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. 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. He's losing his mind." All I wanted was to be ambiguous in the way that the book was. 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. 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. 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. American Psycho: a complete explaination of the movie. It might be worth noting that the helicopter is never actually shown in the particular scene. More bizarrely, Bateman's kills are seriously dramatized and employ beatings, an ax, a chainsaw, a nail gun, a real gun, and vivisection. Some man, some old f***** with a dog. Read on. “One thing I think is a failure on my part is people keep coming out of the film thinking that it’s all a dream, and I never intended that. According to Psychology Today, most serial killers display a pattern in victimology, weapons, and modus operandi. 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. 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. 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. Patrick Bateman wore a face mask before it was cool. Perhaps she doesn't hear him over the music, or maybe Bateman only fantasizes about saying this. Anyone who watches American Psycho is always a bit confused by the plot. 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! Because of the above I read into it that the narrative of American Psycho is a personal Hell for Patrick Bateman. New Feature: Table Support. 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. These are discussed in relation to diagnostic categories. In a panicked phone call to his lawyer, Bateman says: "I've killed a lot of people. We also have an alternate theory, one that is more widely accepted among the loyal fandom. 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 … 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? ‘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. That in fact is the pining and towering achievement of ‘American Psycho’s finale, certainly more than the ambiguity of it. Peculiarly so, he even names the prostitutes according to his own liking. 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. Much like the book it's based on, American Psycho isn't really about Patrick Bateman. 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. 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. Who is Bethany? American Psycho essays are academic essays for citation. 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.”. However, no one really can predict whether his condition was actually the result of his high pressure, phoney work environment and the pressures of conformity in the elitist circle he found himself a part of, but the film doesn’t fail in making satirical comments about it, making sure the viewer goes home with so much more. 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. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. The most baffling was the intended ending: A musical number atop the World Trade Center. 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. 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. There is also a Patrick Bateman, who in Harold Carnes’ eyes might be a dork, but someone who certainly appealed to Davis. 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. In fact, Bateman doesn't even know how many people he's killed. With a lovely view of Central Park, Allen's apartment is known to be one of the most expensive properties in New York City. I gain no deeper knowledge about myself, no new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. She states that the event really took place, but "in real life, they probably weren't as attractive as they are, and it wasn't all as Penthouse Letters as it is.". When pressed, he says: "Davis, I'm not one to badmouth anyone. Sometimes, the method is varied when a killer is starting out, but Patrick is truly all over the map. 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. American Psycho Explained. Is Christian Bale's character actually the serial killer he claims to be? 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. 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. Consider this piece of dialogue from the beginning of the film as we are just introduced to the character of Patrick Bateman. 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. I guess I've killed maybe 20 people. We also already know from Detective Kimball that Allen was mistakenly identified in London by another individual, meaning the confused Carnes probably dined with someone else entirely. Viewers of American Psycho can argue forever over whether or not all of the film's violence only takes place in Bateman's head. Most of his murders are premeditated, giving him the means to control how the kills go down. The ridiculous lengths each character goes to, in order to become a carbon copy highlights the superficial consumerism that the film dramatically critiques. 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, 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. Likewise, Bateman toggles between people he knows and disenfranchised strangers. Bateman is such a dork — such a boring, spineless lightweight." 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. He was never real, and the narrator manifested Durden’s personality in the image of who he wanted to be, deep beneath. The next morning, Bateman seems to be going about his schedule per usual getting ready, later visiting Allen’s apartment where he had hidden the decomposing bodies that ‘Christie’ had discovered before she was presumably killed by a one in hundred chance of Bateman throwing the chainsaw down the stairwell and it hitting her. 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. He just acts out a little more. But even after admitting this, there is no catharsis. Look closer at the deeper meaning and messages of American Psycho's ending. Their attention is firmly focused on acquiring material wealth, lording it over others, and snorting cocaine in club bathrooms. 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. The ending of American Psycho finally explained. American Psycho (2000) Plot. Straight to the ending now. Browse other questions tagged plot-explanation american-psycho. 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. He also has a penchant for Valentino suits and Oliver People's glasses. While having antisocial personality disorder doesn't make someone violent or "evil," Bateman doesn't try to reign in his darker tendencies. 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. 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. The movie, American Psycho, depicts the double life of a well-to-do investment banker from New York. 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. American Psycho is a film about a man who is unsure about his identity. The film is a brutal satire about the material and the impact that comes along with its pursuit. It is a social commentary on the sexual insecurity of men, their shallowness, their obsession with materialism to conceal their apathy. 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. 7. It's just as well a woman directed "American Psycho." 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. 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. 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. The reader is introduced to the novel’s narrator, Patrick Bateman, a 27-year-old Wall Street investment banker. The obviously frazzled Bateman probably killed someone the night before — likely the random woman on the street from the previous scene. As American Psycho continued its journey from novel to feature, ... and then it ends on the top of the World Trade Center,” Ellis explained. The crass scene may very well have prevented American Psycho from becoming the cult classic it is today. The American Dream, the life. 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. "American Psycho" has strong acting from "Christain Bale" and "Willem Dafoe". He calls her during one of his least lucid moments, so he definitely knows, on some level, that Jean is alive. 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. He manifests a personality of Bateman: suave, stylish, and narcissistic, one that he uses as a face to unleash his murderous desires at night. Maybe 40!" 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. 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. Bret Easton Ellis is known for featuring his characters across several different novels. 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. American Psycho is based on a novel by Bret Easton Ellis and directed by Mary Harron. But … You get the idea: however, it is more than a case of even a dissociative identity. 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. “This is not an exit”, as the sign on the door behind Bateman in the closing scene says. The story's primary plot arc follows Patrick Bateman's mentality from psychopathy to full-blown psychosis. 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. The “collapse” begins almost right after Patrick Bateman dumps his fiancé Evelyn (Reese Witherspoon) and goes back to “return some videotapes”. But first, a brief reminiscing of its head-scratcher ending. The real question is whether or not he acts on his homicidal impulses outside of his head. American Psycho Ending Explained: What Really Happened? 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. 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. 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 publication of the novel did not initially prove sweet vindication for Ellis. The apartment really was full of dead bodies, and Paul Allen was definitely living there before he was murdered. 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. Even if Bateman really is a killer, and the action does not merely take place inside his sick and twisted mind, that doesn't mean everything we see play out actually happened. He is twenty-seven and living his own American dream. “There are no more barriers to cross. Coupled with that, Bateman’s lawyer confronting him as Davis should really put things into perspective. 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.” Your joke was amusing. 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 some might argue that he's just figuring out what he likes, these extreme variations in both methodology and victimology often make it seem like his kills are scatterbrained delusions, rather than the premeditated acts of a serial killer. Bateman is into blondes, evidenced by his fiancée, his mistress, his secretary, and the two sex workers he victimizes and later kills. Instead, Bryce corrects him and claims it's Paul Allen. Whether he hallucinated the whole thing or developed an affinity for the nail gun is up to the audience. But he also goes after his male coworker and an old friend — both brunettes. 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. 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. My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. 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. 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. 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. 11. 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. 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. 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. The film's screenwriter, Guinevere Turner, told Yahoo Movies, "Everything was really happening. 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. Cronenberg forbade Ellis from writing scenes set in restaurants or clubs. As a result, to date, there exists no singular definition or “meaning” per se of the ending, as I have said before. Paul Allen is on the other side of the room over there." 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. Thus, it's highly probable that his epic rampage wasn't quite so epic — if it even happened at all. Played by Christian Bale, the character Bateman impeccably depicts the behavior of a real psychopath. 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. 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. 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