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How can you tell if you are a psychopath? The definition of a psychopath varies depending on the source you consult, but most generally it is defined as a person who is profoundly antisocial, psychopathic, or otherwise lacking in conscience who lacks the ability to feel empathy, love, guilt, remorse, or even guilt for his or her actions.
American Psycho is a very important book, so it should be explained in detail. Why did Patrick Bateman kill so many people? How did he do it? Why were there so many instances of “accidents”? Did he do it all by himself? Why was there no motive behind it? All of this will be explained in this blog post, so please stay tuned.
The 2000 picture American Psycho must at least be included while considering the greatest serial killer films of all time. Christian Bale featured as Patrick Bateman, a filthy wealthy investment banking CEO who, as the film progresses, delves further and deeper into his insane murderous fantasies. However, calling American Psycho a “serial killer picture” may not be accurate since the events towards the conclusion of the film raise significant questions about whether Patrick Bateman really murdered anybody or whether it was all in his twisted, sadistic mind.
Patrick Bateman’s untrustworthiness as a narrator stems primarily from his lawyer Harold’s claim that Paul Allen (the audience believes is Bateman’s first murder victim) is still alive, as well as the fact that Paul Allen’s apartment (where Bateman was allegedly killing people and stashing their bodies) was empty and never belonged to Paul Allen at all. Following these disclosures, the viewer is left wondering if any of the events shown in the film really occurred, or whether we had just spent the previous 104 minutes watching Bateman’s murderous fantasies play out in his head.
Even after seeing the movie many times, it’s still unclear if Bateman committed any of the crimes we witness him do throughout the movie. He might have been sitting at his desk the whole time, experiencing intense hallucinations about murdering and dismembering people. On the other hand, there are scenes in the film that make it seem improbable that Bateman could have done no crimes at all. Let’s take a look back at some of the film’s major scenes that provide light on what really transpired.
Is Paul Allen Still Alive?
Paul Allen, portrayed by Jared Leto, is Bateman’s adversary and nearly appears to embody the compulsive materialism that Bateman and his pals are so engrossed in throughout the film. Allen has a gorgeous business card, dresses in high-end clothes, and can always obtain reservations at Dorsia, a highly sought restaurant mentioned a thousand times in the film. Bateman can’t take it when Allen keeps outdoing him, and he wants to murder him.
Bateman gets Allen very intoxicated and takes him back to his place to listen to Huey Lewis and the News in a frightening yet amusing sequence. While the two of them are conversing, Allen, intoxicated and oblivious, notices Bateman clothing himself in a transparent raincoat and retrieving an axe from his bathroom. “Try getting a reservation at Dorsia now, you fucking dumb bastard!” Bateman exclaims as he drives the axe into Allen’s skull. And the audience believes Paul Allen is no longer alive.
Bateman takes Allen’s keys and uses them to break into his apartment and leave a message on his phone claiming to be going to London to cover up the murder. However, the false message does not function as intended, and the following day, a detective called Donald Kimball comes to Bateman’s office and mentions a strange voicemail.
But here is when things become tricky. Bateman’s lawyer Harold says towards the conclusion of the film that he had dinner with Paul Allen just a few days before, implying that Allen was still alive and had traveled to London. Isn’t it possible that Bateman murdered Allen and then cooked up a fake trip to London to explain his disappearance? It may not be as easy as that.
Bateman then travels to Paul Allen’s residence, where the viewer is made to think that Bateman has been murdering people for weeks. However, when he gets to Allen’s, all of the body-filled closets are empty, and he is met by a realtor who tells him that no one called Paul Allen has ever lived there.
The audience should understand at this moment that Patrick Bateman’s narrative has been totally untrustworthy the whole time. We can no longer be certain that anything in the movie occurred since everything is told through the eyes of the insane and deluded Bateman.
