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Explain: American Psycho

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Explain: American Psycho

Old 08-31-08, 06:23 PM
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Explain: American Psycho

I just (10 minutes ago) watched American Psycho for the first time, and I just want to say up front that I have never needed a movie explained to me before, but...

What just happened?
Patrick kills people in Paul Bateman's appartment after he has killed Bateman himself. He keeps these bodies in Bateman's apartment. He has a head in the fridge and bodies in the closet. He confesses to the killings to his attorney.

Towards the end, the appartment is being cleaned and painted with no explaination. He was just told to never come back. Patick's attorney tells him that he had lunch with Paul Allen in London recently even thought Bateman had killed him already.

Is everyone just covering for him? His friends telling Detective Kimbal he was at party with them at the time of Paul's death, Paul's Apartment being cleaned and Patrick's attorney's claim of having seen Paul recently.


I will probably have to re-watch this, but without my G/F. She felt it was terrible and really kept me from concentrating on the film.
Old 08-31-08, 06:56 PM
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It's purposely ambiguous. Did he or didn't he?
Old 08-31-08, 06:59 PM
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http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0144084/faq
Old 08-31-08, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by New-AgeOutlaw View Post
I will probably have to re-watch this, but without my G/F. She felt it was terrible and really kept me from concentrating on the film.
I can understand that from a content prespective, but it is a well made flick and one of the funnier dark comedies out there. Just morbidly hilarious.

IMO, he didn't do anything, it was all in his head.
Old 08-31-08, 09:16 PM
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I think it's just more of a social commentary...He did kill all those people, but everyone is so caught up in their own materialistic lives, no one even notices; no one ever knew each others names or what they looked like...They were too caught up in themselves to even notice.

Last edited by benh911; 09-03-08 at 03:20 AM.
Old 08-31-08, 09:19 PM
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The page FinkPish linked to jumps to some conclusions that seem possible yet improbable. I have bumped into people whose names I could not remember or mis-remembered, but I think most people would figure it out after 1 or 2 lunches. I also doubt a realtor would find heads and bodies in an appartment, clear it out and clean without ever calling the police.

Bret Easton Ellis (the Author) says the murders happened, but I say in the book, maybe, in the movie, maybe not.

I will definatly have to rewatch. I do enjoy the occasion movie I have to really think about, but this one does have some things that are a stretch.
Old 08-31-08, 09:20 PM
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Just watch it again. It'll make more sense if you just watch it again.
Old 08-31-08, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by benh911 View Post
I think it's just more of a social commentary...He did kill all those people, but everyone is so caught up in their own materialistic lives, no one even notices; no one ever knew each others names of what they looked like...They were too caught up in themselves to even notice.
That is a pretty good summery of how I view the film.

The only character that I didn't get was the women showing the open house, which was Paul Allen's apartment? She somehow seemed to know about what happenened and warned Patrick to leave?
Old 08-31-08, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by New-AgeOutlaw View Post

I will probably have to re-watch this, but without my G/F. She felt it was terrible and really kept me from concentrating on the film.


Women and girls are simply stupid when it comes to films like these. They simply can't wrap their little brains around movies like this or, say, a film like Fight Club. They don't understand it. They can't understand it.
Old 08-31-08, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by New-AgeOutlaw View Post
I will probably have to re-watch this, but without my G/F. She felt it was terrible and really kept me from concentrating on the film.
She probably thinks The Notebook is the best movie of all time, too. Mine does.
Old 08-31-08, 09:36 PM
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My ex loved American Psycho and she got it.

*sigh
Old 08-31-08, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt View Post
My ex loved American Psycho and she got it.

