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Pierce & Pierce

    Patrick Bateman 
Dubbed by: Jean-Pierre Michaël (European French)
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/american_psycho_patrick_bateman_5.jpg

The titular psycho. A wealthy Wall Street investment banker and stereotypical late 80's Yuppie, who also might be a murdering psychopath.


  • Actually, I Am Him: Patrick frequently speaks to people who casually reveal that they think he's someone else by referring to him in the third person, usually while saying something insulting.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: While still just as unhinged and abhorrent as every other iteration, Patrick in the musical much more openly despairs about how empty and meaningless his life is, making his murderous actions appear even more like a cry for help. Jean also functions closer to a Morality Pet to him, as he considers her the only legitimately good person in his life.
  • All for Nothing: None of Patrick's crimes are noticed and he realizes that nothing he does will ever matter or grant him any way out of the torment of his daily existence.
    Patrick: 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.
  • Alone in a Crowd: Patrick is ultimately condemned to spend the rest of his life being ignored by the world around him.
  • AM/FM Characterization: He tends to listen to what was regarded as generic and cheesy 1980's pop music while dismissing anything more experimental (some of the artists he likes have since become popular or well-regarded again, though). This is used to show what a shallow and banal person he is; he just goes along with whatever he thinks is popular in order to fit in, rather than developing his own unique tastes. In the film adaptation, he plays Phil Collins' "Sussudio" ("one of my personal favorites") of all things while having sex with two prostitutes.
    • His favourite band is Talking Heads. He also likes Huey Lewis and the News, Genesisnote  and Whitney Houston. He attends a U2 concert and feels like he connects with Bono during a song.
    • He dismisses Peter Gabriel's solo career as "lame" and informs us that a girl about to have his abortion doesn't deserve sympathy because she thinks Sting is cool. He also dislikes punk rock, describing LA's punk scene as "best forgotten".
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In addition to torturing prostitutes and stabbing a child to death, he also enjoys making obscene phone calls and buying a box of cereal with an expired coupon.
  • Asshole Victim: He finally receives his comeuppance in the novel Lunar Park when he gets trapped in a pier fire. He really had it coming to say the least.
  • Attention Whore: Confesses his crimes near the end because he wants people to know him and because he wants to matter! It doesn't work as no one believes him and his crimes may have been all just a fantasy. In the end, no one will give a shit about him, no matter how hard he tries.
  • Ax-Crazy: Currently the trope image. He also is a Serial Killer to boot, and at one point literally kills someone with an axe.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: In both the movie and the book, he stomps a dog to death that belonged to a homeless man he previously stabbed. In a chapter in the book, he disembowels another dog, then shoots its owner; in a chapter set at a zoo, he throws nickel coins to the seals, just because he saw a sign asking people not to do so (because they can choke on them).
  • Being Evil Sucks: Patrick's crimes bring him no joy whatsoever and the same traits that made him a killer will continue to torture him for the rest of his life. The fact that he seems immune to the consequences of his actions (whether or not it's the immunity his position in society gives him, the ineptitude of the world around him, "good" luck or if his murders even happened) feels more like a curse than a blessing to him.
  • Beneath the Mask: Publicly, he's charming, mild-mannered, and likable to those in his circle of friends. Privately, he's a violent sadist incapable of empathy, remorse, or compassion. He explicitly refers to his friendly façade as his "Mask of Sanity".
  • Berserk Button: Anything that gives him the idea that he has/gets less than the absolute best or that there is someone in his social circles that might be better than him. For instance, the very thought that Patrick will not get a good table at a restaurant is enough to put him "on the verge of tears". Also (in the movie), as much as he despises Luis, it's the fact that Luis had business cards that Patrick thinks are better than his own that drives him to attempt to murder Luis almost immediately. May or may not also apply to insulting his tastes in music, which might be a reaction borne out of frustration that his attempts to fit in aren't working, or a genuine (if completely overzealous and murderous) reaction.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: In part of the work's satire in shaping him as a product of 1980's American culture and values, as molded by its media and most prominent political figures, he appropriates other popular phrases of the era for himself. Most notably, Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No", and, more humorously while speaking on a telephone, George H. W. Bush's "Read My Lips".
  • Broken Ace: He outwardly appears wealthy, handsome, and successful, but Beneath the Mask his life is empty, soulless, and deeply disturbed.
  • Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: In keeping with him being an Unreliable Narrator, numerous instances are described by Bateman as if they were something happening in a movie.
    • He occasionally may describe a brief action before a dramatic moment, such as before he commits violence, as occurring in "slow motion".
    • In the middle of murders, he sometimes refers to the demeaning things he tells his victims as "lines" which he speaks.
    • Hearing Madonna's "Like a Prayer" during a nervous breakdown causes Patrick to see the actions of everyone around him as moving in synch to the song, like in a music video.
    • The climatic police chase near the end of the book plays out like an over-the-top 1980's action movie, which momentarily switches to a third-person perspective and which Patrick remembers as "the chase scene" in a later chapter.
