Movie Reviews

15 Best Patrick Bateman Quotes From American Psycho

Summary

  • Patrick Bateman’s absurd quotes add dark humor to the twisted commentary on affluence and avarice in ‘American Psycho’.
  • Christian Bale’s iconic portrayal as Bateman drives the film, blurring lines between horror and bleak comedy.
  • The film explores Bateman’s facade, unreliability as a narrator, and his descent into madness through memorable quotes.

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A biting satire set in the Era of Excess, the best American Psycho gave audiences some scathing commentary of materialism and the empty pursuit of it, much of which still rings true today. When American Psycho was released in 2000, it went down as something of a box office bust, but audience opinions have changed pretty drastically over the past two decades. Now cherished as an ultra-bleak comedy, American Psycho blends horror and hedonism to create a twisted and affecting commentary on affluence and avarice. However, much of what makes the film so compelling comes from Christian Bale’s iconic turn as Patrick Bateman.

Constantly spouting absurd philosophies and making very blunt threats that somehow fall on deaf ears, Patrick Bateman’s many ridiculous quotes make the movie. Adapted from Bret Easton Ellis’s novel of the same name, the movie follows Bateman as he drifts through his fabulous life, complete with a perfect job, fancy apartment, and good looks. It’s his slow descent into madness from the ennui of his hollow existence that gives fans such quotable dialogue. Whether he’s waxing poetic about slaughtering people or his love of Huey Lewis and the News, there’s always a demented logic to the absurdity housed in the best Patrick Bateman quotes.

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15 “There Is An Idea Of Patrick Bateman.”

Patrick Bateman On How He Views Himself

Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) wearing his eye mask in American Psycho

The movie begins with one of the most famous American Psycho quotes as financier Patrick Bateman describes his habits, his concerns, and his diurnal tasks. The audience quickly learns that while he spends a large part of his day invested in his appearance and his presentation, it’s all a carefully curated facade. There’s no meaning ascribed to the person he puts forth whatsoever, though every choice is made with the utmost care.

As Bateman explains, there is an “idea of Patrick Bateman,” an abstraction that’s illusory, completely fabricated for the attention and pleasure of others. Viewers spend the entire movie wondering if they’ve ever met the real Patrick Bateman. Part of the thrill is trying to understand where his perception of himself ends and his real personality begins with the answer being up to the audience in many ways.

14 “You Like Huey Lewis And The News?”

Patrick Bateman Critiques Music Before A Murder

Patrick Bateman in American Psycho wearing a sheer rain slicker and pointing towards his stereo.

In one of the most diabolical and amusing moments in the movie, Bateman asks his guest if he likes Huey Lewis and the News before donning a rain slicker and grabbing an axe. He explains the finer points of the band’s discography and the monologue perfectly captures the shocking dissonance between the visceral horror he’s inflicting and the mundane nature of the words coming out of his mouth.

Of particular ironic significance is his mention of the song “Hip To Be Square,” in which he extols the “pleasures of conformity,” something that’s driven Bateman to his homicide spree. The music in American Psycho does a lot to add to the movie’s overall theme but this hilariously passionate defense of this band as he prepares to kill someone is the darkest bit of comedy in the movie.

13 “Impressive, Very Nice. Let’s See Paul Allen’s Card.”

Patrick Bateman Compares Prestige Symbols

Patrick reading Paul Allen's business card in American Psycho.

The business card scene is certainly one of American Psycho‘s most memorable; a boldface parable for the fastidious, fickle, and fake nature of Patrick Bateman and those like him. The scene sees Bateman and his co-workers getting worked up over the appearance of their business cards despite the fact that they’re virtually identical—and they all have a common misspelling.

It’s an amazing scene for a number of reasons, not least of which is Bale’s performance as he is shown to be incredibly passionate about such an insignificant thing to the point that he can barely hide his rage at someone having a more impressive card than him. However, this American Psycho quote holds a special place among the others as it became a meme that paraphrases the quote to draw attention to a reply or response to a particular post.

12 “I Want To Stab You To Death And Play Around With Your Blood.”

Patrick Bateman Reveals His Personal Desires

Patrick Bateman smiling in the bar scene in American Psycho

American Psycho often hints at Patrick Bateman’s unreliability as a narrator and asks audiences to conclude for themselves if the events depicted actually transpired, and indeed if Bateman is actually a killer—or even a real person–at all. It is part of what a lot of people like about the movie in that there are so many interpretations of what American Psycho really means.

This topic is broached very early on when, after refusing his drink tickets, he accosts a bartender, saying “I want to stab you to death and play around with your blood.” She may not have heard these sadistic threats over the overpowering sound of the club, but this is far from the only time Bateman gives his homicidal tendencies away, only for his confessions to be completely ignored as if they didn’t really happen.

11 “Hey Paul! Try Getting A Reservation At Dorsia Now!”

Patrick Bateman Mocks His Victim After Murdering Him

Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho swinging an axe wildly around his apartment in a sheer rain slicker with a depraved smile on his face.

