american psycho explained

american psycho explained

One evening early on in the film, Bateman encounters a random woman waiting to cross the road, and proceeds to creepily walk alongside her. Head on to the next section for that. We first witness Bateman's disordered traits in the film's second scene, in which Bateman insults a bartender and  tells her that he wants to stab her. However, people like to throw the word at anyone who deviates from social, ethical, and neurotypical norms. 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. According to Detective Kimball, Allen was verified to have had dinner with Marcus Halberstram — i.e., the colleague Allen had unknowingly mistaken Bateman for the entire time. It makes it look like it was all in his head, and as far as I'm concerned, it's not.". This paper provides an illustration of problems in making diagnosis based on a single film. Bateman himself even questions whether or not that's even possible, looking at his gun with confusion. The obviously frazzled Bateman probably killed someone the night before — likely the random woman on the street from the previous scene. While it's easier to imagine someone like Bateman getting away with murdering random homeless people, sex workers, or women he meets while walking home, it's highly unlikely he's remained off the NYPD's radar with upwards of 40 murders. Viewers of American Psycho can argue forever over whether or not all of the film's violence only takes place in Bateman's head. 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. Compared to various other murder scenes which come later, this one stands out as firmly grounded in reality, with nothing present to indicate that it's merely a sick fantasy. 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. 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. One of the more popular interpretations of American Psycho suggests Patrick Bateman never actually killed anyone, and the murderous actions we see played out merely take place in his unhealthy mind. 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. Whether he hallucinated the whole thing or developed an affinity for the nail gun is up to the audience. Posted by Carlo Affatigato. We also have an alternate theory, one that is more widely accepted among the loyal fandom. These are discussed in relation to diagnostic categories. The film's screenwriter, Guinevere Turner, told Yahoo Movies, "Everything was really happening. 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. Thus, the owners understandably want to get someone living there and paying rent there as soon as possible. He works by day on Wall Street, earning a fortune to complement the one he was born with. 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. But c'mon man, you had one fatal flaw. Decoding American Psycho Materialism and Executive Lifestyle The film is a satirical take on the self-obsessed executive lifestyle of American elites, who resort to materialistic happiness to express their high-class financial position. The most baffling was the intended ending: A musical number atop the World Trade Center. Is Christian Bale's character actually the serial killer he claims to be? American Psycho Ending Explained: What Really Happened? The film is a brutal satire about the material and the impact that comes along with its pursuit. “This is not an exit”, as the sign on the door behind Bateman in the closing scene says. ‘Fight Club’ makes it pretty clear that Tyler Durden was an idea: a dissociative identity created by the narrator as a refuge, a sort of counter-play to the worldly submissive personality that he was. 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. But did he really? But he doesn't know what he wants, and it shows. He calls her during one of his least lucid moments, so he definitely knows, on some level, that Jean is alive. American Psycho is filled with ironic and borderline implausible misunderstandings. 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. We have a whole lot of explaining to do for the events that conspired. It is a social commentary on the sexual insecurity of men, their shallowness, their obsession with materialism to conceal their apathy. The ridiculous lengths each character goes to, in order to become a carbon copy highlights the superficial consumerism that the film dramatically critiques. "That's not Reed Robinson." Before we can talk about the ending of American Psycho, we need to get one thing straight: The term psychopath isn't a clinical diagnosis. Before you might begin to draw any ideas from the comparison I just made, I will begin to quickly expand upon that. One of the more popular interpretations of American Psycho suggests Patrick Bateman never actually killed anyone, and the murderous actions we see played out merely take place in his unhealthy mind. The 90s films, especially, saw the deconstruction and the shattering of the fake glass façade that was the great American dream after decades of glorification. 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. 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? I had dinner with Paul Allen twice in London just ten days ago," he tells Bateman. The answer seems to be he imagined some of them, and not others… I’ll try and explain my theory below. Who is Bethany? To sum it up, think of it as the story of a faceless guy named Davis, something that would blend in all too well with the wall street guys. I want no escape. Their attention is firmly focused on acquiring material wealth, lording it over others, and snorting cocaine in club bathrooms. 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. 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 ending of American Psycho finally explained. Anyone who watches American Psycho is always a bit confused by the plot. Even less open for debate is the first time we actually witness Bateman kill somebody. It was quickly cemented as one of the most ambiguous and confusing films in cinematic history. In my opinion, no two popular movies portray said themes in a better manner than David Fincher’s ‘Fight Club’, based on the eponymous novel by Chuck Palahnuik, and our talk of this evening, ‘American Psycho’, by Mary Harron, based on the eponymous novel by Bret Easton Ellis. American Psycho begins with a quote from Dante’s Inferno: “ Abandon all hope ye who enter here ” is graffitied across the side of a bank in blood-red paint. My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. The evidence comes when Bateman has a strange but serious interaction with the real estate agent — who instantly drops her facade when Bateman admits he is not her two o'clock appointment. The hide, made of Valentino suits and Olivers’ glasses, strutting about in high rising offices proves to be so inconspicuous that in the world Bateman operated, anybody could be anybody. 