American Psycho Ending – Possible Theory of Reality and Fantasy

American Psycho is a blood-curdling thriller that none of you want to miss. It is humorous, it is funny and yet it has a deep meaning which goes into the roots. It is a commentary on the sexual insecurities of men, their obsession with materialistic things, their apathy and their shallowness as well. The central character of the film Patrick Bateman, played by Christian Bale has an interesting shade about it. He has a repressed anger which has been built in him because of dwelling in the corporate culture for decades and for killing people which have now become a hobby, more than a necessity. Bateman is one of the most emerged characters that has been written in the history of the films. While it might come as a surprise to you, the original choice for Leonardo DiCaprio. As people warned him not to play this role because of it would be a career suicide, Christian Bale got the offer to the film.

While trying to decipher the film, there are too many minute things that weave the character which you will observe! It’s been 15 years since American Psycho has been released and the ending of the film is still a debate to most of the people. As the narration goes on, the events in the film start getting violent taking gory turns and building to a conclusion. It leaves the users questioning what part of the film is real and what of it is a fantasy. There are theories that say that Patrick has just imagined of killing anyone which gave birth to many questions like Did he really kill someone? Was he imagining all of those murders in order to deal with his frustration? Was Allen dead? Well, we have explored various theories in order to decipher you all the possibilities and come with few theories that are in synchronization with this classic thriller.

Before postulating the theories and working on them, there are more accurate things that you need to understand the movie and the events that have led to the climax finally.

  • Patrick Bateman visits the ATM in order to withdraw the money which is when he gets the message, ‘Feed me the stray cat’. He doesn’t hesitate once to kill the kitten and feed it inside the ATM until a grossed out woman comes and interrupts him. This woman is his first victim, there!
  • Patrick is then chased by few policemen in the cars, as the whole incident starts into a shootout later. He kills few policemen and blows up the car which can’t be possibly done with a pistol. After the blow-up, he is surprised and stares at the gun in disbelief for seconds before actually checking the time and running back into office.
  • In the third picture, he enters into a random office which is not the one where he works where a security guard starts calling him “Mr. Smith”. He kills both the janitor and the guard in order to not leave a witness and then goes to his own office.
  • Bateman then gets into the cabin, hiding from the helicopter lights under the desk. He calls the lawyer and leaves a lengthy message on it confessing all that he has done including all of his heinous acts of murdering Paul Allen and also the girls who have been escorting him as well.

The twist in the tale of the film comes the next day which has been a part of contention for 15 year whole years.

  • Why are the dead bodies not present in the storage compartment, anymore?
  • A realtor is shocked to see Bateman and tells him that someone named Paul Allen used to live there and asks him to leave the apartment.
  • His lawyer mistakes him for someone called Davis who left a message as a prank. According to him, Bateman is a dork who can’t commit a mistake like that. Harold rubbishes his claim that he has killed Paul and says that he had a dinner with Paul, around ten days back in London.
  • Jean finds a notebook which has reflections of the psychosis of Bateman and we wonder if all of it is a fantasy.

The three possibilities behind the Bateman’s psychology are:

  • It is a fantasy made up by Bateman reflecting his psychosis and his state of mind, given the corporate culture.
  • Bateman has killed everyone except for Paul Allen.
  • Bateman has killed everyone and Harold has mistaken him for someone else.

Personally, I think that Bateman is the actual killer and has killed Paul Allen. There is not a bit of doubt that he is psychotic. It is indicated in the film where he asks for a girl for mumbles and alcohol saying that

“You’re a fucking ugly bitch, I want to stab you to death and then play around with your blood.”

Patrick Bateman is an eccentric, affluent and self-obsessed working in a financial firm. He likes what he does or at least pretends that he likes what he does. All of them show their visiting cards to flaunt in order to display their superiority over others as a vanity fair. However, this is not just limited to the visiting cards as it includes visiting a lavish restaurant, obsessing over materialistic things like a tie or keeping a luxurious wardrobe. They care about absolutely nothing other than social image and this is one of the reasons why Bateman lawyer never knew his name and has mistaken him for someone else. There is a possibility for him not remembering who Paul Allen is and might have mistaken him for someone else with whom he has dined. If Bateman has really axed Paul Allen in a brutal way, there is no way that he has lived.

Detective Donald Kimball at the end drops the case telling that the protagonist of the movie has an alibi. The call that Bateman has made to Paul’s landline states that he went to London. Then, why did he fill Allen? In the first act of the movie, it is mentioned that Patrick loathes Allen especially when they are talking about their profiles, characteristics, and suits. The events that happen towards the climax are possible fringes of his imagination. There is no ATM that pops up a message saying that a stray cat should be fed. Even when he shrugs in utter disbelief, he manages to do some damage with the pistol to the scenario. I think this particular episode is designed to show us his sadism and his problems with vivid imagination and extreme delusions.

It is horrifying as well as tragic that people don’t believe his confession because of the opinion they have on him. People are so busy with their shit that they don’t acknowledge about him being the dork and how someone like him can commit cold blood murder. American Psycho deals with the superficial images of the society, the shallowness of it and the disbelief that it has as an individual. Everything in this movie is depicted in the last scene where Patrick spits various facts about how society has been fucked up in the cover of materialism.

There are no more barriers to cross. 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. My pain is constant and sharp, and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape. But even after admitting this, there is no catharsis; my punishment continues to elude me, and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself. No new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing.

American Psycho is a movie full of madness. It doesn’t only glorify pleasure but the lust and the satisfaction of killing as we narrate it so extravagantly and furiously while leaving you to shock!

Jeevana Mounika
 

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