Status is a big theme in American Psycho and played to great darkly comedic effect throughout the movie. The movie plays on the irony of these men attempting to look very powerful with these status symbols only to look increasingly desperate in their attempts to achieve them. The constant keeping up with appearances Bateman has to do is part of the reason his life unravels, both as a professional investment banker and as a serial killer.

One of the biggest gags in the movie revolves around getting a reservation at the restaurant Dorsia. Bateman delivers this memorable quote after murdering Paul Allen (Jared Leto) and the fury with which Bale screams the line perfectly encapsulates the movie’s blurring of the lines between absurdist comedy and disturbing horror. It also suggests Bateman’s main motivation for killing Paul was jealousy.

10 “Oh My God, It Even Has A Watermark.”

Patrick Bateman Shows His Absurd Jealousy

Paul Allen's business card in American Psycho

To say that Bateman and his crew are preoccupied with minutiae is an understatement. He lives in a socioeconomic habitat so removed from the majority of people’s lives that the small problems he has are infinitesimal by most people’s standards. While it speaks to Patrick Bateman’s serial killer persona to have a cold, uncaring demeanor, but the fact that the other American Psycho characters act the same way is very telling.

Take his business card, for example. No sooner has he picked up his “bone” colored cards from the printer than Van Patten (Bill Sage) lays down his “eggshell” card and Bryce (Justin Theroux) presents his raised lettering on white, causing Bateman to visibly perspire. Bateman’s existential panic about a watermark on Paul Allen’s card seals it as a lastingly funny scene with Bale really selling the moment.

9 “I Need To Engage In Homicidal Behavior On A Massive Scale.”

Patrick Bateman Breaks Up With His Girlfriend

Reese Witherspoon as Evelyn looking confused in American Psycho.

Patrick Bateman really begins to lose his grip on reality during the second half of American Psycho. He nearly kills his assistant with a nail gun, chases sex workers across his apartment complex while waving a chainsaw around like Texas Chainsaw Massacre‘s Leatherface, and ultimately engages in a murder spree before unsuccessfully confessing to the whole ordeal.

Before that, however, he tries to break up with his girlfriend Evelyn (Reese Witherspoon), either because he hopes to spare her or because he doesn’t want her to catch on to what he’s doing. The scene plays on the vapid nature of the characters in this world as Patrick confesses that his priorities are in his murdering while Evelyn is barely paying attention to what he is saying. The fact that he is doodling one of his recent murders on the restaurant tablecloth as they speak adds to the absurdity.

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8 “You’re My Lawyer So I Think You Should Know, I’ve Killed A Lot Of People.”

Patrick Bateman Finally Confesses To His Crimes

Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) on the phone in American Psycho

It’s of note that while Bateman has been cavorting around town on a murder spree, he isn’t even close to being caught. There’s a detective (Willem Dafoe) looking for him, but he doesn’t seem to be any closer to getting caught, because people who look and act like him don’t seem to fit the profile of a serial killer. This seems to feed into his feeling of being untouchable, but that eventually comes crashing down.

After a particularly absurd killing spree, Bateman calls his lawyer (Stephen Bogaert) to confess and Bale’s frenzied and emotional confession masterfully balances between comedy and chilling drama. There is a sense that Bateman finally feels as though he has gone too far with Bale playing the complexity of the character expertly. While there are actors for the American Psycho remake who could do the role justice, it will be hard to match Bale’s iconic performance.

7 “I’m Into Murders And Executions Mostly.”

Patrick Bateman Uses A Play On Words To Describe His Murderous Actions

Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman chatting with Jean played by Chloe Sevigny in American Psycho

The dry, acerbic humor of American Psycho is almost always attributed to the best Patrick Bateman quotes, which are often the ones where he’s being honest to an absurd degree. These moments of complete irreverence, where the mask he wears slips a little, expose him to everyone in his intimate circle, but they’re so endlessly preoccupied with themselves that they don’t even notice.

This particular quote from Bateman is often remembered as it plays off an old business world joke about the cutthroat nature of “mergers and acquisitions.” It draws parallels between the two worlds with the kind of callous and cold-blooded people within the industry reflecting the way Bateman operates as a killer. It is all part of the movie serving as a perfect satire of the financial world and those who don’t feel remorse for the lives they destroy in their daily work, even taking pride in their ruthlessness.

6 “I Think My Mask Of Sanity Is About To Slip.”

Patrick Bateman Lets His Façade Slip

Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman from American Psycho doing a chemical peel on his skin

The latter half of the movie revolves around Bateman’s facade slowly eroding as he makes the journey to finally breaking down and confessing his crimes. Bale plays it brilliantly and Patrick Bateman quotes like this one have continued to stand out over time because, beneath everything that makes Bateman so unlikable and so detached from reality, there’s something relatable about his disdain for the world around him and his inability to hide his true feelings about it.

