Patrick Bateman

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Patrick Bateman is a fictional character, antihero and first-person narrator of the novel American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis and the film adaptation of the same name .

Biography and profile

Patrick Bateman works as a specialist in acquisitions and mergers at the fictional Wall Street investment firm Pierce & Pierce (as does Sherman McCoy in Purgatory of the Vanities ) and lives on 55 West 81st Street, Upper West Side in the American Gardens Building (lives there he as a neighbor of Tom Cruise ). He leads a secret double life as a young investment banker ( yuppie ) and as a serial killer. Bateman murders a wide variety of people, from colleagues to the homeless and prostitutes . His crimes include rape , aggravated assault , murder , necrophilia and cannibalism and are described in great detail in the novel.

Bateman is the offspring of a wealthy family. His parents own a house on Long Island and there is mention of a summer home in Newport . The parents divorced early and his mother became mentally ill as a result and lived in a sanatorium. His father appears in the storyline in the earlier novel Simply Irresistible . He grew up on an estate in Connecticut and owns an apartment in the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan , but dies in a previous book. Bateman's mother is only mentioned in one flashback in American Psycho . Patrick Bateman's younger brother Sean is attending Camden College (he is the protagonist of Simply Irresistible ). Patrick Bateman attended Phillips Exeter Academy as a university preparatory school, then graduated from Harvard University in 1984 and two years later from Harvard Business School and then moved to New York .

Bateman's personality

Ellis describes Bateman with the stereotypes of a greedy yuppie: rich, superficial, addicted to sex, drugs, and status symbols . Some of his friends look so similar to him that there are repeated mix-ups between the individual characters in the course of the novel. Paul Owen (in the film Paul Allen) confuses him e.g. B. with his colleague Marcus Halberstamm.

Patrick Bateman obsessively describes every single detail of his clothing, music system, training sessions and business cards. He is engaged to the equally rich, shallow, and wealthy Evelyn Williams. They hate each other, but stay together for the benefit of their social advancement. Bateman also has a relationship with a lover, who is the fiancée of his hated work colleague Luis Carruthers. He also visits prostitutes on a regular basis and has affairs with women he meets in nightclubs. Many of these women end up as one of his victims. The only woman (and possibly the only person) he has feelings for is his secretary, Jean. He cannot bring himself to harm, rape, or kill her in any way. Probably this is due to the fact that she is the only person in his life who is not superficial and purely status conscious. He also probably admires her for her innocence. Every time he mentions Jean during the novel, he refers to her as "Jean my secretary who is in love with me" and introduces her in his story as someone he "will probably marry one day".

At first glance, Patrick Bateman appears to be the embodiment of the friendly, attractive and successful businessman. But inside he detests himself as much as others. He kills many of his victims because they make him feel like he is unimportant or that his taste is inferior. His friends annoy him by calling him "the boy next door", his own lawyer calls him a "stupid ass-creeper" and people outside his social circle as "yuppy ass". Bateman shows no remorse for his murders and openly admits that he is a heartless monster. He often overreacts to small problems; he describes how he is "on the verge of desperation" when he does not get a decent table in a restaurant or when he finds after the removal of Paul Owen's body that his apartment is more expensive and has a view of Central Park .

Bateman often expresses doubts about his own sanity because of his psychotic attacks in which he hallucinates. Episodes of depersonalization happen to him. Bateman also admits his emptiness and describes moments or periods of extreme anger, panic or grief resulting from trivial inconveniences such as returning borrowed video tapes or making reservations in restaurants. In addition, he often collapses when his victims are dismembered and complains ruefully that he “just wants to be loved”. To keep his attacks under control, he takes psychotropic drugs like Xanax .

Patrick Bateman compensates for these insecurities with obsessive vanity and extreme personal hygiene, with convulsive compliance down to the last detail. He dresses in the most expensive and fashionable clothes, such as: B. Suits by Salvatore Ferragamo and Valentino Couture , glasses by Oliver Peoples and Jean Paul Gaultier , leather goods by Louis Vuitton and Bottega Veneta . Likewise, he categorizes people by judging what clothes they wear and what they look like, because they are then supposedly easier "to understand" for him by dividing them into fashion brands and stereotypes. He tries to tightly control his apartment in an act of helplessness by furnishing it with the latest and greatest music, food and art.

Bateman does not fit the "typical" profile of a serial killer because he kills more or less indiscriminately. He has no specific type of victim, no comprehensible motive or specific method of killing. During the novel, he kills men, women, a child, and animals.

Bateman mostly kills women for specific sadistic sexual desires, often during or after sex. He's also an unscrupulous rapist. He kills men for simple reasons, e.g. B. because they got on his nerves. He only kills a child to see if he can enjoy it - which it didn't.

At certain intervals he confesses his murders to his friends, colleagues and strangers in a nice undertone ("I often dissect women; you know, I'm completely insane"), just to see if they listen to him or take him seriously. Most of the time, they don't or think it's a joke. In the scene that depicts the climax of his madness at the end of the novel, he calls his lawyer and, crying convulsively, confesses his crimes to him for a long time. The next day he meets his lawyer, who thought his confession was a joke. Patrick Bateman will never be arrested or held accountable for his numerous murders, whether or not he committed, it is left unsolved.

