American Psycho is a famous movie that mixes dark humor with thrills. It stars Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, a young professional who also happens to be a serial killer with some very disturbing preferences.
The film includes other talented actors like Jared Leto, who plays Bateman’s business rival, Paul Allen, Reese Witherspoon as Bateman’s fiancée, and the renowned actor Willem Dafoe as a local detective. American Psycho has gained a lot of praise for showing the culture of yuppies (young urban professionals) and consumerism. It even has a devoted group of fans.
However, the ending of American Psycho leaves viewers with more questions than answers. While fans have come up with many ideas about what the ending means, it remains open to interpretation. Some people enjoy coming up with their theories, but others may need some guidance. Let’s break down the ending of American Psycho for you.
American Psycho Ending Explained
In the movie “American Psycho,” we are introduced to Patrick Bateman, played by Christian Bale. He’s an investment banker living a lavish life in New York City during the 1980s. During the day, he might appear as a good-looking guy, but he’s not very bright.
However, when night falls, he transforms into a heartless serial killer. His victims include homeless people, sex workers, and even people he knows. In the book version, he even commits a heinous act at a zoo involving a child, although this part is not shown in the film.
The movie unfolds over a few months, giving us a glimpse into Bateman’s empty and gruesome existence. The only hint of humanity in him is seen in his interactions with his secretary, Jean, portrayed by Chloë Sevigny. Jean is clearly in love with Patrick, even though he’s incapable of feeling love. Surprisingly, he spares her life after nearly harming her with a nail gun.
One of Bateman’s victims is his coworker, Paul Allen, played by Jared Leto. Bateman despises Allen, and he brutally kills him with an axe in Allen’s apartment, leaving his body behind. Later, he brings more victims to the same apartment, continuing his killing spree and leaving their bodies there as well.
As the story progresses, Bateman becomes increasingly unhinged. He makes a shocking decision to call his lawyer and confess to all his crimes. Realizing his mistake, he rushes back to Allen’s apartment to clean up the crime scene before it’s too late. However, he is in for a surprise when he arrives at the apartment.
It’s not the gruesome mess he left it in; instead, it’s impeccably clean and up for sale. A real estate agent is present, and her reaction to Bateman is a mix of fear and anger, though her exact emotions remain unclear. What is evident is that she does not like Bateman, and she appears to know more than she’s letting on.
Shortly after this bewildering encounter, Bateman crosses paths with the lawyer he had confessed to over the phone. To Bateman’s astonishment, the lawyer doesn’t recognize him at all. This theme of people not recognizing each other is recurring throughout the movie and even more so in the book.
Everyone in this world is so oblivious due to their drug-fueled lifestyles that they often fail to recognize others. Furthermore, the lawyer dismisses Bateman’s confession as a prank and claims that Paul Allen cannot be dead because he recently had lunch with him in London. This leaves Bateman utterly baffled.
Meanwhile, back at Bateman’s office, Jean stumbles upon Bateman’s journal, filled with horrifying drawings of his numerous victims.
Director Mary Harron’s Explanation of the Ending
Over time, many people have tried to understand the conclusion of the movie, and who better to ask than the director herself, Mary Harron? Harron has made it clear that the ending doesn’t suggest that everything that happened in the film was just in Patrick Bateman’s imagination, as some have suggested. Instead, she and her co-writer, Guinevere Turner, have pretty much confirmed that Bateman is indeed a serial killer. However, the twist is that he won’t face any legal consequences for his gruesome deeds. This is one of the main reasons why some folks latched onto the “it was all a dream” idea. They find it hard to believe that someone could commit such horrifying crimes and get away with it without any punishment. So, for some viewers, thinking of it as a dream is the simplest way to make sense of the events in the movie.
American Psycho Star Cast
In the movie “American Psycho,” several actors play important roles:
- Christian Bale stars as Patrick Bateman, who works in a bank in New York City. But he has a secret. He’s not just a banker; he’s also a serial killer.
- Justin Theroux plays Timothy Bryce. He’s one of Bateman’s coworkers at the bank.
- Josh Lucas is Craig McDermott, another colleague of Bateman at the bank.
- Bill Sage takes on the role of David Van Patten, yet another colleague at the bank.
- Chloë Sevigny portrays Jean, who works as Bateman’s secretary.
- Reese Witherspoon is Evelyn Williams. She’s Bateman’s fiancée, but he doesn’t like her very much.
- Samantha Mathis plays Courtney Rawlinson. She’s Luis Carruthers’ fiancée but is secretly having an affair with Bateman.
- Matt Ross takes on the character of Luis Carruthers, another coworker of Bateman who keeps his homosexuality hidden.
- Jared Leto is Paul Allen, an investment banker just like Bateman. However, Bateman ends up killing him.
- Willem Dafoe portrays Donald Kimball, a private investigator. He’s trying to solve the mystery of Paul Allen’s murder.
- Cara Seymour plays Christie, a sex worker who becomes involved in Bateman’s dark world.
- Guinevere Turner appears as Elizabeth, a woman who becomes one of Bateman’s victims.
These actors play these roles in a movie that explores the twisted double life of a New York City banker who hides a gruesome secret.