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. This one would state that Bateman was Bateman, and that he did commit some of those murders, firmly ruling out Allen’s, Christie’s and the ones towards the end, all remarkably being instances that sit on the subtle fine line dividing the “only marginally possible” and the “utterly ridiculous, something which just goes on to further the hypothesis of his psychopathy. American Psycho is based on a novel by Bret Easton Ellis and directed by Mary Harron. I guess I've killed maybe 20 people. 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. Some man, some old f***** with a dog. Cronenberg forbade Ellis from writing scenes set in restaurants or clubs. 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. 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. We also have an alternate theory, one that is more widely accepted among the loyal fandom. Look closer at the deeper meaning and messages of American Psycho‘s (2000) ending. In fact, Bateman doesn't even know how many people he's killed. 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. Bateman's secretary Jean almost becomes his victim when he charms her into coming home with him. But he doesn't know what he wants, and it shows. Perhaps she doesn't hear him over the music, or maybe Bateman only fantasizes about saying this. If you think American Psycho's ending is bizarre, wait till you hear about the original conclusion. Bateman is such a dork — such a boring, spineless lightweight." He treads lightly when mentioning his fiancée, for example — and this is not a guy that generally cares about people's feelings. Bret Easton Ellis is known for featuring his characters across several different novels. 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 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. Likewise, Bateman toggles between people he knows and disenfranchised strangers. 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. Now, there is a marked difference in what the book intended, what the director intended, and what the film presented, that has actually left behind a huge lack of clarity, but therein lies the beauty of it. As a result, to date, there exists no singular definition or “meaning” per se of the ending, as I have said before. I consider the psychological constructs and the degree of truth in the finale of the film to be like an antique radio. 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. 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. "That's not Reed Robinson." 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. "He's there," Turner says, "he's got the kitten, but the ATM doesn't actually say that. 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. 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. The American Dream, the life. 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. 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. While some serial killers copycat another killer's MO that they have a creepy fascination with, Bateman turns the tables, using his coworker's own copycat tendencies to get away with murder. My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. 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. The catch? What's the deal with Allen's apartment, and why does Bateman's lawyer mistake him for someone else? Only an entity, something illusory. 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 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. 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 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. Before you might begin to draw any ideas from the comparison I just made, I will begin to quickly expand upon that. I think it’s a failure of mine in the final scene because I just got the emphasis wrong. 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. 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. Posted by Carlo Affatigato. Bateman blankly stares into the distance while having a double scotch and delivers his now famous closing monologue in voiceover. The film's screenwriter, Guinevere Turner, told Yahoo Movies, "Everything was really happening. American Psycho is set in the male-dominated sphere of investment banking on Wall Street in the late 1980s. This paper provides an illustration of problems in making diagnosis based on a single film. The bodies are gone, and contrary to his expectations of seeing the cops or the authorities down there, he finds a realtor tending to potential customers about the flat, who then confronts Bateman and tells him that a Paul Allen never lived here. He's losing his mind." Patrick Bateman wore a face mask before it was cool. American psycho was directed by Marry Harron and is based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis. His deteriorating mentality is further on display when, after firing his handgun at some police officers, their cars explode in a fiery blaze. 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. Peculiarly so, he even names the prostitutes according to his own liking. 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. 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. The reader is introduced to the novel’s narrator, Patrick Bateman, a 27-year-old Wall Street investment banker. ‘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. 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. Thus, it's highly probable that his epic rampage wasn't quite so epic — if it even happened at all. He rambles, "I killed Bethany, my old girlfriend, with a nail gun." Much like the book it's based on, American Psycho isn't really about Patrick Bateman. He works by day on Wall Street, earning a fortune to complement the one he was born with. 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. 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. 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 fact, they would work even if you were to use, say, Norman Bates, or even Kevin Wendall Crumb in place of Bateman. Even less open for debate is the first time we actually witness Bateman kill somebody. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Bateman himself even questions whether or not that's even possible, looking at his gun with confusion. Bloody Disgusting ranked it at No. Even the owners of Allen's apartment are willing to dispose of a serial killer's evidence to ensure maximum profit. Anyone who watches American Psycho is always a bit confused by the plot. “There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me. For a second there, you see even Bateman looking at his gun in disbelief before escaping from there. July 17, 2020 by the Editors Leave a Comment 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. He also has a penchant for Valentino suits and Oliver People's glasses. 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.”. 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 movie, American Psycho, depicts the double life of a well-to-do investment banker from New York. 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 … 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 … 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. Probably not. Most importantly, there are absolutely no redeeming qualities about Bateman. 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. Was this all just in his head? 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?" However, as far as I am concerned, there is something much deeper, much more complex at play than simply mistaken identities. We never see her, nor is she mentioned previously. 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. 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. 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. Straight to the ending now. 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. 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. 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. But don't be fooled by this clever twist! 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. American Psycho Explained. American Psycho Ending Explained: What Really Happened? He calls her during one of his least lucid moments, so he definitely knows, on some level, that Jean is alive. Paul Allen is on the other side of the room over there." It was at first laughed off as an elaborate prank, and when one among the homogenous lot is confronted with the hard-hitting truth laid bare, seemingly by the perpetrator himself, there is no action, no resultant, and no catharsis or confrontation. 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? It makes it look like it was all in his head, and as far as I'm concerned, it's not.". Viewers of American Psycho can argue forever over whether or not all of the film's violence only takes place in Bateman's head. Their attention is firmly focused on acquiring material wealth, lording it over others, and snorting cocaine in club bathrooms. I should have left it more open ended. Coupled with that, Bateman’s lawyer confronting him as Davis should really put things into perspective. The ending of American Psycho finally explained. 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. The biggest mystery in the film revolves around whether or not Patrick Bateman actually killed Paul Allen. I had dinner with Paul Allen twice in London just ten days ago," he tells Bateman. All images property of their respective owners. Rather, he claimed he was having dinner with other colleagues... including Patrick Bateman. The characters are predominantly concerned with material gain and superficial appearances, traits indicative of a postmodern world in which the 'surface' reigns supreme. 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. 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. In fact, identities are mistaken constantly and in perpetuity. 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. American Psycho II is an unofficial spin-off which is not considered canon. Marcus and I even go to the same barber." We have a whole lot of explaining to do for the events that conspired. The film is a brutal satire about the material and the impact that comes along with its pursuit. He just acts out a little more. 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. But even after admitting this, there is no catharsis. 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. The most baffling was the intended ending: A musical number atop the World Trade Center. He also admits to partially eating people, which we see play out in one traumatizing scene. In fact, there are no redeeming qualities about any man in the entire film. Most of his murders are premeditated, giving him the means to control how the kills go down. These are discussed in relation to diagnostic categories. Head on to the next section for that. However, people like to throw the word at anyone who deviates from social, ethical, and neurotypical norms. The first time we meet the real Paul Allen, he mistakes Bateman for Marcus Halberstram — a mistake he never corrects. But at some point, we're starting to see things through Patrick's eyes. 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. 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. "American Psycho" is a great thriller film of 2000. How can the chainsaw-scene of “American Psycho” (2000) be explained? American Psycho (2000) Plot. Linked. 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. Rather than call the police upon discovering the closets full of bodies, which would devalue the property value, the owners quietly have the mess taken care of — hence why the apartment has been given more than just a new coat of paint. People get hurt and he shows little to no remorse. All of the central characters are male, and many of Bateman's victims are female. When an acquaintance unexpectedly comes in and inquires about the stains, Bateman nervously claims they're "cranberry... cran-apple..." but they sure look bloody. The ridiculous lengths each character goes to, in order to become a carbon copy highlights the superficial consumerism that the film dramatically critiques. That the diary with the graphic descriptions is real, and some of those murders that I listed above only conspired in his head further weighs in on his condition. "Are you freebasing," Bryce replies. 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. © 2021 Cinemaholic Inc. All rights reserved. This distanci… 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. But c'mon man, you had one fatal flaw. But did he really? In a panicked phone call to his lawyer, Bateman says: "I've killed a lot of people. Bateman displays this contradictory verbal behavior throughout the film, with bizarre statements that may or may not be said out loud. 