The Explosion, the Chainsaw, and the Cat
The film’s concluding disclosures regarding Paul Allen’s survival aren’t the only indications that Patrick Bateman is an untrustworthy storyteller. Personally, I thought the moment when he kills the sex worker (nicknamed “Christie”) by slamming a chainsaw down a flight of stairs was implausible. Of course, dropping a chainsaw with precise time so that it falls in the back of a fleeing victim seems to be a tough task, but there’s also the fact that no one saw the incident.
Christie is shouting at the top of her lungs and pounding on adjacent doors as she flees from a naked and bloodied Bateman. Bateman isn’t exactly whispering as he rushes down the corridor, whirling a chainsaw. If Paul Allen is the only person who lives in the apartment building (which seems improbable in a ritzy Manhattan apartment complex), how did no one else know about it? Bateman very certainly didn’t murder Christie, or at least didn’t do it in such a spectacular and public manner.
There’s also the moment when Bateman walks to the ATM and sees “FEED ME A STRAY CAT” written on the machine. This is a strong sign that Bateman is suffering from visual hallucinations, since I doubt there are any ATMs in New York City requesting that customers feed stray animals. At least, I don’t think so.
Bateman is attempting to follow the machine’s instruction by putting the barrel of a pistol to the head of a stray cat when an elderly woman notices him and he kills her instead. The police are alerted by the gunfire, and Bateman flees the scene.
When Bateman is surrounded by police, he begins shooting at them, eventually blowing up a number of squad vehicles in a burst of fire with just a tiny handgun. He looks at the gun incredulously, surprised that such a tiny weapon could have caused so much damage. This meeting with the cops appears to me to have never occurred at all, and that it was all just another hallucination in Bateman’s head.
The Notebook is a film about a young woman
In another scene, Jean (Bateman’s receptionist) finds a journal packed with horrific pictures of violence in Bateman’s desk, many of which represent killings that occurred earlier in the film. While some viewers may see this as proof that Bateman was merely dreaming about these murders and never carried them out, I believe this is a leap of faith.
In any case, I don’t believe the notebook demonstrates anything. Perhaps it implies that Bateman spent the whole movie sitting at his desk daydreaming, but I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to believe that a genuine homicidal lunatic would likewise sketch his previous crimes in a notebook to relive or commemorate them. As a result, I don’t believe the notebook aids us in drawing any conclusions.
Is It True That He Assassinated Someone?
“One thing I believe is a failure on my side is people keep coming out of the film thinking it’s all a dream, and I never meant that,” director Mary Harron said in an interview with Charlie Rose. Indeed, after reading Bret Easton Ellis’ book, it seems as though the viewer is meant to conclude that Bateman is a serial killer.
The whole video is intended to be a parody of yuppie Manhattan financial culture, highlighting how none of the characters know anything about one other beyond a superficial level. Bateman might be a psychotic serial murderer (and it seems that he is), but no one would notice because they’re too preoccupied with what type of suit he’s wearing or how the writing on his business card looks.
There are several scenes in American Psycho in which Bateman is mistaken for someone else, highlighting the lack of individualism in his social circle but also implying that Harold didn’t actually meet Paul Allen in London, but instead met with another interchangeable finance guy who he mistook for Paul Allen. If this is the case, the movie seems to be implying that one of these Wall Street buddies might disappear and no one would notice since they’re all so identical.
At the end of the day, we’ll never know which portions of the movie are hallucinations and which are genuine occurrences, but that’s not the point. The idea is that throughout the movie, Patrick Bateman is completely insane, either having crazy homicidal thoughts or killing people on a regular basis, and no one notices. Bateman is considered to be just another member of the crowd as long as he wears his expensive suit and spectacles to work, drives a good vehicle, and lives in a lovely apartment in the “correct” area of town. Who cares if he spends his spare time cutting people up?
Frequently Asked Questions
Was it all in Patrick Batemans head?
No, it was not all in Patrick Batemans head.
What did Patrick Bateman do to Christie and Sabrina?
He killed them.
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