration to name the address of his Upper West Side apartment as if we, the audience, really care. The need to assert social status is first shown in the opening dinner scene, when McDermott questions why the group isn't eating at Dorsia (an establishment we later discover is apparently impossible to book), and then, the men continue. to pull out their American Express cards with disdain to pay for a $570 dinner. but I'd like to make reservations somewhere." Money is no objection to the elite and they will use it whenever they are in trouble. Bryce can be seen giving extra money to the nightclub bouncer for preferential treatment, and later Patrick she even checks on Christie to assuage her doubts about another night with him.

I'm on the verge of tears when we get to Espace because I'm pretty sure we won't get a decent table. But we do, and relief washes over me in an incredible wave.

Below are just a few examples where Patrick shows off his social status.

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  • He makes sure the laundromat knows that his sheets are expensive and that they are from Santa Fe.
  • Nomination to Donald Trump and Ivana Trump.
  • Patrick has a moment of sheer panic when he realizes that Paul's apartment faces the park and is clearly more expensive than his.
  • He mentions a carry bag made by Jean Paul Gaultier.
  • Subsequently, he requests that an escort not wear the "Bijan" robe.
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There are far more important issues to worry about than Sri Lanka.

Christian Bale's portrayal of Bateman is incredible. All the little nuances in the facial expressions and the patter between the lines perfectly convey all the insecurities of the characters. There is nothing more important to Bateman than status and the desire to make everyone jealous. So, on the rare occasions that he doesn't get the answer he wants, there is nowhere to maneuver.

Leave. I've assessed the situation and I'm on my way.

The options are to withdraw completely from the situation, or alternatively, you are forced to sit down and meditate. As is perfectly reflected in the scene in which, quite naturally, he asks Christie and Sabrina (the two escorts) if they want to know what he does, to which they say no. Seeing this as another attempt to stand out, Patrick tells them he works on Wall Street at Pierce and Pierce and asks if they've heard of him, to which they both shake their heads. Needless to say, his contempt for them in that moment is palpable and simply articulated through an effortless scowl. These bizarre actions and reactions to seemingly trivial things like a workplace is what makes the movie so much fun. Later, Patrick makes random jokes about the irony of Ted Bundy's dog being named "Lassie", to which his secretary Jean asks, "Who is Ted Bundy?" and another for co-workers about 1950s serial killer Ed Gein (who they believe is the maître d' of the Canal bar).

The most important thing to remember about Bateman is how desperately he needs the approval of his peers (and, in turn, the public) and for them to believe how polite and worldly he is. Of course, none of these opinions that he gives are really his own. They are always delivered methodically and are clearly a well-rehearsed collection of tidbits he read somewhere or inevitably picked up on as pop culture evolved.

evelyn williams: You hate this job anyway. I don't see why you can't give up.

patrick bateman: Because I want to fit in.

Let's talk about how over and over again Patrick contradicts himself, despite what he may think.

Over dinner at Espace, Bryce brings up the subject of the massacres in Sri Lanka and how it might affect them, to which Patrick declares that there are bigger issues to worry about.

Well, we have to end apartheid. And stop the nuclear arms race, stop terrorism and world hunger. We have to provide food and shelter for the homeless, oppose racial discrimination, and promote civil rights while 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 the youth.

After delivering what sounds like political campaign hyperbole, Bryce does what most of us would do and derisively laughs at Bateman. Luis, however, gives Patrick the validation he's been looking for, with a response of "How encouraging." It all sounds great in theory, but Patrick just echoes the thoughts of the masses. Ironically, when he gets the chance to provide food or shelter to the homeless, not only does he not do it, but he taunts and ultimately kills the poor bum. Likewise, you won't find a more chauvinistic and immoral group of men than Patrick surrounds himself with, and certainly none worse than him. Bateman constantly criticizes and objectifies the women in his life, and never seems remotely interested in his thoughts or opinions. These are some examples of the answers he gives throughout the movie.

  • "Don't wear that outfit again, put on a dress, a skirt or something."
  • "I'm trying to listen to the new Robert Palmer tape, but Evelyn, my so-called fiancée, keeps buzzing in my ear."
  • "You should take a little more lithium or have a Diet Coke, a little caffeine can get you out of that crisis."
  • "You're not quite blonde, more dirty blonde."
  • "There are no girls with good personalities."
  • "You are not very important to me."
  • "If you really want to do something for me, then stop doing that scene now."