  • Can't Get in Trouble for Nuthin': No one suspects him of anything, even after he confesses everything.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Patrick seems to know precisely what an evil bastard he is but doesn't care about it any more than he does anything else.
  • Cassandra Truth: There are times when he openly confesses his crimes to people, who either don't believe him, mishear him, or think he's joking.
  • Catchphrase: "I have to return some videotapes."
  • Characterization Marches On: He first appears in Bret Easton Ellis' The Rules of Attraction, with no indication that he's a monstrous serial killer. In fact, he comes off as normal.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Hallucinates that an ATM tells him to feed it a stray cat. He actually tries to do it in the movie.
  • Condescending Compassion: If Bateman does or says something nice for another person (and it's not entirely superficial), it's this. In the book, there's a point where Bateman is furious about a crack in the wall of his penthouse that he told the doorman about that hasn't been fixed quickly enough. When he goes down to the lobby to complain, he finds the doorman's been replaced with someone Bateman's own age, but fat, balding, less attractive, and reading newspaper comics. Seeing this makes Bateman realize how good-looking and successful he is, and with his fragile ego placated he politely walks out without incident.
  • Creative Sterility: A big part of Bateman's character is that he has no imagination to speak of. Much of the reason he fails to stand out from a crowd and resorts to murder to try to define himself is that the murder is (probably) the only thing he does that nobody in his social circle does; they all wear the same clothes, go to the same restaurants, watch the same movies, listen to the same music, and really seem to have no hobbies or ambitions apart from keeping up with the latest fad.
    • This is exaggerated in the film where Patrick along with everyone else are comparing business cards, the cards in question are all completely identical save for their names (and even then they are typed out the exact same way, with the exact same spelling error to boot).
  • Creepy Monotone: His Inner Monologue is this, talking about murder and torture as if it was a mundane hobby he has.
  • Crocodile Tears: While on the phone with his lawyer, he does the best he can to sound distressed and crying, and he doesn't even do that good of a job at it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Makes several snarky comments at the people around him, when he isn't thinking about killing them, that is.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: In a really twisted way, this is arguably the main reason for his killings, to do something to break up the monotony of his life.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Several of his victims are killed out of jealousy or vengeance over incredibly petty grievances.
  • Distracted by My Own Sexy: In the film, during the porn film he's making with two prostitutes, he spends more time looking at himself in a mirror, flexing his biceps.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In the American Psycho 2000 emails, which were overseen by Bret Easton Ellis, Patrick writes about having developed genuine affection for his and Jean's son, Patrick Bateman Jr., admitting that while "P.B." was originally just something for him to control and possess, like Jean, now, "I am viewing my son for the first time as a person, not a possession or a pawn."
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Of all the horrendous atrocities he's committed, including murder, cannibalism, and so on, Bateman draws the line at anti-Semitic remarks. Or seems to (in the book, he has an argument in a Jewish deli and insults the people running it).
    • Though, given that this is Patrick Bateman we are talking about, this could just be Pragmatic Villainy.
    • When sexually harassing women over the phone, he loses his boner immediately when one of them says "Dad, is that you?"
    • Three characters whom he does not kill are Evelyn, his fiancée; Jean, his secretary; and Luis, his gay associate, all of whom are in love with him. Notable, as Bateman finds Evelyn incredibly annoying, but never considers murdering her, and he was actually about to kill Luis, until he revealed he was gay and in love with Bateman. Even though Bateman is disgusted by this he still does not kill Luis. Also inverted in the book, where Bateman kills a small boy but doesn't find it evil enough.
    • "Earlier in the night after dropping Jeanette off I stopped at M.K. for a fund-raiser that had something to do with Dan Quayle, who even I don't like".
  • Evil Is Petty: Almost all of his murders are motivated by people having nicer clothes or better apartments than he does.
  • Executive Excess: Patrick has a very high-paying job with his company (vice-president in the film adaptation) but he's never seen doing any real work. As such, most of his time is spent wasting time in his office, eating at ludicrously fashionable restaurants, dancing in clubs, hoovering up cocaine, and screwing prostitutes... then murdering them in cold blood. Then again, Patrick's father owns the company...
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Patrick takes immense pride in his appearance and he's played by the very handsome and muscular Christian Bale which contrasts with the depraved bastard he is.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Trapped in a shallow world of greed and hatred that he despises as much as he detests himself. All while knowing that nothing he does will ever be of any consequence.
  • Faux Affably Evil: While he does enjoy making articulate lectures about pop music and chatting about Men's fashion, most of his polite and politically correct behavior is a Mask of Sanity that barely stays on half the time. A good example is when he appears to sympathize with a homeless man before killing him (blinding him in the book) and killing (in the book, maiming) his dog.