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. "Are you freebasing," Bryce replies. The American Dream, the life. Apparently, even with a heavy dose of homicide, those settings are too boring. 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"). These days, the film is easily and often analyzed as a positive example of what can happen when the "female gaze" is cast on male vanity and, in this case, male violence. The “collapse” begins almost right after Patrick Bateman dumps his fiancé Evelyn (Reese Witherspoon) and goes back to “return some videotapes”. Bateman is into blondes, evidenced by his fiancée, his mistress, his secretary, and the two sex workers he victimizes and later kills. Much like the book it's based on, American Psycho isn't really about Patrick Bateman. But these contradictions offer more food for thought that Bateman has imagined all (or some) of his kills, as he doesn't have a habit of repeating murder weapons. His deteriorating mentality is further on display when, after firing his handgun at some police officers, their cars explode in a fiery blaze. The apartment really was full of dead bodies, and Paul Allen was definitely living there before he was murdered. Endings, Explained Series For more on great articles on Endings, Explained Series check out our Endings, Explained Series:Series 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. 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. I consider the psychological constructs and the degree of truth in the finale of the film to be like an antique radio. © 2021 Cinemaholic Inc. All rights reserved. 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 story's primary plot arc follows Patrick Bateman's mentality from psychopathy to full-blown psychosis. We never see her, nor is she mentioned previously. American Psycho: a complete explaination of the movie. 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. Now carry all of that hypothesis over to the ending of ‘American Psycho’, and apply all of what I just said to Patrick Bateman’s case. He's losing his mind." OVERALL… It is the story of young wealthy investment banker Patrick Bateman. "American Psycho" is a great thriller film of 2000. In an attempt at fleeing to his office, he mistakenly enters a completely identical office building, something which I believe is a satirical, Jacques Tati’s ‘Playtime’esque jab on the repetitive architecture of modern office spaces, killing a janitor and a security guard in the haste of exiting there. In the same scene, Allen also calls McDermott "Baxter," indicating misidentifications are not isolated instances. All I wanted was to be ambiguous in the way that the book was. According to literary critic Jeffrey W. Hunter, American Psycho is largely a critique of the "shallow and vicious aspects of capitalism". 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. As a result, to date, there exists no singular definition or “meaning” per se of the ending, as I have said before. Bateman displays this contradictory verbal behavior throughout the film, with bizarre statements that may or may not be said out loud. 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. 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. He also admits to his unfazed fiancée that his "need to engage in homicidal behavior on a massive scale cannot be corrected, but [he] has no other way to fulfill [his] needs," while drawing a picture of the woman he just killed with a chainsaw. In the two decades that have since passed, literally millions of theories have flooded the internet about the ending of the film, especially the ambiguity of it all. In fact, there are no redeeming qualities about any man in the entire film. The characters are predominantly concerned with material gain and superficial appearances, traits indicative of a postmodern world in which the 'surface' reigns supreme. The publication of the novel did not initially prove sweet vindication for Ellis. While it can be argued that Bateman did actually murder his fair share of sex workers and homeless people, we can't be certain he's killed as many people as we're led to believe. Bret Easton Ellis is known for featuring his characters across several different novels. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. 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. Ellis decided to invent a bunch of new scenes. Regardless, the aggression, mood shift, and disarming wink that ends the episode are the first jarring clues that Bateman isn't as polished as he seems. In fact, they would work even if you were to use, say, Norman Bates, or even Kevin Wendall Crumb in place of Bateman. That the only murders and acts of violent sadism that conspired were on the pages of Bateman’s diary, something that an unassuming Jean has to witness, might not be such an implausible theory after all. Then again, where there is prosperity or more particularly, the illusion of it, there is going to be resistance, and what better medium to express that than through the most accessible of art forms, Cinema? 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. In fact, identities are mistaken constantly and in perpetuity. For a second there, you see even Bateman looking at his gun in disbelief before escaping from there. American Psycho provides an overview of the personality traits of an individual who may be suffering from a number of potential conditions. Cronenberg forbade Ellis from writing scenes set in restaurants or clubs. Naturally, he agrees. In the opening scene, while Bateman is having dinner with Craig McDermott, Timothy Bryce, and David Van Patten, McDermott asks, "Is that Reed Robinson over there?" 