In hindsight, you might laugh at Bateman's idea of ​​promoting less materialism in young people, given all that goes on. It's a statement that proves to be the height of hypocrisy when you weigh in on the film's sheer volume of indulgence and excess.

(Video) Hip to be Square - American Psycho (3/12) Movie CLIP (2000) HD

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This is Sussudio, a great, great song, a personal favourite.

Music is a big part of American Psycho and in particular Patrick's life. There are a number of great '80s songs, but three specific artists appear in pivotal scenes throughout the movie, Huey Lewis And The News, Phil Collins, and Whitney Houston. The first of these takes place after Bateman and Allen have eaten dinner and returned to the former's apartment for a drink. It's unclear if Bateman's quasi-criticism of the album as a monologue by Huey Lewis and The News is purely for distraction or just another opportunity to educate a fellow associate. Either way, it's painfully fake and a whole lot of fun.

Their early work was too new for my taste, but when Sports came out in '83, I think they really broke through commercially and artistically. The entire album has a crisp, clear sound and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a real lift. He's been compared to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a much more bitter and cynical sense of humor.

Later in the film, Bateman offers two other pompous and wordy album reviews on the aforementioned Phil Collins and Whitney Houston. It quickly becomes apparent that he doesn't have an original thought about almost anything. Despite all of his perceived excitement from him, when Detective Kimball reveals that he has just bought the same Huey Lewis And The News album, Bateman resorts to complete fabrication.

donald kimball: Huey Lewis and the news. Good things! I just bought it on the way here. Did you find out what?

patrick bateman: Never. I mean, I really don't like singers.

donald kimball: You're not a big music fan, huh?

patrick bateman: I do not like music. It's just that they're... Huey sounds pretty black to me.

For almost the entire runtime, Patrick makes continuous comments about anything, and yet what's most fascinating about him as a character is that when the movie finally comes full circle and he's finally asked to give his personal opinion about something (perhaps for the first time) as pertinent as the Iran-Contra controversy, he simply responds to Bryce with "Whatever." Almost like he's finally accepted the fact that it doesn't really matter what he thinks because no one is listening and no one cares.

Timothy Bryce: He poses as a harmless old curmudgeon, but on the inside... on the inside...

patrick bateman: [narration] … “but inside” doesn't matter.

craig mcdermott: “Inside”, yes, “inside…” – believe it or not, Bryce, we are really listening to you…

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Timothy Bryce: Come on, Bateman, what do you think?

patrick bateman: Whichever is.

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He was probably returning videotapes

Lies come thick and heavy from Patrick Bateman's mouth. Some big, some small, but undeniably present in every corner. The genius surrounding the idea of ​​an unreliable narrator is that maybe it's not all lies, and maybe it's just that we don't see every interaction, hear every conversation, or get officially introduced to every character spoken to. near. Why Patrick lies remains a mystery. Although, if he had to bet on a guess, he'd say it's both self-preservation and morbid curiosity about the answer, and, in turn, what his next move would be in a game of chess where he's the only player. Below is the potential scope of his lies.