  • Fictional Fan, Real Celebrity: He is described as a fan of Donald Trump. In Patrick's view, Trump's public image defines the positive features of a life of supreme wealth, luxury, and extravagance which Patrick wants for himself. However, Patrick's own pursuits of such a lavish, materialistic lifestyle leave him a Broken Ace leading a meaningless existence—hollow, sentimentally empty, alienated, morally bankrupt, and purely evil.
  • Fitness Nut: Patrick is obsessed with maintaining a perfect physique. His workout routine includes jump rope, calisthenics and stomach crunches ("I can do a thousand"). When having sex, he notably seems more interested in his own body than his partners'.
  • Foil: Amazingly, Patrick is a foil to Courtney Lawrence, Luis' fiancée. Just like Patrick, Courtney is engaged to someone who doesn't love her (Luis is obviously gay and infatuated with Bateman), surrounded by people that don't care about her (namely Patrick who just uses her for sex), and feels utterly alone. While she copes with these emotions through copious amounts of pharmaceuticals and napping the days away, Patrick vents his hostility and self-loathing on his murder victims. It's debatable who's the healthier of the two.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: He goes to a Halloween party dressed as a mass murderer, complete with real human blood on his suit. He comes in 2nd in the party's costume contest, which really upsets him.
  • For the Evulz: If it isn't his primary motivation, it comes damn close. In the book, he kills a child and is only upset because it wasn't evil enough for his taste. He also tricks Evelyn into eating a urinal cake at one point.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Aside from his secretary, no one is really fond of him. Even among his so-called "friends" he's regarded as a spineless loser.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Ellis has stated that long before he came up with the "serial killer on Wall Street" concept, the novel was inspired by his own sense of isolation, disaffection and loneliness while living in New York in the 1980s. A significant theme of the novel is how it is partly Bateman's isolation from other people that drives him to insanity.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: One of the things that make Bateman hate Paul and want to kill him and others is because they have better things than him. His jealousy and feelings of inferiority are apparent in his Inner Monologue when entering the recently murdered Paul's apartment.
    Patrick Bateman: There is a moment of sheer panic when I realize that Paul's apartment overlooks the park... and is obviously more expensive than mine.
  • Hallucinations: Caused by stress, and extremely bizarre, but he believes every one of them.
  • Harassing Phone Call: He makes a bunch of obscene phone calls to women to amuse himself:
    "I'm a corporate raider," I whispered lasciviously into the cordless phone. "I orchestrate hostile takeovers. What do you think of that?" and I would pause before making sucking noises, freakish piglike grunts, and then ask, "Huh, bitch?"
  • Hate Sink: Of the worst kind. Apart from being a superficial yuppie prone to making bigoted remarks, what makes Bateman especially vile is his lack of any human feelings, and his horrific, perfected sadism, from murdering animals and children, to torturing women in ways that would be too harmful for the mind to even mention. He also never once shows any remotely sympathetic or kind moments, the end result is a truly inhuman, repulsive, loathsome scumbag you'll want to see dead.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: He has enough money, free time and connections to live without a care in the world and maybe get some psychological help along the way. Instead, he dedicates his own life to any kind of depravity he can think of, only to be never satisfied.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Early in the narrative, he publicly puts forth to his peers that it is on themselves to work towards solving social crises, such as providing food and shelter for the homeless, opposing racial discrimination, supporting civil rights and equal rights for women, and return to traditional moral values. However, privately, Bateman is an ardent bigot without ethics who only feels disgust for the poor.
      • In the book, as Bateman lays this all out, he even tries to openly support both sides of divisive social issues, such as stressing a need to "change abortion laws to protect the life of the unborn while also maintaining a woman's right to choose," which is further contradicted later in the book in separate scenes where Bateman forces women who he sleeps with to get abortions even performing several of them himself against their will.
    • Patrick shows open disdain for people who smoke cigarettes, while he himself enjoys smoking cigars.
      • In the film, Patrick disallows one of the prostitutes from smoking in his apartment after she takes out a cigarette, but Patrick lights a cigar in the exact same room after murdering Paul Allen.
      • In the book, Patrick loudly complains about being seated next to smokers at a restaurant (hoping the "nicotine addicts" hear him and feel guilty about their habit) when meeting with his ex-girlfriend Bethany. Later, when torturing Bethany back at his apartment, Patrick momentarily pauses to show her a cigar and gloat that he still smokes them, in spite of telling her earlier that he had quit.
    • Patrick chides his colleagues for making anti-Semitic comments about another one of their co-workers and confusing words like "menorah" and "dreidel", but in the book, while suffering some kind of mental breakdown, Patrick wanders into a kosher deli and repeatedly tries to order a cheeseburger and milkshake, failing to understand the waitress when she explains that they don't serve anything with dairy products and believing the waitress to be the one who is having a problem. When the manager approaches Patrick, he stands up and shouts anti-Semitic slurs and insults before storming out back onto the street.