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. To each listener (or viewer) trying to tune on to the same frequency, it will settle at a different point for when he/she hears it perfectly clearly. And yes, there are videos. Only an entity, something illusory. There have been people who have achieved it, and as with any other opportunistic paradigm, there have been people who haven’t, and there are people who are still trying. 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. Now, I can completely guarantee that replacing Patrick Bateman in the above lines with Tyler Durden would still make the lines work. The internet too is rife with explanations and theories, and after a brief mum period, even the makers came out with their own intentions. 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. "He's there," Turner says, "he's got the kitten, but the ATM doesn't actually say that. While it's probably best that the musical number stayed on the cutting room floor, fans itching to see Bateman burst into song do have an outlet: Duncan Shiek turned the story into a Broadway musical. 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. But along with their hydrating factors, he uses products to fake his humanity. She's transformed a novel about blood lust into a movie about men's vanity. Pardon that wall of text. According to Psychology Today, most serial killers display a pattern in victimology, weapons, and modus operandi. And though we witness Bateman kill Paul Allen "with an axe in the face," and hear him claim that the body is "dissolving in a bathtub in Hell's kitchen," we're presented with some evidence to support that idea that Allen is actually alive and well... but we shouldn't believe it. Paul Allen is on the other side of the room over there." He's just going nuts." However, after Patrick's mental breakdown at the ATM and subsequent murder spree, he tells his lawyer that he did kill one of his exes with a nail gun. The real Halberstram, unsurprisingly, claimed he was not having dinner with Allen. Of course, the moment we realize that something is truly astray with the reality being portrayed on screen is when the ATM instructs Bateman to feed it a stray cat. Thus, it's highly probable that his epic rampage wasn't quite so epic — if it even happened at all. All images property of their respective owners. 11. 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. He is twenty-seven and living his own American dream. Bateman then steps in and says "It's not Paul Allen. He treads lightly when mentioning his fiancée, for example — and this is not a guy that generally cares about people's feelings. “There are no more barriers to cross. But don't be fooled by this clever twist! This distanci… 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. Rather, he claimed he was having dinner with other colleagues... including Patrick Bateman. The movie, American Psycho, depicts the double life of a well-to-do investment banker from New York. Look closer at the deeper meaning and messages of American Psycho's ending. Seeing Carnes, he immediately confronts him asking about the message of his confession he left on Carnes’ voicemail. He also admits to partially eating people, which we see play out in one traumatizing scene. Read on. 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. All of the central characters are male, and many of Bateman's victims are female. It is the late 1980s in New York city. The frantic events of the night come to an abrupt halt just as they conspired, as if the manhunt for somebody who shot down atleast five people in the street was miraculously called off, and we jump to the events of the next day wherein Bateman still believes that the events of last night conspired in exact absolution as shown in the film. 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. 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. Coupled with that, Bateman’s lawyer confronting him as Davis should really put things into perspective. Most importantly, there are absolutely no redeeming qualities about Bateman. But first, a brief reminiscing of its head-scratcher ending. Some people think it was all a fantasy. 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. Rather, the film aims to portray the self-indulgent and hedonistic Wall Street elite of 1980s New York in a negative light. 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. Peculiarly so, he even names the prostitutes according to his own liking. As a literary offering, American Psycho found few defenders—most notably Norman Mailer, a man who had made a fine career courting controversy—but Roger Rosenblatt of the New York Times spoke for most critics when he called the book “the most loathsome offering of the season.” 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. I guess I've killed maybe 20 people. “A big musical number, very elaborate. He was never real, and the narrator manifested Durden’s personality in the image of who he wanted to be, deep beneath. American Psycho is a film about a man who is unsure about his identity. He tells a model that he works mostly in "murders and executions," as opposed to "mergers and acquisitions," and she doesn't bat an eye. What's the deal with Allen's apartment, and why does Bateman's lawyer mistake him for someone else? In a panicked phone call to his lawyer, Bateman says: "I've killed a lot of people. 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. 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 … 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. American Psycho essays are academic essays for citation. 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. The whole reason Bateman gets away with the murder of Paul Allen is because Allen, like others in the company, doesn't even know who he is. Well, If something inspires dialogue even two decades hence, it is in all possibility worth discussing. 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. There is also a Patrick Bateman, who in Harold Carnes’ eyes might be a dork, but someone who certainly appealed to Davis. Their biggest problems revolve around getting dinner reservations at Dorsia. Some point, we 're starting to see things through Patrick 's eyes fact, Bateman does even! Epic — if it even happened at all, but the ATM does n't know what wants. 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