  • She tells Jean that she's late because of her aerobics class, but then we see her doing her exercises at home.
  • Patrick also tells Jean that he boxed with Ricky Harrison at the Harvard Club, who knows if there's any truth to that.
  • Evelyn makes reference to the fact that Patrick's father practically owns the company. There is never a mention of his father or evidence that he owns anything. Maybe it's a lie that Patrick is just facilitating.
  • Patrick says he has a lunch date at Hubert's in fifteen minutes and ignores Victoria when she wonders if she should move uptown or not. He then makes plans with her for the next Saturday, and when she agrees, he says that he has a performance of Les Mis.
  • He tells Courtney that they are in Dorsia when they are actually in Arcadia (as shown on the menu) and then lies to Luis about getting a reservation at Dorsia.
  • Patrick continues to let Paul Allen believe his girlfriend's name is Cecilia.
  • He pretends to have a phone conversation with John, and later divulges the alleged details of the fictional conversation to Detective Kimball.
  • Referring to Paul Allen, he says, "I think he was probably a closeted homosexual who did a lot of cocaine."
  • Patrick tells Kimball that he is having lunch with Cliff Huxtable at the Four Seasons (Cliff Huxtable is a fictional character on The Cosby Show).
  • Patrick begins referring to himself as Paul Allen.
  • Patrick constantly uses returned videotapes as an excuse to get out of any situation.
  • “Kimball, I wanted to talk to you” – yes, that's a lie.
  • Kimball asks Bateman about the last time he saw Paul Allen, to which he replies, "We went to a new musical called Oh Africa, Brave Africa, it was fun, that was it." You can see Patrick working on this lie as he tells it.
  • Patrick lies about not listening to Huey Lewis And The News. How do you know he "sounds pretty black" if he hasn't heard it?
  • He lies to Jean about making a reservation for them at the Dorsia.
  • He hilariously trips over telling Jean that he's not really seeing anyone (even though he's supposedly engaged to Evelyn).
  • Says you want a meaningful relationship with someone special.
  • During lunch with Kimball, Patrick says that the night of Paul's disappearance, he just showered and ate ice cream.
  • Patrick tells Elizabeth that Christie is his cousin and that she is from France; We both know they're lies
  • Elizabeth asks Patrick if he knows the guy who disappeared from Pierce and Pierce and he says no. The man is Paul Allen. Although if you accept that no one knows each other in a literal sense, it may not be a lie.
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The main topic of conversation surrounding American Psycho is the notion of reality versus fantasy, and how much, if any, of what we see throughout the film can be believed. Is it happening as we see it? Or is it simply a visual representation of fantasy sprung from Bateman's sick and depraved imagination? Once he accepts that Bateman is an unreliable narrator, the quicker he discovers evidence for both arguments. Let's look at the pros and cons, and we can start by first looking at various things that Patrick says go unnoticed or unheard, and then we can look at the remaining visual instances.

You're my lawyer, so I guess you should know that I've killed a lot of people.

The first example occurs early in the process when Patrick insults and threatens a bartender. I guess it could just be that the place has dance music blasting, and with her back to him, she can't see or hear him speak. But still, maybe that's what he really meant and just didn't say.

You are a fucking ugly bitch. I want to stab him to death and then play with her blood.

The second time this happens is when Patrick is trying to dry clean his sheets. He tells the Chinese that if he doesn't shut up he will kill her. This is a bit clearer, at least because she doesn't speak English so she wouldn't even know he was threatening her with physical violence, that doesn't mean he knew...

During a dinner with Paul Allen, Patrick boasts that he is "totally crazy and likes to dissect girls". He conveniently reveals this while Paul is substantially intoxicated, leaving it open to interpretation whether Bateman ever said it or whether Paul ignored him or didn't listen because he was so drunk.

Similarly to the first example, in a later nightclub scene, Bateman tells a model he knows that he enjoys "murders and executions". Only this time she hears it, but she mistakenly believes that she says "mergers and acquisitions". Again, it's a noisy environment, so who knows how, if at all, it's actually delivered.

(Video) American Psycho Paul Allen's Apartment Realtor Scene (HD 1080P)

The last one is from an interaction Patrick had with Evelyn over lunch. She seems more concerned with looking at someone she knows across the room (who is wearing new jewelry) than listening to what she has to say. This further supports her comment about her (and everyone else) being so materialistic and careless.

patrick bateman: I think, um, Evelyn that, um, we lost touch.

evelyn williams: Because? What is wrong?

patrick bateman: My need to engage in large-scale homicidal behavior can't be fixed, but, uh, I don't have any other way to satisfy my needs.

Certainly there are moments that feel so strange that you can almost certainly dismiss them as wishful thinking. Most of these come up in the final act, and I'll go into more detail shortly, but here's a short list of other instances that raise the fact-versus-fantasy debate.

  • Patrick is childishly teased on the phone as he tries to make a reservation at the Dorsia. I'm not sure if he'll find someone who reacts this way, but hey, this is upper level 1980s New York, so who knows?
  • Patrick appears to leave a clear trail of blood in the elevator lobby while dragging a body. There is a guard at the entrance who does not notice.
  • Patrick completes a crossword puzzle with just the words "meat" and "bone". This small detail could be due to what he has in mind.
  • Patrick plans to use a nail gun, but it's one that clearly requires a compressor to work, and therefore he wouldn't be able to fire it.
  • Patrick runs through an apartment building in the middle of the night with a chainsaw (are you sure someone would notice?)
  • He then drops the chainsaw from great heights and precisely hits a moving target. This seems highly unlikely. First, for him to turn correctly, and second, for him to land perfectly on the woman as well.
  • Christie runs screaming and knocking from door to door, but no one answers. Creating such a disturbance (combined with said chainsaw) would certainly alert those in the building and curiosity would probably get the better of at least one tenant, right?