    • His Straw Nihilist philosophy also comes off as extremely insincere when it’s revealed that his killing spree and blatant bragging about his crimes is centered around a desire to matter in the eyes of the people around him (and in doing so, grant his actions a sense of purpose, if a nefarious one, to what he views as a supposedly meaningless existence), whereas if he took his nihilistic ramblings to heart he wouldn’t have bothered to seek it out, much less care about what the public thought of him.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Patrick wants desperately to stand out and be admired and he is daily tormented with the knowledge that he's completely indistinguishable among every other yuppie Wall Street type and nothing he does will ever be of any consequence.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: In the book, he eats the brain and part of the insides of one of his victims, and later bursts into tears while cooking another... because he thinks he's doing it wrong and can't cook. In the movie, eating people's brains is one of the things Patrick confesses to his lawyer.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Despite his insane levels of narcissism, it is shown often that Bateman utterly detests himself as much as he does everyone else and most of his murders are motivated by people unintentionally reminding him of this.
  • I Reject Your Reality: As a sociopath, he's also deeply solipsistic and, with a narration focused on his point of view, it's almost impossible to discern how much of the event is a product of his imagination.
  • Ironic Hell: Assuming he really is a murderer, he'll likely never be caught. But that doesn't matter, because his life is already punishment enough. He's surrounded by people he hates, but doesn't know how to live away from them; he can't get anyone to stop him, because nobody hears what he says; even killing people isn't any fun, because everyone is so interchangeable that when one of them dies, nobody notices - and what's the point of a murder nobody knows about?
  • It's All About Me: The only people he refuses to kill are ones who profess some affection for him, all of which he coldly discards.
  • Jerkass: This is a big understatement, but even if we assume that Patrick isn't really a serial killer, he's still a racist, sexist, sociopathic trust-fund kid with no redeeming qualities.
  • Karma Houdini: He escapes punishment for all his crimes, and boy is he upset about this status. See Fate Worse than Death.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: His very cold dumping of Evelyn was cruel, no doubt about that, but its difficult to imagine anyone wanting to commit to a lifetime of Evelyn's company.
  • Kill the Poor: While his victims hail from all the social strata, he reserves a particular contempt for the lower class, and just the presence of a homeless man is enough to send him into a murderous rage. He might be a serial killer, but he's also a yuppie.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: As described under Pop-Cultured Badass, he loves to talk about his music tastes and treat himself as a music buff, but any actual music buff would notice that almost all his recommendations are big pop hits aimed squarely at the Lowest Common Denominator, while anything he dislikes tends to be more experimental and musically interesting. And aside from taste, he also makes a ton of outright errors and misses the point of a lot of his favorite songs.
  • Lack of Empathy: He's completely incapable of empathy, compassion, remorse or love.
  • Large Ham: He has his moments. Christian Bale really enjoyed delivering some of Patrick's more over the top dialogue.
  • Laughably Evil: And even then, we're supposed to laugh AT Bateman, not with him.
  • Mask of Sanity: The Trope Codifier. And it's about to slip.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: Really? You think?
  • Misanthrope Supreme: With the exception of Jean, Patrick seems to utterly despise everyone around him. And he even comes close to killing her.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Just as he's about to kill Luis by strangling him from behind, Luis mistakes this as Bateman coming onto him, causing him to reveal that he's gay and in love with Bateman.
  • Morally Bankrupt Banker: A banker and Ax-Crazy Serial Killer.
  • The Movie Buff: He's a very avid fan of horror films and gory B-movies, which he often rents on VHS. He frequently rents Body Double in the novel, is seen watching The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) in the film, and regularly enjoys A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) in the musical. In both the novel and musical, Bateman's associates grow tired with him always talking about movie killers like Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre (which causes Patrick much annoyance when they also mistakenly call the character "Featherhead"). In the musical, Patrick also makes passing references to C.H.U.D., mentions watching Silent Night, Deadly Night prior to attending Evelyn's Christmas party, and considers Freddy Krueger an "American icon".
  • Mr. Fanservice: He has a very impressive physique and likes to show it off.
    • Fan Disservice: Unfortunately, his utterly sadistic and grotesque way of torturing people will make it hard to find him the slightest bit desirable, no matter how good looking he is.
  • Narcissist: Ye gods... Half of his Inner Monologue is centered around how superior he is and how perfect he does everything.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Christian Bale based his performance as Patrick on Tom Cruise.
  • Obsessively Normal: Everything in Patrick's life is commodified and rated, most of his social gatherings based around following the fads that his peers follow, blending in with the Lowest Common Denominator and espousing good ideas about doing good things not because he actually believes in any of it, but because it is expected of him.
