In a panicked phone call to his lawyer, Bateman says: "I've killed a lot of people. He could be talking about a real person from before the film's events, but it does seem like Bateman and Jean have a messy romantic history. American Psycho (2000) Was Patrick Bateman a Wall Street serial killer or was it all in his head? The “collapse” begins almost right after Patrick Bateman dumps his fiancé Evelyn (Reese Witherspoon) and goes back to “return some videotapes”. Serial killers often begin their sprees with someone they know in the heat of the moment, but it's rare to go back-and-forth the way Bateman does. Who is Bethany? He is immediately pursued by cops in patrolling vehicles, and in a faceoff in an alley with them, he shoots and kills them too, with the shootout ending after the cars explode when Bateman fires at them. Bateman's secretary Jean almost becomes his victim when he charms her into coming home with him. Much like the book it's based on, American Psycho isn't really about Patrick Bateman. July 17, 2020 by the Editors Leave a Comment Paul Allen is on the other side of the room over there." In the very next scene, we see Bateman aggressively arguing with some non-English-speaking dry cleaners about not bleaching what appear to be bloody sheets. It might be worth noting that the helicopter is never actually shown in the particular scene. Bateman then steps in and says "It's not Paul Allen. We already know mistaken identities are commonplace among the Pierce & Pierce elite, and the film never introduces us to any of the colleagues Bateman supposedly dined with. Thus, it's extremely likely that the real Halberstram simply mistook a different colleague for Bateman — as did Paul Allen — thus providing Allen's murderer with one ultra lucky alibi. While it's almost impossible to come up with a definitive answer to the infinite questions posed at the end of this thrilling film, analyzing its themes, dissecting its characterization, and examining the director's statements can help unravel the truth of Bateman's muddled mind. In truth, it's Carnes and the rest who are confused, and it's Bateman — who exhibits the most meticulous attention to detail — who simply can't have his confession taken seriously. It is a sharp comment on the homogenous nature of the very clothing these men wear, the very talk they talk and the walk they walk; even their visiting cards that were essentially designed to be the same, but ended up being pawns in a game of one-upmanship. Their attention is firmly focused on acquiring material wealth, lording it over others, and snorting cocaine in club bathrooms. The crass scene may very well have prevented American Psycho from becoming the cult classic it is today. This misidentification of Bateman immediately makes anything that comes out of Carnes mouth invalid, as he can't even be tasked with keeping his own clients straight. His deteriorating mentality is further on display when, after firing his handgun at some police officers, their cars explode in a fiery blaze. In fact, more than the acceptance, it is the drive to stand out from a superficial, homogenized society that drives most of the actions here, and you, sir, sit on a throne of lies if you claim that drive hasn’t gotten to you. In a group discussion of the film with journalist Charlie Rose, lead actor Christian Bale, and the novel's writer Bret Easton Ellis, director Mary Harron admitted that she failed with American Psycho's final scene. Coming back to the comparisons with ‘Fight Club’, I am going to drive this discussion in the direction of the big revelation in the finale for both of the films. Even less open for debate is the first time we actually witness Bateman kill somebody. Coming back to the film, this much is for certain that Bateman didn’t commit all of those murders (considering that you go with the second theory ruling out him committing any), and especially not Paul Allen’s and all the people in the end. It's just as well a woman directed "American Psycho." The ridiculous lengths each character goes to, in order to become a carbon copy highlights the superficial consumerism that the film dramatically critiques. Like the Bret Easton Ellis book that it's based on, the ending of Mary Harron's American Psycho is rather ambiguous, and has been a source of debate amongst fans for a … First of all, the book and movie are both different. Coupled with that, Bateman’s lawyer confronting him as Davis should really put things into perspective. Jean is the only woman in the film that Patrick shows any level of regard for, but that's not saying much: His hankering to kill her is still strong enough to make him grab his nail gun and almost kill her. I gain no deeper knowledge about myself, no new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. Whether he hallucinated the whole thing or developed an affinity for the nail gun is up to the audience. Well, If something inspires dialogue even two decades hence, it is in all possibility worth discussing. I