*sigh

She probably tucked her dick under her thighs every night before going out, or hanging out with you.
Old 08-31-08, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by DthRdrX View Post
The only character that I didn't get was the women showing the open house, which was Paul Allen's apartment? She somehow seemed to know about what happenened and warned Patrick to leave?
She knew something horrible had happened there, but going to the cops would have cost her too much as a real estate agent - how many sales could she make in the middle of a crime scene. She had cleaned and re-painted the apartment, thereby removing the evidence. Her own self-interest and greed had done Bateman's clean-up work for him.
Old 08-31-08, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by RTisBetter View Post
She probably tucked her dick under her thighs every night before going out, or hanging out with you.
Aren't you a bundle of roses.
Old 08-31-08, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by RTisBetter View Post
Women and girls are simply stupid when it comes to films like these. They simply can't wrap their little brains around movies like this or, say, a film like Fight Club. They don't understand it. They can't understand it.
That's incredibly sexist. There are plenty of women who watch and enjoy these films. If you compare the female to male ratings for these films on IMDB, they're not that different (excepting for women under the age of 18).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0137523/ratings
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0144084/ratings

Also, American Psycho was both written and directed by women, so obviously there are women who understand the material, otherwise we wouldn't have the film as it is.
Old 09-01-08, 12:14 AM
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My take is he never killed anybody.

He is a person with ego, self esteem, and self identity problems in a life where he is an unknown. This is a recurring theme in the film, with no even knowing who he is covered from several angles.

He has an elaborate fantasy life in his mind where he is the master and takes revenge on those who he feels envy for, powerless against, etc. thos who gets the good reservations, those who are more successful, etc.

He never killed anyone. It was all in mind that is shattering from the identity crisis. I think it's pretty clear that's the idea of the film. Particularly with repeated viewings. The movie makes it inescapable that no on was ever killed, it was all in his twisted fantasies.
Old 09-01-08, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by RTisBetter View Post
Women and girls are simply stupid when it comes to films like these. They simply can't wrap their little brains around movies like this or, say, a film like Fight Club. They don't understand it. They can't understand it.

I bet you're a hit with the ladies.
Old 09-01-08, 01:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse View Post
I think it's pretty clear that's the idea of the film. Particularly with repeated viewings. The movie makes it inescapable that no on was ever killed, it was all in his twisted fantasies.

Well, I've read that both the director/screenwriter claim that he did, in fact, kill people in the movie, so it's not as cut and dry as that.

Personally, I sort of believe that in both the movie and the book he did kill people, but with maybe some exaggeration to specific details/events.
Old 09-01-08, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Luther Heggs View Post
She knew something horrible had happened there, but going to the cops would have cost her too much as a real estate agent - how many sales could she make in the middle of a crime scene. She had cleaned and re-painted the apartment, thereby removing the evidence. Her own self-interest and greed had done Bateman's clean-up work for him.
Exactly, the whole movie is about being too self-involved,self-absorbed, and being greedy as hell. The real-estate agent only cared about the sale and she knew that place would never sell if it got out what happened there so she cleaned up bateman's mess. And when it came to Jared Leto's character(can't remember his name been a few years), and people seeing him in Europe, i think that is another case of mistaken identity. Throughout the entire film people kept referring to Bateman as (Leto's characters) name, which i believe is because he was one of the more popular and more successful guys in their business and since that is all these people really care that is the first name that pops in their heads(again being to self-absorbed to know the difference). So when the cop asked people if they had seen the guy they probably just remembered seeing someone like Bateman that looked like him and that means it had to be him. Even the cop was so self-absorbed in his own life to really look into it.
Old 09-01-08, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by New-AgeOutlaw View Post
Patrick kills people in Paul Bateman's appartment after he has killed Bateman himself.
Who's Paul Bateman?

Patrick doesn't kill anyone in the movie -- he's delusional and imagines he does. In the novel it's more ambiguous and surreal.
Old 09-01-08, 03:18 PM
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The only thing that bothers me in this movie is the quote that Patrick Bateman mistakenly attributes to Ed Gein about a girl with her head on a stick, is actually a quote from Ed Kemper.
Old 09-01-08, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse View Post
My take is he never killed anybody.