  • One-Hour Work Week: His job is very high-paying, with a cushy office, but he doesn't seem to do any actual work there and has a lot of free time on his hands. In the various adaptations of the story, Patrick's time at his office is spent watching TV, listening to music on his Walkman, doing crossword puzzles, lifting weights, and any number of other unrelated activities. Famously, when Patrick and all his associates attend a business meeting, the time is spent showing off their business cards, and later, when Patrick attempts to look busy when visited by Detective Kimball, all Patrick can think to do is pick up his phone receiver and ramble on about men's fashion and proper tipping etiquette, rather than pretend to actually be in the middle of business. When his secretary looks through his day planner, it's almost empty save for lunch dates (plus doodles in the film). It's mentioned both in the book and the film that it's his dad's company. In his review of the film, Roger Ebert mused that Patrick's spree might have been averted if he'd been put to work hitting nails with a hammer, which is about the only task he's qualified for.
  • Overly-Nervous Flop Sweat: He does this a lot when under pressure or when coming close to getting caught in a lie. According to Word of God, Christian Bale was so talented an actor that when doing repeated takes of the famous business card scene, he was capable of sweating on cue.
  • Paper Tiger: Bateman has romantic notions about being acknowledged for his (if any) crimes, but he's almost pitifully fearful of being caught and punished for them.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • He almost has a moment like this, but then it's ruined. At one point, he notices a pretty homeless girl sitting on the steps of a building with a coffee cup. As he states, his nastiness vanishes, and he honestly wants to do something kind, so he drops a dollar into the cup. Then he realizes that the girl wasn't homeless but a college student, and the cup was full of coffee.
    • In the movie, he stops himself twice from killing an intended victim. His Sexy Secretary, Jean, and his co-worker Luis Carruthers. Although, the main reason he might have spared Carruthers life was out of utter shock and disgust that he was gay. And in love with him, no less.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He hits the trifecta: he's sexist, racist, and homophobic, as well as extremely elitist. And yet, he frequently calls out his "friends" for making even mildly prejudiced remarks.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: Deconstructed. He tries to define himself through his appreciation for music, art, and pop culture and relates this much to the reader/audience, but his grasp and understanding of his favorite music and artists is reduced to what material they make the most appealing to the widest audiences and Lowest Common Denominator, such as dismissing early Genesis albums with Peter Gabriel (and his "lame solo career") as being "too artsy, too intellectual" and favoring the more commercially-driven direction of the group after Phil Collins became the group's frontman. Other assessments he makes of popular singers and bands are frequently off-the-mark and factually wrong, like being convinced that Whitney Houston is a jazz singer or believing "You Can't Always Get What You Want" is a song by The Beatles. Elsewhere, he often speaks of owning what's described as the original version of "Sunrise with Broken Plates" by artist David Onica (while discreetly boasting of the high cost he paid to obtain it), only for his ex-girlfriend to point out to him that he hung it upside down. All of this only serves to further demonstrate Patrick's shallowness and delusions about having "good taste."
  • Pragmatic Villainy: He likely refrains from harming Evelyn, Jean and his yuppie cronies because he knows that he would be the first suspect. That's why he's so alarmed when he comes so close to killing Luis and Jean, realizing that his "mask of sanity" is beginning to slip.
  • Pride: A major part of his personality. Patrick is obsessed with how he appears to others and everything he says and does is out of a desire to look more intelligent and cultured than he is. The fact that his murders have gone completely unnoticed is utter torture for him.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: A very subtle case, but his demeanor behind his Mask of Sanity is rife with this, with things like murdering people over having better stuff than he has and desperately trying to garner attention for himself make him come off as a petulant brat having frequent tantrums because no one's paying attention to him.
    • Some of his other behaviors often reflect this. The narration where he goes into obsessive detail about his designer clothes, expensive furniture, and top-of-the-line technology could be seen like a teenager bragging about all the cool stuff he has. In the book and film, he's seen drawing a picture of a dead woman with crayons.
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: He seems to just wear them because they are designer and because all his other Yuppie friends wear the same thing.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: By the end of both the book and the movie, it's clear that all of Patrick's evil and depravity have afforded him nothing. He's still as lonely and miserable and empty as he was at the beginning, and no one gives a shit about him.
  • Raincoat of Horror: He wears a clear plastic raincoat over his suit, to prevent it from being stained with blood.
  • Really Gets Around: He's a womanizer and a semi-regular patron of prostitutes.
  • Sadist: Gets off on causing pain. But Patrick knows even if he's doing something like that, it'll never bring any consequences. EVER.
  • Sanity Slippage: As the book goes on, his descriptions of the mundane parts of his life become peppered with increasingly bizarre details.
  • Sarcastic Confession: He confesses his murders openly to a lot of people, but nobody takes him seriously. Sometimes, his confessions aren't really sarcastic; he actually wants people to believe him, but they never do. More to the point, all the Stepford Yuppies he reveals himself to are too self-involved to hear him correctly. They aren't even hearing or caring enough to not take him seriously. When he declares himself to work in "murders and executions", the conversation goes on about mergers and acquisitions. And when he tries to break up with Evelyn over lunch, his declaration that his need to commit murder on a massive scale was out of control zings right through her hair. Of course, as noted, it's possible that this might not all be real.