want no escape. American Psycho is filled with ironic and borderline implausible misunderstandings. The American Dream, the life. A cat mysteriously appears right in front of him, who he intends to shoot, stopped only by an onlooking woman with Bateman ending up shooting her instead. After asking a homeless man why he doesn't get a job and taunting him relentlessly, Bateman straight up stabs him in the chest, before kicking his dog to death. He is twenty-seven and living his own American dream. She asks Bateman whether or not he "saw the ad in the Times," before informing him that there "was no ad in the Times" — a strangely investigative question. According to Psychology Today, most serial killers display a pattern in victimology, weapons, and modus operandi. Turner mentions "the scene where he gets the two hookers to come over, and he's videotaping himself and looking at himself in the mirror" as one of the turning points in the film. Look closer at the deeper meaning and messages of American Psycho's ending. In fact, there are no redeeming qualities about any man in the entire film. This leads Patrick Bateman to act as if "everything is a commodity, including people", an attitude that is further evident in the rampant objectification and brutalization of women that occurs in the novel. The term psychopath isn't a clinical diagnosis, Patrick Bateman never actually killed anyone, Bateman straight up stabs him in the chest, whether or not he really even is Patrick Bateman, Patrick Bateman actually killed Paul Allen, Carnes doesn't even know who Patrick Bateman is, Allen was mistakenly identified in London, In a group discussion of the film with journalist Charlie Rose, The film's screenwriter, Guinevere Turner, told. Played by Christian Bale, the character Bateman impeccably depicts the behavior of a real psychopath. More bizarrely, Bateman's kills are seriously dramatized and employ beatings, an ax, a chainsaw, a nail gun, a real gun, and vivisection. American Psycho is a beautifully controlled, careful, important novel which revolves about its own nasty bits.’ Fay Weldon, Guardian , 25 April 1991 Not long after publication, Bret Easton Ellis wrote a response to all the criticism of the book in the New York Times : Now, I can completely guarantee that replacing Patrick Bateman in the above lines with Tyler Durden would still make the lines work. Needless to say, what I state here is my personal take on the ending and what I took home from it, despite the director, Mary Harron clearly stating otherwise in an earlier interview. He manifests a personality of Bateman: suave, stylish, and narcissistic, one that he uses as a face to unleash his murderous desires at night. Consider this piece of dialogue from the beginning of the film as we are just introduced to the character of Patrick Bateman. Between his manipulation of the people around him, frequent lying, lack of empathy, boundless rage, complete absence of guilt, and severe disregard for the safety of himself and others, Bateman's thoughts and (possible) actions display symptoms of the disorder in spades. Played by Stephen Bogaert, Patrick Bateman's lawyer has been responsible for most of the confusion surrounding the ending the American Psycho — but don't let him fool you! One evening early on in the film, Bateman encounters a random woman waiting to cross the road, and proceeds to creepily walk alongside her. But don't be fooled by this clever twist! Carnes recognises the message but laughingly dismisses it as a prank, addressing him as Davis, and terms his prank’s giveaway to be “Davis” trying to frame “Bateman” for the murders since he was “such a dork” and a “boring, spineless lightweight.”. While initially appearing straightforward, the movie intentionally unravels at the end, making plenty of people wonder whether or not Patrick Bateman's murders even took place. The proper DSM-IV classification for Patrick Bateman is antisocial personality disorder, but that doesn't sound as punchy as American Psycho, hence the chosen title. In the same scene, Allen also calls McDermott "Baxter," indicating misidentifications are not isolated instances. While it's easy to conclude that Bateman forgot about this dinner, blacked out, or simply imagined killing Paul Allen, it's far more likely that Bateman was actually not at said dinner. Even if Bateman might not have committed any murders until then in the film, all the while the desire to kill being amply clear from his graphic diary, this would be the exact moment that would have birthed a monster, the American Psycho. That would be, if you are not already swayed by the argument made by an ambiguous subplot within the film, implying that nobody in the white collar world actually recognised anybody by their real name, where Bateman can be Halberstram or Hamilton or Davis, McDermott can be Baxter, and Paul Allen can be Reed Robinson. As Davis, as Patrick Bateman or as a simple nobody, a confession about the cold-blooded murder of at least forty