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Pierce & Pierce

    Patrick Bateman
Played by: Christian Bale (film), Matt Smith (musical)
Dubbed by: Jean-Pierre Michaël (European French)

The titular psycho. A wealthy Wall Street investment banker and stereotypical late 80s 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.
  • Allegorical Character: He is a metaphor for the worst excesses of capitalism and the emptiness of consumerism.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Big Bad: He is the titular "psycho" in question and, even among the other jerk characters in this film, still stands out for being a villain.
  • Blatant Lies: Multiple times through the story. He repeatedly acts as though he's Marcus Halberstram to fool Paul while knowing almost nothing about Marcus personally; he claims he doesn't like singers to Kimball to evade suspicion right after dumping a bunch of CDs into his desk drawer; he tells a drugged-out Courtney they're eating at Dorsia when the menu clearly says Barcadia...
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: In part of the work's satire in shaping him as a product of 1980s 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 1980s 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.
  • Character Catchphrase: "I have to return some videotapes."
  • Character Filibuster: Patrick is seemingly incapable of not monologuing about random topics and what's currently happening before the viewer to keep up his (extremely transparent) Mask of Sanity.
  • 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: As the story goes on, his bloodlust grows so strong that he becomes downright loopy and incomprehensible in both action and word. It reaches such a point that he 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.
  • 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.
  • Driven by Envy: Even though he'd never admit it, a major driving force behind his murder of Paul is tied to his jealousy of Paul's better business card, apartment, and social skills.
  • 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: While most of his murders are motivated by base sadism or sexual violence, he's ultimately spurred to kill Paul Allen because he managed to get a reservation at Dorsia when Patrick failed.
  • 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. They range from an ATM telling him to feed it a stray cat, to him becoming an action star and blowing up vehicles with single bullets.
  • 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 (and it's made even worse by the fact that he doesn't and technically gets away with it).
  • 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. Patrick is reliant on external validation not just to the point of being miserable, but murderous.
  • 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.
  • Ignored Epiphany: There are few moments in which he somehow manages to empathize with someone (Jean, Luis or Courtney) and he seems able to catch a glimpse of how hellish his life is. Sadly, it never lasts and, even if he closes the narration by acknowledging his existential void, ultimately "this confession has meant nothing".
  • 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: His everyday life is built around serving his own interests and making himself look and feel like the most handsome, charming man in the world. His ego is so great that 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: A very bizarre example. He escapes punishment for all his crimes, but he's upset about it because he will not get the attention he yearned for.
  • 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.
    "I have all the characteristics of a human being. Flesh, blood, skin, hair, but not a single clear identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust."
  • Lack of Imagination: 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).
  • 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 not even a very good one since the only reason it works is because everyone around him is too self-absorbed to notice or care about his obsession with serial killers and endless tangents about murder.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: Patrick has no capacity for sane thinking in any way and morality is an alien concept to him.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: Patrick seems to utterly despise everyone around him, and even himself on some level. The only exception is perhaps Jean, and he comes close to killing even 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.
  • Mistaken Identity: A major plot point of the story is that Bateman is so utterly bland, generic and similar to his various compatriots that both close friends and distant acquaintances pretty regularly get him confused with someone else. The most notable example being Paul consistently mistaking Bateman for Marcus.
  • 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.
    • He shares a rather intimate phone call with Courtney, with both of them realizing how hollow and unsatisfying their existences are. It never comes up again but, for a monster like him, this moment of empathy is truly surprising.
  • 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.
  • Red-Flag Recreation Material: In the film, Patrick claims to enjoy musicals like Les Misérables and can ramble on about Phil Collins and Huey Lewis for hours on end, but it's clear that these are just superficial methods of disguising his true nature. In private, he can be seen watching porn films and horror movies like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), early indications of his real interests - just in case audiences might mistake the first two murders as one-offs.
  • Retired Monster: In the American Psycho emails, Patrick is still living a hedonist yuppie lifestyle years after the events of the book, but has otherwise mellowed out considerably due to marrying Jean (though they are getting divorced) and having a son, Patrick, Jr. That said, he still beats a homeless man (possibly to death) for trying to mug him and ambiguously describes having "outlets" for his anger when the topic is brought up by his therapist.
  • 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" Twenty-Seven 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." Of course this doesn't stop him from wanting to be known and cared about from his crimes.
  • 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.