The end of American Psycho is up for debate as to whether it means Bateman is truly a killer or if it was all in his head. However, this quote works in both ways. It could be Bateman’s fear of being discovered as the murderous monster that he truly is. However, it could also be Bateman beginning to come to grips with his fractured mind.

5 “My Pain Is Constant And Sharp, And I Do Not Wish For A Better World For Anyone.”

Patrick Bateman Hints He Wants To Be Caught

Christian Bale's Patrick Bateman scowling in American Psycho.

In the final scene of American Psycho, Bateman is shocked to discover that his over-the-phone confession to his lawyer was taken as a joke and that his lawyer doesn’t even recognize him. Bateman asserts that he perpetrated various violent acts, but his lawyer retorts with a perplexing comeback, as he argues that those crimes weren’t even committed and that Paul Allen was still alive.

In the end, Bateman is desperate for reprieve through punishment though he’ll never likely receive it, so his private hell is likely to continue forever. It’s a dark fate that he deserves, but Bale still finds a way to make his anguish sound almost comical. Once again, Bale’s performance makes the movie in many ways as there are few actors who could bring the complexities of the character out in a way that still has audiences debating who Patrick really is.

4 “I Have To Return Some Videotapes.”

Patrick Bateman Has An Alibi

Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) walking down the halls of his office lost in thought in American Psycho.

American Psycho’s surprisingly comedic energy also relates to its commentary on how people like Patrick Bateman might be given more leniency in criminal investigations of this kind. He is not the master criminal he pretends to be as seen when he is interviewed by a detective. Patrick comes up with the “brilliant” alibi for the night Paul Allen disappeared by explaining that he had to return some videotapes.

The simple activity in a day filled with equally trivial matters is given importance, not to mention serves as a way for him to display his wealth. VCRs may not be made anymore, but they were very expensive at the time. It’s such a compelling argument for him that he uses it while his fiancée sobs into her brunch, and when a peer tries to pressure him into something ambiguous in the bathroom. It’s the closest thing Patrick Bateman has to a catchphrase.

3 “Not If You Want To Keep Your Spleen.”

Patrick Bateman Mocks The Restaurant Server

Jared Leto as Paul Allen in a chain restaurant in American Psycho

Patrick Bateman reserves a table at an unpopular restaurant, planning to meet Paul Allen, get him drunk, and then take him back to his apartment so that he can murder him. When the two first meet, Allen seems to be under duress, and neither is interested in hearing what the waiter has to say. In fact, when he asks if the two want to hear about the day’s specials, Bateman responds with “Not if you want to keep your spleen.”

When it was first released, American Psycho was marketed as a horror film, but it’s better appreciated as a dark comedy, and quotes like this show that to be quite clear. However, it is another moment in which Bateman’s murderous talk goes largely unnoticed by others. This could be a bit of commentary on the fact that people in positions like Bateman’s are known for talking down to the people serving them.

2 “This Confession Has Meant Nothing.”

Patrick Bateman’s Own Attorney Doesn’t Believe Him

Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman staring blankly into the camera with freshly moisturized skin and perfect cheekbones.

At some point in American Psycho, Bateman feels that by confessing to what he’s done, a subliminal weight will be lifted from his shoulders, but the release from the pain he feels seems never to come. He neither hopes for a better world nor does he want anyone to escape from the torment that he suffers himself. His punishment continues to elude him because no one seems very interested in the mayhem he’s caused.

There are a couple of ways this particular quote from American Psycho remains impactful. Firstly, it speaks to Bateman’s tortured mind, leaving him with a unique punishment for the crimes he’s committed, unable to repent and be held accountable as he now desires. Secondly, the idea that someone like Bateman confesses to a crime and is not punished speaks to the inequality of those in positions of power who do not have to face repercussions like ordinary people.

1 “I Simply Am Not There.”

Patrick Bateman Hints That He Is Not Even Real

Christian Bale's Patrick Bateman with tanning goggles on in the tanning booth, half naked in American Psycho

One of the eeriest moments of the movie is when Bateman peels off a dermal cleansing mask as though he’s lifting the top layer of his actual face, his inner dialogue explaining to viewers that while there are aspects about him that can be seen, touched, and experienced, they don’t amount to an actual person. While Bateman is certainly a very juvenile and in some ways pitiable character, it’s hard not to be chilled by Patrick Bateman quotes like these.

The 1980s setting in American Psycho is great for its take on the yuppie culture of the era, but transitioning into the 1990s also allowed for a certain coldness in this world as well. Bateman is shown to be a monster but the people around him are not only oblivious but also uncaring and uninterested. It is as if Bateman is alone in the world which feeds into his sadistic tendencies.

American Psycho Movie Poster

American Psycho

Based on the book of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho follows Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) an investment banker in New York in 1987 who leads a double life as a serial killer. As investigators circle Bateman after the disappearance of a colleague, he finds himself trapped in a spiral of murder and excess, unable to stop himself from giving in to his increasingly dark urges. Also stars Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Justin Theroux, and Reese Witherspoon. 

Director
Mary Harron

Release Date
April 13, 2000

Runtime
101 minutes

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