  • Saw "Star Wars" 27 Times: Patrick brings up that he has rented Body Double 37 times at his video store as he seeks to rent it once more. In the book he mentions renting despite having just returned it the night before. The book also explicitly says the main reason he watches it so much is because he masturbates to a scene in which a woman is killed by a power drill.
  • Serial Killer: Probably.
    • Some details in the book suggest a possibility that there may be one or more other serial killers on the loose and acting independently of—but very similar to—Bateman. In the first chapter, for instance, Patrick details a story in a day's newspaper about the disappearances of two people aboard a yacht belonging to a New York socialite who are believed to have been attacked with a machete and dumped off the boat; Patrick seems to have nothing to do with this. Later, Detective Kimball makes explicit reference to "a young stockbroker" in New Jersey who had been arrested and charged with murder and using corpses in "performing voodoo rituals".
    • Patrick is obsessed with real serial killers like Ted Bundy or Ed Gein, to the point that his friends complain that he always brings them up in conversations.
  • Sibling Rivalry: He and his younger brother Sean loathe each other for their very different outlooks on and approaches to life.
  • Skewed Priorities: When moving Paul Allen's body, he briefly freaks out... when he sees that Allen has a nicer place than he does.
  • The Sociopath: Informs everything about his life — the film's director describes him as a Martian trying to imitate human behavior (and never quite hitting the mark). Patrick Bateman's entire personality is a sham to look good in front of other self-absorbed yuppies, which he achieves by obsessive grooming and droning on about superficial claptrap. On the inside, he's a sadist who hates everybody, especially himself, and brutally murders people for fun. Even with the implication that none of the murders are happening, all it changes is that he has incredibly graphic fantasies instead of outright deeds. He is probably one of the best examples in media.
  • Straw Hypocrite: He often espouses lofty political ideals in public like taking care of the poor or fighting discrimination and sexism. It's all just an act to hide his true nature, as privately he not only holds numerous racist, elitist, and sexist views, but he's also a psychotic murderer who frequently kills women, minorities, and homeless people.
  • Straw Nihilist: He believes that ultimately, everything is meaningless. "Everything I have been taught: principles, distinctions, choices, morals, compromises, knowledge, unity, prayer — all of it was wrong, without any final purpose. All it came down to was: die or adapt."
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: As we learn during his narration of his morning routine, he is the pinnacle of physical perfection.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: While he's superficial and phony, no one notices how facile his persona is. Even his obsessive grooming habits go unnoticed, since he blends right in with the rest of the self-absorbed yuppie crowd. In fact, Patrick is constantly mistaken for other people in his circle.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Patrick has bizarre hallucinations he believes to be true. For instance, he once sees that a Cheerio is the guest on his favorite talk show and an ATM tells him to feed it a cat.
  • Trademark Favorite Drink: He orders several dozen scotches, always J&B, through the course of the book.
  • Unreliable Narrator: His sanity is, at best, questionable.
  • The Unsmile: His used car salesman grin becomes even more comical when he's agitated. According to Christian Bale, Bateman's hollow grin was inspired by watching Tom Cruise on Late Night With David Letterman and noticing "this very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes."
  • Upper-Class Twit: He's comically vapid, and his attempts at discussing anything seriously turn into meaningless ramblings.
  • Villain Protagonist: A Serial Killer with a host of disorders making him Ax-Crazy. Our central focus, everyone. And even if he's just imagining the murders, he's still an unlikable, self-centered, elitist, racist, shallow bastard.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: His friends think he's a socially conscious, likable person. Downplayed in that he's still openly sexist and rude to people around him but, in this setting, that's not out of the ordinary.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: He spends forty percent of the film either shirtless, in his underwear, or nude.
  • Wicked Pretentious: He makes a pretense at being an aficionado of fine food, clothing, and music. Close inspection will reveal that he's only interested in these things because they're popular fads, and actually has little understanding of any of the subjects. Among other things, the Snooty Haute Cuisine he gushes about ranges from bizarre to inedible, his clothes are hopelessly mismatched, and all of the musicians he praises were seen at the time as ridiculously cheesy.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In the book, he stabs a small boy to death just to see if he'd enjoy it. He doesn't... because he doesn't find it evil enough:
    How useless, how extraordinarily painless, it is to take a child's life... It's so much worse (and more pleasurable) taking the life of someone who has hit his or her prime, who has the beginnings of a full history, a spouse, a network of friends, a career, whose death will upset far more people whose capacity for grief is limitless than a child's would, perhaps ruin many more lives than just the meaningless, puny death of this boy.
    • Although, there is a sense of dark Irony in how Patrick rationalizes these feelings, because nobody around him ever does notice or mourn the deaths of his other victims, yet the boy he kills is grieved by the child's distraught mother.
  • You Are What You Hate: He despises his friends because they represent parts of himself that he hates and remind him of what he doesn't have.
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    Paul Owen 
Played by: Jared Leto