    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.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Obvious pun about the title aside, Paul winds up alone in Bateman's apartment, surrounded by newspapers on the floor, very soon after the audience learns that Bateman is a murderer. Paul doesn't last long.
  • 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.
  • Asshole Victim: He's just as much a victim of Bateman's wrath as all of the prostitutes he (probably) murders yet one would be hard pressed to feel bad for him given that he’s a self-absorbed and bigoted Yuppie Jerkass just like the rest of Bateman's coworkers.
  • 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".
  • Oblivious to Hatred: Bateman's seething, blind disgust, jealousy, and loathing of Paul couldn't be more obvious, but Paul is so inflated with his own ego that he doesn't notice it even once.
  • Oblivious Mockery: Since he's mistaken Patrick for Marcus, he feels comfortable regularly shitting on "Patrick Bateman" as he knows him, completely unaware that he's insulting the man sitting across from him that also just so happens to be a deranged murderer.
  • 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.
  • Oh, Crap!: Has a major moment of this when he finally turns around and notices Patrick coming at him with an axe.
  • 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.
  • Death by Adaptation: In the UK musical, Bateman winds up biting off a chunk of Luis' face and very likely killing him, unlike the novel and film where Luis comes out relatively unscathed. The Broadway version also has the biting, but Luis is fine in the end and they imply it was in Bateman's head.
  • Horrifying the Horror: Bateman is a deranged, homicidal psychopath who engages in all manner of depravity and evil. But Luis coming onto him in the men's room sends Bateman fleeing in a confused panic like a school kid scared of cooties.
  • 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 (and might as well be Jesus Christ compared to Patrick Bateman), 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Not in general, since he's overall a dickhead, but during the infamous "business card" scene, he unintentionally pisses Bateman off with his comments on Van Patten's business card.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Like most of his cohorts, but special mention goes to his long-winded rant where he stupidly fears the idea of catching dyslexia through sex.
  • 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.

    Craig McDermott
Played by: Josh Lucas
Another co-worker of Bateman's and member of his close circle of friends.
  • Hate Sink: Possibly the most prominent example that's (probably) not a serial killer, as he's a smug, repulsive banker who exemplifies the most superficial and bigoted aspects of yuppie culture.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: A one-man source of a large portion of the casual bigotry, in fact, who dedicates his entire page and screen time to casually spewing offensive remarks.

    David van Patten
Played by: Bill Sage
Dubbed by: Bruno Choël (European French)
Another co-worker of Bateman's and member of his close circle of friends.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In the movie, he barges onto the scene during Bateman's lunch, with real, genuine panic in Van Patten's voice as he notes "they don't have a good bathroom to do cocaine in!"
  • 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.

    Marcus Halberstam 
Played by: Anthony Lemke

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

Played by: Chloë Sevigny
Patrick's put-upon, highly professional assistant who harbors deeper feelings for him.
  • Accidental Discovery: At the end of the film, she finds Bateman's 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.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Much like Paul, Jean finds herself at Patrick's mercy in his apartment. Unlike Paul, she manages to (completely unintentionally) talk her way out of danger and escape Bateman's clutches no worse for wear.
  • Failed a Spot Check: For all her usual competence, she's blissfully unaware of just how close to death she is in Bateman's apartment despite many glaring warning signs. Even when Bateman flat out tells her to leave so he won't hurt her, she's oblivious to the red flags around her—such as Bateman's casual references to Ted Bundy, or his nail gun and duct tape—and just assumes he means emotionally hurt her.
  • Girl Friday: She's the one who actually handles all of Patrick's workload, enabling him to lounge around listening to music or doing crossword puzzles. Whereas Patrick is almost always in a disarray at work, Jean is polite, efficient and keeps him on schedule (to the best of her ability, at least).
  • 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 employee of Pierce & Pierce who seems to not be selfish, bigoted, or awful to be around.
  • Snarking Thanks: When the sexist Patrick demands she wear a different outfit the next day because "she's prettier" than her current ensemble, she responds with a sarcastic "Thanks, Patrick."