This confession meant nothing.

Things start to unravel quickly from the moment of complete randomness involving a stray cat appearing at Bateman's feet, followed by an ATM message asking him to feed a stray cat... (yes, that's it). definitely where we enter a state of hallucinatory bewilderment). In the same move, Patrick shoots a lady and is forced to run from the police. Everything that follows is done by chance on totally empty streets, and in New York that just isn't the reality (regardless of the time of day). Hello! It is one of the most populated cities in the world. And if that wasn't enough to highlight how far we've come down the rabbit hole, watching Patrick defy all logic and blow up multiple police cars at gunpoint should do the trick. There's a touch of genius to Bale's performance throughout the scene, where he strangely marvels at what just happened and moves to check his watch (as if to indicate the night is still young). From there, he swiftly kills a security guard at one building (and hilariously spares another) as well as a janitor on his way to another building. Bateman turns on a dime, from frantic to paranoid, so much so that he gets confused trying to locate the building he works in. Once inside, he hides under the table out of the line of sight of a circling helicopter (lights are shown moving accompanied by propeller sounds). Personally, I go back and forth between viewings to see if the helicopter is really there or if it's just another manifestation of his paranoia, which now increases to eleven. What follows is perhaps the most powerful scene in the film, in which Patrick calls his lawyer Harold Carnes (he calls him Howard instead). Unfortunately, he picks up the answering machine and decides to leave a detailed taped confession, capped off with the important revelation that he killed Paul Allen (with an ax to the face).

One could easily apologize for seeing things in only one light, at least until the vital scene that follows, where Patrick returns to the scene of the crime. That scene is Paul Allen's upper apartment, the crime is the murder of several women. It takes Bateman a minute to realize that the very apartment he is now in has been cleaned, freshly painted (all white), and apparently put up for sale (as evidenced by the woman walking a couple). I guess you know how the New York real estate market works! Patrick opens the closet where the plastic-wrapped bodies of two young women hung, only to find commercial painting equipment. Plus, the next room, once smeared with blood-soaked walls and scattered body parts, now feels like a million bucks (too much, if I know my housing market). The most common automatic response from viewers after this revelation is that it was probably all just in your head – hold on to that thought and keep reading.

The socialite agent approaches Patrick and asks if this is Paul Allen's home. He asks her if Paul lives there, to which she says no (but how would she know?). She snaps back at Patrick, mentioning if she saw the ad for the apartment in the Times, a comment that ends up catching him in a lie. She seems wary of the entire interaction and quickly asks him to leave and not cause any trouble. It's important to note that she never mentions calling the authorities if he refuses. I wonder why this could be? Could it be that in a world inhabited by so many people oriented to material gain, a life built on consumerism, could an individual have seen the perfect opportunity to profit from the misfortune of others? I don't think it's that hard to imagine the woman (who may already own other tenants in the building) stumbling upon a grisly crime scene and seeing it as the best real estate it is, an avenue to turn a sizable profit. of. She probably could have paid a few people, gotten a cleaning crew, applied several coats of fresh paint, and put it on the market all the while knowing that something horrible had happened there. What are the chances that the perpetrator will return to the scene of the crime? The chances would probably be slim to none, so why not? After all, every investment is a gamble, right? Did the woman gamble and take an opportunity? Or did Patrick imagine himself killing these women?

This is not an exit.

Now we come to the climax of American Psycho and the scene inside Harry's Bar between Bateman and Harold Carnes (his lawyer). With all his dirty clothes aired out (and they're as dirty as they come), Patrick confronts Carnes to find out if he got the message from him, and the answer he finds isn't ideal. It seems that Harold took the confession as a joke, something clearly common among co-workers. Carnes mistakes Patrick for a Davis and goes on to tell him that it was a funny joke, but his fatal flaw was making Bateman the butt of the joke instead of Bryce or McDermott. Patrick reiterates that it's Bateman and that the two of them talk all the time on the phone and wonders why Carnes doesn't recognize him. Could it be that he really isn't Patrick's lawyer, even though Patrick thinks he is? Frustrated and angry, he continues to emphasize that he is actually Bateman and not Davis and that everything he left on the answering machine was true.