A co-worker of Bateman's and the one who most closely resembles Bateman. Bateman kills him in a fit of rage over his superior business card.


  • Adaptational Name Change: His surname is changed to Allen in the film.
  • Always Someone Better: To Patrick. Anything Patrick wants or has, he either already has it, or has something better. He's got a better business card, a nicer apartment, his own tanning bed, and seems to have a higher standing than Patrick at the company despite them both having the same job title. There's also the fact that he was able to get a reservation at the notoriously exclusive Dorsia; the two times we see Patrick attempt this end in failure, with him even getting laughed at on one occasion. It's for this reason that Patrick murders him in a jealous rage. Maybe (see Ambiguous Situation below).
  • Ambiguous Situation: Whether or not Paul Allen is dead is the centerpiece of whether Bateman is really a killer.
  • Brutal Honesty: He wastes no time telling the waiter at Texarkana that the cilantro crawfish gumbo is the only dish on the menu worth eating while also bringing up the fact that the place is almost completely empty.
  • Composite Character: In the film, he's the one who provides the "tastefully thick" business card. In the book, that card is given by another guy who runs into Bateman's group in Pastels.
  • Frame-Up: After he is killed, Bateman tries to make it look like Marcus, the guy he was impersonating, was the murderer.
  • I Call Him "Mister Happy": According to Bateman, Paul named his penis "Michael".
  • Off with His Head!: Not shown in the movie, but the book goes out of its way to describe how little of his head remains once Bateman is through with him.
  • Unknown Rival: Paul is completely unaware that Bateman hates him with a murderous passion. He isn't even aware that he has Bateman confused for another coworker.