Other characters

    Donald Kimball
Played by: Willem Dafoe
A detective investigating the disappearance of Paul Owen who becomes a repeated thorn in Bateman's side.
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's left up to interpretation exactly how much—or how little—Kimball truly suspects Bateman of wrongdoing. There are moments of insight that would imply he suspects Bateman, only for other things he does or says to completely undermine that suspicion. Even Bateman himself can't tell if Kimball is playing some twisted cat-and-mouse game with him, or is just incompetent.
  • Clueless Detective: Played with. Kimball does have some ambiguity as to whether he buys Bateman's obvious bullshit or not, but at the end of the day, Kimball seems to come to the conclusion that Bateman is totally innocent and the entire disappearance of Paul was a misunderstanding. Which is so far from the truth that it really drives home how bad Kimball has performed his job.
  • Police Are Useless: He's the only major law enforcement presence in the story, and he's either too subtle and coy in his interrogations of Bateman to discover any info, or too narrow-minded and stupid to pick up on Bateman's obvious guilt.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Kimball is the closest thing to an "antagonist" that Bateman, as the Villain Protagonist, faces. Kimball seems to have ultimately good intentions in finding justice for Paul, even if he ultimately fails at his job.

    Evelyn Richards
Played by: Reese Witherspoon
Patrick's current girlfriend and/or fiance. Much like most of the cast she's vapid, airheaded, and seems to only for material things.
  • Adaptation Name Change: In the film, her surname is changed from "Richards" to "Williams."
  • Broken Tears: When Bateman finally dumps her, she's reduced to openly sobbing in the middle of a restaurant.
  • Dumb Blonde: She's just as clueless as everyone else about Bateman's true nature, and her hair is a striking blonde.
  • Hopeless Suitor: She's desperate for Patrick to marry her, if only for appearance's sake, but he consistently blows her off and ignores her marriage proposals. He eventually flatout dumps her in public and never sees her again.
  • It's All About Me: If the conversation isn't directly about her interests, looks or hopes and dreams, Evelyn doesn't care to listen.

Played by: Cara Seymour
A prostitute that Patrick frequently uses the "services" of.
  • Death by Materialism: Not as egregious an example as some, but Christie was free and clear until Patrick lured her back to his apartment with the promise of a buttload of cash. She doesn't make it out, this time.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Like many of Bateman's targets, she's a prostitute who's not openly missed by anyone in the story when she's slain.
  • Final Girl: In the movie, she's a twisted variation of this. She's the final major character that Patrick targets towards the end of the film, and she gets the expected dramatic chase sequence as he pursues her with killing intent. Only difference between her and most versions of this trope being that she doesn't survive Bateman.
  • I'm Not Doing That Again: After their first "session", Christie is vehemently opposed to ever taking Patrick on as a customer again due to his sadism and vicious behavior. Until Patrick seduces her with more cash...
  • In the Back: She's killed in the film when Patrick drops a chainsaw down a stairwell straight into her back.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: "Christie" isn't her real name. It's simply the only thing that Bateman wants to call her, and he never asks nor cares to know what her actual name is.
  • Relatively Flimsy Excuse: Patrick claims that she's his "cousin" to Elizabeth, and Christie goes along with it.
  • Streetwalker: Bateman meets her on the streets of the city, and frequently picks her up in his limo.

    Harold Carnes 
Played by: Stephen Bogaert
Patrick Bateman's lawyer, who he eventually tries to confess his murder to.
  • Amoral Attorney: He's as bad of a yuppie as the rest of them, and whether or not he's simply amoral or outright immoral depends on your interpretation of whether or not Patrick really committed the murders.

    Mrs Wolfe 
Played by: Patricia Gage
The real estate agent selling Paul's apartment after his disappearance.
  • Horrifying the Horror: Patrick is openly unnerved by her and is at his meekest when interacting with her in Paul's apartment, even backing away with a look of naked fear when she coldly tells him to never come back, to which he readily agrees to. The scene in the film really comes off as Patrick facing a more dangerous predator.
  • Shady Real Estate Agent: She seems perfectly aware that Patrick had murdered Paul, though she makes no attempt at incriminating him since the news that there was a murder in the apartment would be bad for business. The scene in the novel describes the apartment being stuffed with overpowering roses, as if to mask a smell.


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.