people, true or not, actually meant nothing. Whether this movie depicts a deeply troubled man working at a New York City investment firm or puts a homicidal spin on the term "Wolf of Wall Street," this is everything you need to know about American Psycho's confusing conclusion. American Psycho (2000) Plot. After all, how can we believe Carnes when he already mistook Bateman, his own client, whom he speaks to on the phone "all the time," for someone else? The Pierce & Pierce men's infatuation with trying to look the same causes the movie's many instances of mistaken identity, ultimately leading to Bateman getting away with murder. My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. Like the Bret Easton Ellis novel that inspired it, the film leaves open the possibility that Patrick Bateman didn’t really kill all those people. How can the chainsaw-scene of “American Psycho” (2000) be explained? Nobody likes waiting to be served, but thinking about playing with the bartender's blood because her club doesn't accept credit cards isn't exactly healthy. It is also certain that Bateman was a lowkey psychopath, hiding under the guise of an everyman, succumbing to the pressures of acceptance. American Psycho is a humorous and blood-curdling psychological thriller. He was never real, and the narrator manifested Durden’s personality in the image of who he wanted to be, deep beneath. © 2020 Cinemaholic Inc. All rights reserved. To sum it up, the idea overarching this is the refusal of the illusory, the materialistic and a recognition of the embrace of mundanity in the modern age, something that was our trade-off for said materialism. The most baffling was the intended ending: A musical number atop the World Trade Center. Throughout the entirety of the movie, we see Christian Bale's character repeatedly called names other than Patrick Bateman by various individuals — leading some viewers to question whether or not he really even is Patrick Bateman. Was this all just in his head? Sound too outlandish? He's losing his mind." The internet too is rife with explanations and theories, and after a brief mum period, even the makers came out with their own intentions. Linked. Patrick Bateman wore a face mask before it was cool. Anyone who watches American Psycho is always a bit confused by the plot. I consider the psychological constructs and the degree of truth in the finale of the film to be like an antique radio. Pardon that wall of text. The main problem with the final scene is the aforementioned Carnes, who can't keep his clients straight. The film adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel American Psycho debuted in 2000. His face masks parallel the real mask he wears daily, but as he begins to realize as the film goes on, no amount of hair products and lotion can fill the void he has inside. The publication of the novel did not initially prove sweet vindication for Ellis. The first piece of evidence is when, while having dinner with the private detective investigating Paul Allen's disappearance, Bateman is surprisingly given an alibi for the night of Allen's disappearance. The real Halberstram, unsurprisingly, claimed he was not having dinner with Allen. Where ‘Fight Club’ relies on hardcore commentary from an outsider, ‘American Psycho’ takes the route of a resilient, silent kind of understated satire, often wrapped up as even comic moments in an otherwise dark film, from the insider point of view of someone who is knee-deep into the business, and the chasing of that dream. However, as I stated, the dark beauty of this is what you can take from it personally, and irrespective of the numerous theories out there, here is what I took away from the film. Needless to say, both of the films also deal with a repressed psyche and have climaxes that lead to the unmasking of that psyche. Now stay with me, since I would want you to spot the oddity or absurdity in every line hereon, something that is so far removed from reality that it doesn’t make the slightest sense. It is the late 1980s in New York city. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours, and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable, I simply am not there.”. In the end, even when there is a literal mountain of evidence against him, no one recognizes Patrick Bateman, even for what he truly is (a "psycho"). We never see her, nor is she mentioned previously. The theory I presented above is a completely personal one; most likely, you would not find one on the internet that would agree with the one above, so here is the more conventional take, one that most people seem to agree with anyway. Marcus and I even go to the same barber." Rather, he claimed he was having dinner with other colleagues... including Patrick Bateman. Is Christian Bale's character actually the serial killer he claims to be? After misidentifying Bateman as "Davis" and claiming to have had dinner in London with Paul Allen, viewers are tricked into thinking that Bateman can't separate fantasy