He’s the poster boy of the Sigma male meme and perhaps the role that helped Christian Bale secure Batman (and more importantly, Bruce Wayne), Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. Back when it was released, American Psycho was a polarizing satire, but it has since grown into enjoying its own cult status since it aged really well in portraying what’s wrong with rich and entitled trust fund business people.
To a certain extent, it also was a running joke of man’s typical insecurities and the shallowness of corporate culture, with Patrick Bateman at the butt-end of the joke. Still, despite being a blatant satire and a character you shouldn’t idolize, some of Bateman’s utterances tend to cement themselves in memory due to their absurdity and disarming relevance which can still resonate today. The following Patrick Bateman quotes are striking examples.
“I live in the American Gardens Building on W. 81st Street on the 11th floor. My name is Patrick Bateman.”
Right at the start of American Psycho, we already have some Patrick Bateman quotes that are a lot to unpack.
Notice how he introduced himself. His name wasn’t as important as the place wherein he lives, most likely because he’s merely daddy’s little inheritance guzzler, and his name doesn’t mean much to him. His identity initially revolved around his property and its location, which is a status symbol– something he puts above his name.
That’s the apogee of vanity for someone like him and his circle.
“There is a moment of sheer panic when I realize that Paul’s apartment overlooks the park… and is obviously more expensive than mine.”
Paul Allen was a thorn in Patrick Bateman’s side merely because he envied the guy. Allen was wealthier, had a better status symbol, and ran a higher position in his own department.
Such a hilarious and impulsive act based on mere insecurity is something quite common in today’s rich folk, and Bateman merely made a more colorful parody.
“There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman; some kind of abstraction.”
Even Bateman himself doesn’t consider himself a person. This kind of identity crisis and dissociation is what drove him into a psychotic breakdown (whether it was real or imagined), for he was, like most people in the era in which the movie parodies, a mere clone of all the rich yuppie suits who obtained their VP titles through nepotism.
So he was struggling to find his own identity, and he thought he could have it by building up to a nice apartment, a chiseled physique, and the best appearance he could muster.
Except, he could never really build character that way because he never struggled or worked hard for anything. Everything was given to him by his dad, who owned the company.
“Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh, my God. It even has a watermark.”
One of the most comedic and meme’d scenes in American Psycho was Bateman’s calling card battle. It was an absurdist take on the nonsensical nuances of his perceived corporate individuality when in reality, all of them had the same calling card designs, suits, and haircuts.
But the cherry on top was Paul Allen’s card which was described by Bateman using that quote above when virtually; it was no different than all their cards. Bateman merely antagonized Allen as his nemesis due to the latter’s higher status. The subtle-off white card was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back.
And whether the uniqueness of Paul Allen’s card was real or just imagined, Bateman’s mind was already made up and was fuming with envy. Even the guy’s calling cards were better!
“I have to return some videotapes.”
Nothing deep with this line. But the mere comedic timing and delivery were stellar and were there to remind the viewers that they’re watching a satire and not a Wall Street documentary. Bateman uttered it as a way to escape an accidentally intimate situation with one of his gay “friends.”
It was the lamest excuse ever. And the fact that Bateman himself doesn’t question its impact or authenticity gives his character an inhuman coldness. He could have just said, “something came up,” but no—he had to rope video tapes into the lie.
“I want no one to escape. But even after admitting this, there is no catharsis; my punishment continues to elude me, and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself.”
This was near the end of the film, and the whole moment was a fever dream for both Bateman and the audience. Because it seems no matter how much he admitted to his psychotic activities and testified to all the people he murdered, his peers wouldn’t believe he could do such a thing.
It was also made out to be ambiguous on whether Bateman was merely hallucinating or imagining his psychotic episodes.
The final deranged yet introspective monolog was Bateman’s final attempt to get in touch with his humanity and silence his conscience and guilt. But it seems his punishment was still the endless circle of superficial existence that he treads.
One of the most popular murder scenes in American Psycho was when Bateman finally managed to off his business and personality rival, Paul Allen. The build-up to it was a head-scratcher since you never really know what’s real and what isn’t in Bateman’s head.
But again, the silliness of the scene made it both shocking and humorous, given how Patrick’s last line to a butchered Paul Allen was a spiteful jab at how he couldn’t get a reservation to a fancy restaurant anymore.
“Well, we have to end apartheid, for one. And slow down the nuclear arms race, stop terrorism and world hunger.”
Pretentious wouldn’t even begin to describe Patrick Bateman and his attempts to mask his psychopathic behavior or lack of regard for anyone but his status. This one scene where he recites his seemingly noble worldview was likely what made all his peers, and his circle convinced that he’s a decent human being incapable of hurting anyone.
Maybe he really was, and the whole movie was just about psychosis. But one thing is for sure, Patrick is full of shit. The fake concern for people more unfortunate than him was likely a jab at celebrities, businessmen, or politicians and their half-baked bandaid efforts at a publicized charity (which is often still about them).
And those buzz words he so effortlessly parroted from the news and history speeches were a telling ability of his ability to pretend.
“Hey, I’m a child of divorce, gimme a break!”
Funny enough, this line wasn’t said during a murder spree. Instead, it was Bateman’s excuse for being late for his dinner date with Paul Allen, which was a setup to get close to the latter and go in for the literal kill.
It’s a line that escapes many, but it gives a deeper insight into Bateman’s state of mind or the lack thereof. He’s certainly self-aware that he has issues, but he not only acknowledges it, he also weaponizes it for sympathy.
But the fact that he says it nonchalantly is testament enough that he has voluntarily abandoned his humanity more so than as proof of his being in touch with it.
“I think my mask of sanity is about to slip.”
That’s putting it lightly.
And while Bateman considers himself a human being organically, the very thought of basic human emotional qualities escapes him due to his self-absorbed and meaningless existence atop his ivory tower.
The boredom and ennui of chasing something material and being given everything he wanted were obviously unsatisfying for him. And it’s worrying that his lashing out is a haunting mirror of how a lot of millionaires these days just entertain themselves with ego trips (like going to space, for example).