He is a person with ego, self esteem, and self identity problems in a life where he is an unknown. This is a recurring theme in the film, with no even knowing who he is covered from several angles.

He has an elaborate fantasy life in his mind where he is the master and takes revenge on those who he feels envy for, powerless against, etc. thos who gets the good reservations, those who are more successful, etc.

He never killed anyone. It was all in mind that is shattering from the identity crisis. I think it's pretty clear that's the idea of the film. Particularly with repeated viewings. The movie makes it inescapable that no on was ever killed, it was all in his twisted fantasies.
I agree. I've had endless arguments with friends about this. Some of the clues for me are:

The day planner. Inside are cartoons of all of the murders. He drew them as he fantasized about them.
The Blood Trail. When he drags his first kill through the lobby he leaves a foot wide blood trail. No one notices.
The hallway. A screaming girl runs down a hallway in the middle of the night, pounding on doors, being chased by a chainsaw revving maniac and no one wakes up.
The realtor. Mentioned above.
The exploding cop car. This was the most telling clue. It might as well have been a neon sign telling you it was a fantasy.
Old 09-01-08, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Sean O'Hara View Post
Who's Paul Bateman?
That's I was thinking. Could be part of the OP's confusion
Old 09-01-08, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by zombeaner View Post
The only thing that bothers me in this movie is the quote that Patrick Bateman mistakenly attributes to Ed Gein about a girl with her head on a stick, is actually a quote from Ed Kemper.
Edmund Kemper was super crazy. For those interested:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_kemper

Originally Posted by wikipedia
In April 1973, Kemper battered his mother to death with a pick hammer while she slept. He used her decapitated head for oral sex before using it as a dartboard. He also cut out her vocal cords and put them in the garbage disposal, but the machine could not break the tough tissue down and regurgitated it back into the sink. "That seemed appropriate," he said after his arrest, "as much as she'd bitched and screamed and yelled at me over so many years." His murderous urges not yet satiated, he then invited his mother's best friend over and killed her too, by strangulation. He then drove eastward, but when no word of his crimes hit the radio airwaves he became discouraged, stopped the car, called the police and confessed to being the Co-ed Killer. He told them what he had done and waited for them to pick him up, seemingly unashamed as he confessed to necrophilia and cannibalism. At his trial he pleaded insanity, but he was found guilty of eight counts of murder. He asked for the death penalty, but with capital punishment suspended at that time, he instead received life imprisonment.
Old 09-01-08, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by paradicelost View Post
Exactly, the whole movie is about being too self-involved,self-absorbed, and being greedy as hell. The real-estate agent only cared about the sale and she knew that place would never sell if it got out what happened there so she cleaned up bateman's mess. And when it came to Jared Leto's character(can't remember his name been a few years), and people seeing him in Europe, i think that is another case of mistaken identity. Throughout the entire film people kept referring to Bateman as (Leto's characters) name, which i believe is because he was one of the more popular and more successful guys in their business and since that is all these people really care that is the first name that pops in their heads(again being to self-absorbed to know the difference). So when the cop asked people if they had seen the guy they probably just remembered seeing someone like Bateman that looked like him and that means it had to be him. Even the cop was so self-absorbed in his own life to really look into it.
I agree with this.

Having read the book (which was a satire of the 80's), this movie does well in sticking with most of the main ideas of the book, though not as extreme.

To put more evidence in ParadiceLost's quote, in the novel Bateman (who narrates) goes on to describe everything that the people he knows and meets are wearing in detail. For instance every time he meets up with friends or colleagues he describes every pieces of clothing and accessory (by designer and description) in excess/detail. He does the same with every person who he doesn't know that he meets in a nightclub, at a work party, or at restaurants. Every meet up in every chapter has Bateman doing this.

Many of the hints of excess in the movie (ex. The business card "showdown") are still in the book, but a good chunk of the parts of 80's excess are missing (obviously due to importance and time).

Though the book is pretty much soaked in blood and gore, it's chock full of not so subtle hints at the excess of the 80's.

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