from reality. Repudiating the cult of the sharp-dressed modern-day #gentleman, Ellis explained “American Psycho is a book about becoming the man you feel you have to be, the man who is cool, slick, handsome, effortlessly moving through the world, modeling suits in Esquire, having babes on his arm. Everyone at the company goes to painstaking lengths to mirror each other's looks, all wanting what they can't have, whether it's someone else's haircut, their girl, or even something as trivial as business cards. You get the idea: however, it is more than a case of even a dissociative identity. More than half of what transpires (or even all of it) might just have been figments of his ripe imagination to say the least: a repressed psyche finding its way out through whatever means. Browse other questions tagged plot-explanation american-psycho. A musical scene definitely would have lent itself to the theory that the murders are all in Patrick's head, but it also might have confused the audience further. In a group discussion with Charlie Rose, American Psycho's author admitted that the book is primarily a critique of male behavior — something director Mary Harron recognized from the get go. However, people like to throw the word at anyone who deviates from social, ethical, and neurotypical norms. And yes, there are videos. Peculiarly so, he even names the prostitutes according to his own liking. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. All of them look and sound almost exactly the same, something that is wonderfully covered and conveyed in one sweeping shot during Patrick’s final confession in voiceover before the film closes. OVERALL… It is the story of young wealthy investment banker Patrick Bateman. Featured on Meta Swag is coming back! People get hurt and he shows little to no remorse. “There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me. He also admits to partially eating people, which we see play out in one traumatizing scene. A male director might have thought Patrick Bateman, the hero of "American Psycho," was a serial killer because of psychological twists, but Mary Harron sees him as a guy who's prey to the usual male drives and compulsions. “This is not an exit”, as the sign on the door behind Bateman in the closing scene says. Bateman brushes this off as "logical," telling us that "Marcus also works at P&P and, in fact, does the same exact thing that I do. Posted by Carlo Affatigato. But … It is one of a psyche repressed by the pressures of “fitting in”, so much so that the repression, and the desires that yields become murderous. Bateman displays this contradictory verbal behavior throughout the film, with bizarre statements that may or may not be said out loud. I should have left it more open ended. The reader is introduced to the novel’s narrator, Patrick Bateman, a 27-year-old Wall Street investment banker. When Bateman confronts him further, impatiently so, confessing in the first person to the murder of Paul Allen, Carnes is shook but still doesn’t believe him, stating that he had dinner with Allen just a few days ago in London. With a lovely view of Central Park, Allen's apartment is known to be one of the most expensive properties in New York City. Here, I want you to keep an open mind and consider that Patrick Bateman might actually be someone else, and the unreliable narrator, “Davis” subsumes the identity of Patrick Bateman to lead his sadistic acts to fruition, just as “Bateman” assumed “Halberstram”’s identity when killing Allen, or “Allen”’s himself while inviting the prostitutes over to his home. But c'mon man, you had one fatal flaw. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. David Cronenberg occupied the director's chair before Mary Harron, but instead of hiring a scriptwriter, he asked Bret Easton Ellis to write the script. While having antisocial personality disorder doesn't make someone violent or "evil," Bateman doesn't try to reign in his darker tendencies. All I wanted was to be ambiguous in the way that the book was. The film is a brutal satire about the material and the impact that comes along with its pursuit. One of the most confusing moments in the film takes place when Bateman shockingly finds Paul Allen's apartment — previously full of dead bodies — spotlessly clean, and being shown to potential tenants. What I consider the ending of ‘American Psycho’ is the point in the film when our unlikely protagonist’s world starts falling apart, quite literally, and like in Nolan’s ‘Inception’, the highly fragile “dream” world that Patrick Bateman (played by a devilishly feisty Christian Bale) built begins collapsing. However, there should be absolutely no doubt that he is truly who he says he is, and that any misidentifications by other characters are purely their own mistakes. The apartment really was full of dead bodies, and Paul Allen was definitely living there before he was murdered. Now, while there's no way to be 100 percent certain that Bateman did murder people, there's a