I did my film analysis on one of my all time favorite films American Psycho starring Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman. American psycho is a satire about 1980’s “yuppy” culture and how the upper class is enamoured with materialism. In the opening scene there is a wide sweeping shot of Batemans house where before even meeting him describes his apartment and how much it cost he talks in detail about his skin products that he uses, his workout regiment, his Cerruti sheets on his bed and how he can always get a table at Espace.
At the heart of the film there is scene where Patrick and his co worker compare business card Patrick becomes livid when he comes to the realization that someone can have a card that is more stylish, more expensive, and has more class than his own. This poses the idea that what is deemed as trendy is always changing (in one of the scenes Bateman can’t get a table at Dorsia so he states to all of his friends “no one goes there anymore) and it’s nearly impossible to keep up with, leading to the realization that the pursuit of happiness through ownership is a meaningless endeavor that always leads to emptiness.
While the Business Card scene is about status through materialism it can also be viewed as masculine aggression finding a new channel, in one scene in particular Patrick is at his victim Paul Allen’s house and becomes hysterical when posed with the realization that Pauls house might be nicer than his own because its “overlooking the park and obviously more expensive than mine”, this is the breaking point for Bateman and ultimately murders Pauls over his superior social status.
This is how all the violence in the film is manifested, through the passive warfare of expensive versace suit and exclusive restaurant reservations that these men are able to obtain.
At the center of this Brooks Brothers clad group of men is Patrick Bateman a caricature of western masculinity. From his perfectly sculpted physique to his objectification of women as mere sexual conduits, he is the epitome of misogyny and privilege. When Bateman brings over prostitutes he almost ritualistically give thems new “names” for the night to strip them of their humanity. American Psycho takes this idea of dehumanization of women to the very extremes. Bateman not only fails to grasp the humanity or intellect of these women but sees them as bodies ready for him to dissect. This loss of humanity is what ultimately leads bateman to his “break in sanity” in the third act of the movie, where he momentarily grows desperate and is panicked after his murder spree and almost seems human for the first time in the film.
Patrick ends the film by stating that he has no spiritual growth or learned anything from his actions “it is only a confession that has meant nothing” because he is so enamored with himself he is unwilling to analyze his place in the world. This is how entitlement and privilege thrive in society, when one is not able to acknowledge their privilege, Patrick is neither a victim of his society nor a villian, he is the epitome of materialism and what constitutes masculinity in our society. Patrick is not a villain or a individual we should pity he is simply a case study for us to look at and take it as it is.