Got it, Meats. I killed him. *I'm* Patrick Bateman. I cut off Allen's fucking head.

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In the end, it all falls on deaf ears when Carnes tells Bateman that he couldn't have killed Paul Allen because the two had dined in London several times just ten days before. At that very moment, it becomes clear that even Patrick (who's been taking pills) no longer knows top to bottom or exactly where the lines between reality and fantasy can be blurred. This final scene is another one where the viewer tends to fall for the "it's all in his head" argument. While that could be the case, it could also mean that perhaps the man Bateman believed to be Paul Allen wasn't him after all. In fact, not once in any scene does Jared Leto (credited as Paul Allen) actually refer to himself as Paul Allen, it's just something others do. Perhaps in the same way that Patrick does when someone calls him Marcus, Paul just accepts the name anyway. And given what we know about the mistaken identity and that everyone is guilty of it, who knows who Patrick actually killed? If someone? He desperately wants to be vindicated for everything he believes he's done, but he can't find anyone who will listen or care. When all is said and done, it doesn't matter what we, the public, believe, and more specifically, what Bateman believes. You can't admit something when no one accuses you of anything.

There are no barriers to cross anymore. Everything I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the wicked, all the chaos I caused and my total indifference to it, is now over. My pain is constant and sharp, and I don't expect a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I don't want anyone to run away. But even after admitting this, there is no catharsis; my punishment continues to elude me and I am unable to gain a deeper knowledge of myself. New knowledge cannot be extracted from my account. This confession meant nothing.

To use some of Bateman's words, American Psycho is deep and rich. Its layered themes and complex subconscious make it endlessly reassessable. I find the balance between horror and satire in the material to be second to none. The cast is phenomenal, the direction is inventive, and the message is strong, for better or worse. American Psycho is a rare breed in a genre all its own, and a film worthy of constant deconstruction and continued debate as we rapidly approach its 25th anniversary.


What are the themes behind American Psycho? ›

Greed is a central theme of the novel, and the watchword of the acquisitive, predatory Wall Street culture in which the story takes place. The novel opens with Patrick's colleague Timothy Price touting his own professional credentials and complaining that he is underpaid, despite his considerable income.

What does Patrick Bateman symbolize? ›

As written by Ellis, Bateman is the ultimate stereotype of yuppie greed; wealthy, conceited, and addicted to sex, drugs, and conspicuous consumption. All of his friends look alike to him, to the point that he often confuses one for another; they often confuse him for other people as well.

What does American Psycho say about society? ›

Patrick Bateman and his colleagues represent the materialistic yuppies, whose only concerns are status and money. At the same time, they despise the poor; beggars, prostitutes, and immigrants, and thereby picture the poor side of America's capitalism in the 1980s.

Is American Psycho an easy read? ›

That's because American Psycho is an exceedingly difficult book to read. The novel's endless parade of explicit, stomach-churning, pornographic, boundary-pushing violence against animals, homeless people, and young women makes it a struggle to finish, especially for delicate souls like myself.

Was American Psycho all in his head? ›

American Psycho Ending Explained

One is that everything in the movie did happen. Bateman did murder all of these people. There is a reason why everyone in the movie looks the same, and why everyone mixes each other up throughout.

Was American Psycho real or a dream? ›

Some people think it was all a fantasy. But Guinevere Turner, who co-wrote the film with director Mary Harron, says they worked hard to avoid any “it was all a dream” interpretations.

What does Patrick Bateman suffer from? ›

In Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho, the protagonist, Patrick Bateman, is apparently simply a psychopath. However, Bateman can be diagnosed with other mental illnesses such as Asperger's syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, narcissism, and antisocial personality disorder.

What mental illness does Bateman? ›

The main character, Patrick Bateman, is glamorously portrayed as a wealthy, standoffish killer suspected to have antisocial personality disorder and possibly dissociative identity disorder, while all of the other characters are depicted as “normal” friends and coworkers.