lot of evidence supporting the idea that he is, in fact, a serial killer. Still, no matter which way you spin it, whether Bateman is a killer or the audience is only watching his delusions play out on-screen, there's no question that Bateman is suffering from a very real disorder. None of the people involved in either the original novel or the film had anything to do with the "sequel", and Bret Easton Ellis himself has condemned the film, distancing himself and the makers of American Psycho from it and emphasizing that the film is not a part of the official Bateman mythology. But first, a brief reminiscing of its head-scratcher ending. Outside of the homeless man, the helpless puppy, and the rampage Bateman goes on after the ATM killing, he seems to have his homicidal agenda laid out. American Psycho essays are academic essays for citation. American Psycho II is an unofficial spin-off which is not considered canon. The very soul of both movies, sauced up with unbridled chaos is essentially the same, although the mode of conveying the same may be different. In that, everything that conspired in the film being narrated by “Patrick Bateman” might actually be just a figment of his imagination, a further extension of his murderous psyche. A suspicious Jean then walks into Bateman’s office, only to open his diary and be terrified of extremely graphic, brutal, and sadistic drawings of the people, and in particular the women he had killed. Sometimes, the method is varied when a killer is starting out, but Patrick is truly all over the map. It was quickly cemented as one of the most ambiguous and confusing films in cinematic history. The catch? We have a whole lot of explaining to do for the events that conspired. Naturally, he agrees. He then enters another office he believes to be his, exactly identical, and frantically makes a call to his lawyer, confessing to the murders he committed in explicit detail, after he feels that a police helicopter is chasing him down, and a searchlight falls on the window of his office that he seemingly evades. Rather, the film aims to portray the self-indulgent and hedonistic Wall Street elite of 1980s New York in a negative light. Bateman himself even questions whether or not that's even possible, looking at his gun with confusion. It has been a working ideal for a whole generation of people across the world that have spent entire lifetimes chasing that ever-elusive dream. When an acquaintance unexpectedly comes in and inquires about the stains, Bateman nervously claims they're "cranberry... cran-apple..." but they sure look bloody. Bloody Disgusting ranked it at No. American Psycho: a complete explaination of the movie. According to literary critic Jeffrey W. Hunter, American Psycho is largely a critique of the "shallow and vicious aspects of capitalism". “A big musical number, very elaborate. But even after admitting this, there is no catharsis. The movie, American Psycho, depicts the double life of a well-to-do investment banker from New York. If you think American Psycho's ending is bizarre, wait till you hear about the original conclusion. Meanwhile, back at Harry’s Bar where he’d told his lawyer Harold Carnes he’d be that afternoon, he and his colleagues are still arguing over where to get reservations for the evening. First and foremost, Carnes doesn't even know who Patrick Bateman is, mistaking him instead for "Davis," and asking him if he's still dating "Cynthia" — two characters we've never met. The real question is whether or not he acts on his homicidal impulses outside of his head. "He's there," Turner says, "he's got the kitten, but the ATM doesn't actually say that. To his surprise, he is taken aback when he finds that the apartment is up for sale, and that the interiors are all remarkably white. The first time we meet the real Paul Allen, he mistakes Bateman for Marcus Halberstram — a mistake he never corrects. Yes, the ending has been ever questioned and debated upon by the entire fandom of this movie and the book, to this date, and that is what I believe is the beauty of it. He rambles, "I killed Bethany, my old girlfriend, with a nail gun." In this competitive hierarchy, the novel's male characters jockey for status not only by constantly impugning each others' masculinity, but also by habitually disparaging women, gay men, people of color, and the homeless. The story's primary plot arc follows Patrick Bateman's mentality from psychopathy to full-blown psychosis. The ending of American Psycho finally explained. It is like a sadistic puppeteer with all the strings in his hands: the dramatic equivalent of the shedding of masks our unreliable narrator had to don all through the day, pretending to be someone he was not. When pressed, he says: "Davis, I'm not one to badmouth anyone. I guess I've killed maybe 20 people. Bateman blankly stares into the distance while having a double scotch and delivers his now famous closing monologue in voiceover. 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