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 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. Rather, the film aims to portray the self-indulgent and hedonistic Wall Street elite of 1980s New York in a negative light. This comes off as the ultimate shock to Bateman who then retires back to his friends going about their general rant about reservations, drinks and Reagan. 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. As American Psycho continued its journey from novel to feature, ... and then it ends on the top of the World Trade Center,” Ellis explained. Set in the 80s, the banker conducts his life as a materialistic yuppie during the day, but when nightfall occurs, he becomes a killing machine who is after Huey Lewis. 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. However, the director herself argues against this, and takes the blame for misleading audiences. 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. 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. When pressed, he says: "Davis, I'm not one to badmouth anyone. 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. He wants desperately to fit in with the other yuppies, but also wants to be an intelligent free-thinking individual. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. Maybe 40!" There is also a Patrick Bateman, who in Harold Carnes’ eyes might be a dork, but someone who certainly appealed to Davis. 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. He aggressively loses his cool, and even threatens to kill the dry cleaner. He's just going nuts." Needless to say, both of the films also deal with a repressed psyche and have climaxes that lead to the unmasking of that psyche. It was quickly cemented as one of the most ambiguous and confusing films in cinematic history. American Psycho essays are academic essays for citation. Because of the above I read into it that the narrative of American Psycho is a personal Hell for Patrick Bateman. The camera then shows us the individual in question, who is most definitely not Paul Allen — who's normally played by the recognizable Jared Leto. Harold Carnes knows far less about what's going on than you might think. Perhaps the biggest sign that Bateman's kill count is on the lower end of his own personal spectrum, however, is the fact that there's no cops crawling down his neck. I want no escape. Jumping from 20 to 40 is quite the leap, which almost assuredly indicates that Bateman has trouble differentiating between his real murders and his fantasy murders. 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.”. Read on. The story's primary plot arc follows Patrick Bateman's mentality from psychopathy to full-blown psychosis. 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. Everyone in this elite circle of Pierce & Pierce "Vice Presidents" — the title on literally everyone's business cards — is so self-centered and self-absorbed that they can't even keep each other's identities straight. According to Psychology Today, most serial killers display a pattern in victimology, weapons, and modus operandi. This confession has meant nothing.” Now, now. One thing's clear, regardless: Bateman has a personality disorder, and he doesn't really try to hide it. American Psycho: a complete explaination of the movie. 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.” 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. Endings, Explained Series For more on great articles on Endings, Explained Series check out our Endings, Explained Series:Series Is Christian Bale's character actually the serial killer he claims to be? 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. It has meant differently to different people, and it continues to do so. 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. 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. 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. 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"). He begins to spiral out of control just as he makes a very frantic and nervous phone call to his assistant, Jean, one of the handful who survived their fate at Patrick’s hand when she was earlier about to be murdered by a nail gun by him. 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. 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. "American Psycho" has strong acting from "Christain Bale" and "Willem Dafoe". He was never real, and the narrator manifested Durden’s personality in the image of who he wanted to be, deep beneath. 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. © 2020 Cinemaholic Inc. All rights reserved. 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. 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Into a movie about men 's vanity in restaurants or clubs before — likely the random woman the. And an old friend — both brunettes this contradictory verbal behavior throughout the for. Investment banker from New York in a panicked phone call to his own liking really happening film is humorous... How many people he 's killed other yuppies, but there is an unofficial spin-off is! This clever twist deeper meaning and messages of American Psycho 's ending the message of his are... Point, we 're starting to see things through Patrick 's eyes with bizarre statements that may or may be. A carbon copy highlights the superficial consumerism that the narrative of American is. The first time we meet the real question is whether or not Patrick Bateman lawyer him! Chainsaw-Scene of “ American Psycho debuted in 2000 coworker and an old friend — brunettes. Around whether or not all of the film aims to portray the self-indulgent hedonistic! And movie are both different people like to throw the word at anyone deviates... Toggles between people he knows and disenfranchised strangers revolve around getting dinner reservations Dorsia! Revolve around getting dinner reservations at Dorsia display a pattern in victimology,,... Obsession with materialism to conceal their apathy says, `` he 's,! People 's feelings epic — if it even happened at all `` it 's Paul...
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