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American Psycho - Movie/Book Comparison

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tyler rohde

on 25 May 2010

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Transcript of American Psycho - Movie/Book Comparison

American Psycho - Movie/Book Project The Book At its core I believe that American Psycho is, unlike the movie, not a psychological thriller or horror book, but rather a critisicm - a satire on the 1980's New York yuppie culture. The Movie The movie, however, is a psychological thriller and, though relatively faithful content wise to the book, loses sight somewhat of the purpose of the book - as a criticism of a culture, and rather transforms the story into simply a case study into the mind of a serial killer with 1980's yuppie culture overtones. Movie Trailer The Character - Between the Book and Movie Book Movie The Patrick Bateman in the book is a self-absorbed, vain, pompous shell of a human mind through which the story is told. It is established early on that his repute as the narrator might not be so credible. For instance he often mistakes the names and faces of people (or in some cases just groups faces together as some sort of higher idea of a person. For example at a diner he says "Some guy who looks exactly like Christopher Lauder comes over to the table" (Elllis 48)). Yet he is keenly aware of clothing and is able to guess immediatelythe type and brand each person was wearing, even down to the day they were wearing it. The novel makes this excruciatingly obvious - on every page Bateman describes clothing ("she looks pretty decent anyway: a silk gazar blouse with rhinestone cuff links by Louis Dell'Olio and a pair of embroidered velvet pants from Saks..."(Ellis 77)). His materialistic obsession augments the nature of the book's ultimate criticism. His tenuous sanity fades throughout the novel - at first in fleeting glimpses into his thoughts, whenever he allows the reader to look into them, and then, outright painstaikingly detailed violence toward the end of the book. The reader gains a sense of this through his point of view - chapters start and stop mid sentence, chapters are devoted completely to critiquing certain musical albums, he begins to hallucinate, his relationships break down, and each and every crime seems too perfect, too insoluble to the police. In the novel, Bateman presents the world in such a light as to seem frivolous - worthless. This is Bateman's world, a world without want, and consumed by excessive hedonistic indulgence. By the end of the novel, Bateman's sanity completely breaks, and through certain evcents, the reader is left wondering if Bateman's iniquities were real or if everything in the novel was an intricately fabricated lie created in Bateman's mind - the mind of a Wall Street yuppie. The real and in my opinion only significant difference between the movie and the book is the character of Patrick Bateman between the two. Yes, the plot in the movie was a bit abbreviated but that is because of the character change in Bateman. Unlike in the novel, Bateman outright professes his insanity - from the very first moments of the movie he outright states that he is a sociopath ("There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman; some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me: only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable... I simply am not there."). This character development changes the pacing and direction of both the plot and the theme itself. Bateman's awareness of his lunacy makes the movie more of a psychological thriller or horror movie than it does a social commentary (with the exception being that the business card scene held relatively constant between the two - see the video). The movie also follows the character more through his murders than his ramblings on life and never once does he go into discourse about a person's clothing. The character's obsession with vanity just isn't there and this somewhat detracts from the overall point of the original story in adaptation. The ending in the movie was kept the same - Bateman comes to the realization that perhaps none of what he did ever happened - yet without the criticism of the novel, the ending devolves from an incisive critique on yuppie culture to simply a disturbing, yet-entertaining movie. Tyler Rohde
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