Bateman outside of American Psycho

Patrick Bateman made his first appearance in Ellis' 1987 novel Simply Irresistible (in which his brother Sean is one of the protagonists). No indication is given here that he is a serial killer. Another brief appearance by Bateman followed in Ellis' 1998 novel Glamorama .

He also appeared in the so-called " AmPsycho 2000 Emails ", which served as an advertising campaign for the 2000 film. Incorrectly, these were accredited as being written by Ellis himself; in reality these were written by one or more authors, checked by Ellis, and finally sent. Bateman is in these e-mails in therapy with a Dr. M. He is married to Jean, his former secretary, and has an eight-year-old son, Patrick Bateman Jr. In the course of the plot, Bateman talks about therapy and glorifies his son. In the end, it is revealed that the “real” Bateman who “wrote” these emails is the owner of the company producing this film.

Bateman reappeared in Ellis' 2005 novel Lunar Park , in which the fictionalized self-portrait of Ellis confesses that in writing American Psycho, he felt like the medium for a violent mind rather than a writer putting his own words on paper brings. That ghost - Patrick Bateman - haunts Ellis's house. A character in the novel also appears dressed as Bateman at Ellis' Halloween party. Towards the end of the novel, Ellis writes one final Bateman story to confront and control this character and has him die in a fire on a boat dock.

Bateman in the movie

Christian Bale was the first choice of Ellis and the director Harron, but the producers wanted to offer the role to Keanu Reeves , Edward Norton and Brad Pitt , but they declined for various reasons. Leonardo DiCaprio was then initially favored, but Ellis vetoed on the grounds that DiCaprio was too young to play an adult psychopathic serial killer after he starred in Titanic . Bateman was portrayed in the 2000 documentary "This is Not an Exit: The Fictional World of Bret Easton Ellis" by Uma Thurman's brother Dechen Thurman. In the second part "American Psycho 2" Bateman was then played by Michael Kremko. In this part, Bateman is killed by an old victim. This spin-off was heavily criticized by fans and by Ellis himself.

When “Simply Irresistible” was adapted as a film called “ The Rules of the Game ”, some scenes were to be shot with Patrick Bateman. Ellis revealed in an interview that the director Roger Avary asked Christian Bale if he wanted to play Patrick Bateman again. But Bale turned down the offer. Thereupon Avary asked Ellis if he wanted to portray Bateman himself. Ellis called this a "terrible and cheesy idea" and turned down the offer, so Avary ended up filming the scenes with Casper Van Dien . However, these scenes were ultimately removed from the final version of the cut.

Bateman's fictional chronological résumé

  • 1980: Bateman includes the Phillips Exeter Academy from
  • 1984: Bateman graduates from Harvard University
  • 1985: Bateman has a brief discussion with his estranged brother Sean about his future
  • 1986: Bateman graduates from Harvard Business School and worked at Pierce & Pierce from then until the end of American Psycho
  • 1996: Bateman appears briefly in Victors Club in the novel Glamorama on
  • 2000: Bateman begins therapy with Dr. M. This is mentioned in the American Psycho 2000 emails. He is divorced from Jean, with whom he was married for five years and with whom he has a son. He apparently started his own brokerage firm and appears to be richer than in the novel. Its taste has become more refined. His tendency to kill (or thoughts about it) seem to have diminished slightly with the birth of his son. He himself has generally become milder as he has gotten older

Patrick Bateman in pop culture

  • Bateman's name is a tribute to Norman Bates, the killer of the psychological films.
  • One of Dexter's cover names in the television series of the same name is Dr. Patrick Bateman.
  • Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers released a song called Patrick Bateman .
  • German rapper Prinz Pi names Patrick Bateman in the song "Wunderkind" as his role model. In his play name day it says "Prinz Pi is and remains the German Patrick Bateman". In Wunderkind 3 he raps "Hand on the Ray Ban. Prince Pi - my role model is Patrick Bateman."
  • The Austrian industrial project Nachtmahr uses the final monologue in the song Katharsis on the album Feuer Frei .
  • On the album Der Eiserne Besen II by the German rapper Morlockk Dilemma there is a song called Patrick Bateman (feat. ASK) . Dilemma raps on it "... because this curmudgeon with the chainsaw / is just a music lover like Patrick Bateman /".
  • The whole album of Shooting Star - A Portrait Of A Serial Ni ** er (2007) is a homage to Patrick Bateman ( Serial-Nigger / release / 8925588 )
  • The Austrian rapper Money Boy uses Bateman's monologue about Genesis as an interlude on his 2014 mixtape Bravestarr 2


  • Bret Easton Ellis: American Psycho. 1st edition. Kiepenheuer & Witsch 2006, ISBN 3-462-03699-8 .
  • Bret Easton Ellis: Simply irresistible. 1st edition. Kiepenheuer & Witsch 2006, ISBN 3-462-03698-X .

Individual evidence

  1. Brian Kotek: AmPsycho 2000 Emails ( Memento of the original from June 23, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (engl.) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /

Web links