    Luis Carruthers 
Played by: Matt Ross

Another partner at Pierce & Pierce and something of a joke around the office. Luis has an unrequited crush on Bateman.


  • Butt-Monkey: Bateman and the others often make fun of him.
  • Incompatible Orientation: He is in love with Bateman, who is not only straight but a virulent homophobe as well.
  • Informed Flaw: Luis' peers are unimpressed by his new business card, though it's not clear if it's because he showed it off at an inopportune time or if it just didn't fit their gonzo criteria for excellence. Inversely, Bateman takes umbrage with how it's supposedly better than his and tries to kill Luis for it.
  • Jerkass: Downplayed. He's definitely not as bad as the rest of his social circle, but he's still self-absorbed and classist. Plus, there are a few times where he's fine with objectifying attractive men when he can get away with it, like waiters.
    • One chapter reveals he strongly dislikes the Japanese for their influence in American culture.
  • Nice Guy: A very downplayed example. He's a saint when compared to his co-workers and isn't as sexist or racist as they are, but he's still as shallow, self-absorbed and classist as everyone else he associates with.
  • Not Worth Killing: Implied. Bateman chooses to back out on his decision to kill Luis, possibly because he believed he wasn't worth the trouble.
  • Outdated Outfit: What really makes Luis stand out is how he's the only one who doesn't wear slick 80's suits. Instead he wear brightly colored suits and bowties.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Calling him a villain would be a vast overstatement, but Luis is still a self-concerned classist. The chapter "Concert" reveals he strongly hates the Japanese for their growing influence in American culture.
    They save more than we do and they don't innovate much, but they sure in the fuck know how to take, steal, our innovations, improve on them, then ram them down our fucking throats!
  • Token Good Teammate: He's the only worker at P&P that doesn't seem to be a (completely) ignorant, self-absorbed asshole, not forgetting anyone's name and making genuine efforts to be friends with his colleagues. An example of this can be seen in the film when Patrick becomes visibly upset at Paul's business card being better than his own and Luis is the only one to notice and ask if he's okay.
  • Transparent Closet: He tries to hide his homosexuality, but his flamboyant appearance and behavior make it pretty obvious.

    Timothy Price 
Played by: Justin Theroux

A co-worker of Bateman's regarded as the most "interesting" person in his circle of friends.


  • Adaptational Name Change: His surname is changed to Bryce in the film.
  • Decoy Protagonist: In the first few pages of the book, it seems like Price will be the protagonist in a third-person narrated story, only for the narrator to reveal himself as Patrick Bateman and for Price to disappear until near the end.
  • Defector from Decadence: Price is the only one in Bateman's circle to actually reject the yuppie lifestyle and ditch Wall Street entirely. His absence is only temporary. When he returns, he snags a very nice business deal and falls right back into old habits.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Fed up with the usual hedonism at Tunnel, Price makes a huge show out of scorning everyone and running drunkenly into the darkness.
  • The Bus Came Back: Near the end of the novel, Price shows back up with no real explanation as to where he was before. He then seamlessly integrates back with the rest of the group. In keeping with the book's themes, it's implied he has learned nothing and gained nothing from his experiences.

    Craig McDermott 
Played by: Josh Lucas

Another co-worker of Bateman's and member of his close circle of friends.


  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He is another self-absorbed yuppie whose entire time on page and on screen is dedicated to spewing bigoted comments.

    David van Patten 
Played by: Bill Sage

Another co-worker of Bateman's and member of his close circle of friends.


  • Morally Bankrupt Banker: His very first scene in the book shows him waving a dollar note at a homeless man only to pull it back and walk off cackling.
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    Marcus Halberstam 
Played by: Anthony Lemke

A co-worker of Bateman's who Paul Owen/Allen regularly confuses.



     Jean 
Played by: Chloë Sevigny

  • Accidental Discovery: At the end of the film, she finds Bateman's Significant Sketchbook inside his desk, containing pen-drawings of women being graphically raped and tortured (many of which are scenes from the book cut from the film). She looks through the pages weeping with horror.
  • Adaptational Relationship Overhaul: She functions closer to a legitimate Morality Pet to Bateman in the musical compared to her other counterparts, with him outright considering her a "good" person, while she's merely someone Bateman isn't as contemptuous towards in every other iteration.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Has genuine feelings for Bateman, who isn't capable of feeling love for anyone.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: She thinks Bateman is talking about cheating on his fiancee when he tells her that he may "do something terrible" if she stays at his apartment. Readers know he's talking about killing her.
  • Only Sane Man: The only character who seems to not be selfish, bigoted, or awful to be around.

Other characters

     Bethany 

Bateman's ex-girlfriend.


  • Adapted Out: Only present in the book, mentioned in the film by Bateman. Likely due to the extremely violent and graphic nature of how she dies.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: And very undeserving of it.
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