What mental illness did Patrick Bateman? ›

American Psycho, directed by Harron, follows a life of a complex character, named Patrick Bateman. Bateman suffers from several disorders, including narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial disorder.

What is American Psycho criticizing? ›

American Psycho offers a disturbing picture of how capitalism distorts humanity. Through the imposition of social hierarchy, capitalism enables human domination, and American Psycho highlights how patriarchal and racial discrimination is a part of this domination in our society.

What impact did Psycho have on society? ›

The release of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho revolutionized cinema and changed the horror genre forever. Premiering in 1960, it effectively marked a dramatic shift in the kind of horror seen on the big screen. This shift mirrors a larger, cultural change in the mindset of Americans as the 1950s aged into the 1960s.

What point of view is American Psycho? ›

American Psycho is a novel by Bret Easton Ellis, published in 1991. The story is told in the first person by Patrick Bateman, a serial killer and Manhattan investment banker.

Is American Psycho OK for a 12 year old? ›

The characters quite often drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and cigars, and sometimes snort cocaine or take pills. These characters are clearly irredeemable, and do not learn much of anything during the course of the story. The movie is entertaining in a horrific, comical way, but is certainly not for kids under 18.

Why was American Psycho so controversial? ›

His transgressive third novel, 'American Psycho', was the one that truly propelled him into the spotlight. Upon its release, it was widely condemned as being too graphically violent, outright misogynistic and got him labelled as a sadist.

Is American Psycho too graphic? ›

Some graphic violence is depicted in the film. But it's nowhere near as graphic, lengthy and detailed as the original book. A man is killed with an axe. He is kept off-camera as he is being struck.

Why does Patrick Bateman say I have to return some videotapes? ›

“I have to return some videotapes.”

Perhaps the book's most iconic line, antihero Patrick Bateman repeatedly says he needs to return some videotapes to the store; it demonstrates how monotonous his life is, as well as the extent to which his identity is utterly defined by material possessions.

Who killed Patrick Bateman? ›

Patrick's dead body. In the non-canon sequel to the movie American Psycho 2, Rachel Newman killed Bateman when she was 12 after he had attacked and killed her babysitter. Chelsea gave him the Dull Machete because it was disrespectful to the iconic Character.

Do they go to Dorsia in American Psycho? ›

It includes the Harvard and Yale Clubs and the Four Seasons but also long gone hotspots of yore like Nell's, Texarkana, Tunnel, Arcadia, and Arizona 206. Don't look for Dorsia, though. That restaurant was fictional.

Is American Psycho about toxic masculinity? ›

Toxic masculinity is depicted in American Psycho through its destructive aspects. In the movie, Patrick Bateman is the main character who portrays destructive aspects of toxic masculinity. From the analysis, we can conclude that there are three destructive aspects that are portrayed the main character.

What is the last line of American Psycho? ›

There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it I have now surpassed.

Is American Psycho a metaphor? ›

This is the crucial theme explored in Mary Harron's 2000 cult thriller American Psycho, adapted from Bret Easton Ellis's 1991 novel of the same name. The film becomes a metaphor for the gross materialism and narcissism propagated by the Reaganomics of the 1980s.

Why did Patrick let Jean go? ›

When Jean comes to his apartment, he realizes she's not affected by any psychopathy. He also realizes that he has lost his personal agency. He sees her as moral, and tries to get her out before his psychopathic drive kills someone innocent.

How many kills does Patrick Bateman? ›

He tells him he has killed somewhere between 20 and 40 people, but he's lost count. He admits to taping a lot of his crimes, eating some of his victims' brains, and even trying to cook them.

What drug does Patrick Bateman take? ›

At different parts in the film Bateman is shown to have a relationship with narcotics. He is shown to have a readily accessible supply of coke and what is presumed to be a roofies when he is at the club or with people he is preparing to kill.

Who is Bateman confused for? ›

The first time we meet the real Paul Allen, he mistakes Bateman for Marcus Halberstram — a mistake he never corrects.

What male type is Patrick Bateman? ›

Which personality type is Patrick Bateman? Patrick Bateman is an unhealthy ENTJ personality type. He is determined to get what he wants and will step over anyone who gets in his way. Healthy ENTJs aim to achieve their goals in an ethical way, but for unhealthy ENTJs, morals go out of the window.

Is American Psycho about a narcissist? ›

American Psycho (1999) may be described as a vivid screen illustration of malignantnarcissism. Adapted from Bret Easton Ellis's (1991/2000) eponymous novel, the film was elegantly directed by Mary Harron, whose previous work includes I Shot Andy Warhol (1996).

Who has Patrick Bateman slept with? ›

In the film

Later, he picks up two prostitutes, giving them his name as Paul Allen, brings them to his apartment, and has sex with both of them, while videotaping it.

What did Patrick Bateman do to Christie and Sabrina? ›

After Bateman has had sex with Christie (Cara Seymour) and Sabrina (Krista Sutton), they are all lying together in bed, when he gets up and moves over to a drawer. He opens it, revealing a number of sharp metal items. He pulls out a coat-hanger and tells the prostitutes that they aren't finished yet.

What did Patrick Bateman do to the dog? ›

He takes out a knife and cuts the dog's stomach open, leaving it crawling around on the ground, dragging its own intestines. The man is in complete shock, but before he can do anything, Bateman slashes his throat and runs off.

What kind of satire is American Psycho? ›

At its core, “American Psycho” is a satirical work meant to make fun of the yuppie world of Wall Street business executives, but it was written to appeal to and be easily marketed to the same men it is mocking.

What is the main conflict in American Psycho? ›

The conflict in American Psycho is person vs himself, It is an internal conflict between Patrick Bateman vs himself because he feels that nobody cares about him enough. He believes it is himself us a person, and his personality the reason being why he does not fit in with society.

What was the plot twist at the end of Psycho? ›

Determined to find the truth behind Marion's disappearance, Arbogast returns to the motel and enters Norman Bates' house. However, before he can check out even a single room, he is stabbed to death by the same woman who killed Marion.

What is the true story behind Psycho? ›

Psycho, American suspense film and psychological thriller, released in 1960, that was directed by Alfred Hitchcock and is loosely based on the real-life killings of Wisconsin serial murderer Ed Gein.

What rules did Psycho break? ›

The strict film censorship rules known as the Motion Picture Production Code, or Hays Code, were still in effect when Psycho arrived in June 1960, opening wide years before Jaws defined the movie "blockbuster." But Psycho was the Code breaker.

What is the tone and mood in American Psycho? ›

American Psycho has a tone of heightened, satirical, not-particularly-real reality that makes it difficult to take anything onscreen seriously. Businessmen who socialize with each other all the time can't tell each other apart. Bateman frequently tells people he's a murderer, and they never seem to hear him.

What is an R rated movie? ›

Restricted: R - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.

Is American Psycho Based on a true story? ›

Answer and Explanation: No, American Psycho is not a true story.

Is American Psycho book 18+? ›

The novel, by American author Bret Easton Ellis, has been classified R18 under national censorship legislation since its release in 1991, requiring it to be sold in plastic and only to those aged over 18.

What are the disturbing parts of American Psycho book? ›

What might be the book's single most disturbing passage involves the sexual torture of one of Bateman's former girlfriends. In the scene, Bateman nails her hands to the floor, cuts out her tongue and then forces her to perform an act of oral sex, before killing her.

What is the meaning behind the end of American Psycho? ›

Harron has clarified that the ending is not meant to imply that the events of the movie all occurred in Patrick Bateman's head as some have theorized. Instead, she and co-writer Guinevere Turner have essentially confirmed that Bateman is a serial killer, but he simply won't be prosecuted in any way for his actions.

What does Patrick Bateman realize at the end of American Psycho? ›

As American Psycho's ending explained Bateman's crimes, he finally confesses his crimes to his lawyer (twice—once via voicemail and once in person), only for the cold character to inform him Paul Allen is still alive and (seemingly) none of American Psycho's ending explains that the movie occurred in reality.

Why doesn t Patrick Bateman get caught? ›

It is all about appearances and because Bateman maintains the necessary appearance for the social circle he inhabits, none of the other characters puts in any effort in looking past the exterior.

Is American Psycho about materialism? ›

Bateman's sociopathic appetite for violence and disregard for others' humanity, the novel insists, is just the ultimate end point for a capitalist, consumer culture that values only wealth and materialism and sees no inherent value in anything else.


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