There can be only a few doubts the 2000 film American Psycho does serve as a metaphor to the clearly defined parasitic essence of the so-called ‘American dream’, concerned with people’s unconscious desire to impose their dominance upon others.
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After all, as the movie illustrates, in America, one’s ability to lead a socially prominent/luxurious lifestyle, has very little to do with the concerned person’s actual value, as an individual that contributes to the society’s well-being. Therefore, there is nothing incidental about the fact that, throughout the film, the main character of Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is shown being primarily preoccupied with bellyful idling – even in the scenes where he sits at the desk in his office.
Apparently, the director wanted the character of Bateman to be perceived, as such, that allegorizes the very source of the America’s prosperity, concerned with the fact that American richest bankers (the country’s actual rulers) are being in the position to continue printing out the countless tons of a valueless green paper, which in turn is being traded for the world’s most valuable natural resources.
In order to have this nothing short of a robbery more or less concealed, the country’s top-officials come up with the well-meaning but essentially meaningless rhetoric about protecting the values of democracy and combating the ‘world’s hunger’. In the similar manner, the talented demagogue Bateman also never ceases to position himself, as an utterly progressive individual – despite the fact that in the reality, he is a psychotic serial killer.
It is needless to mention, of course, that the above-stated suggestion is rather speculative. However, I believe that it does not make it less legitimate – especially given what we know about the actual causes of the financial crisis of 2008-2009, triggered by the bankers’ irrational sense of greed and by their willingness to lead a luxurious lifestyle, at the expense of depriving the rest of their co-citizens of a chance to advance in life.
It will not be much of an exaggeration to suggest that the film American Psycho is indeed strongly violent. The validity of this suggestion can be well illustrated, in regards to the scenes where Bateman murders people just for the sake of doing.
The latter characteristic of his killing spree is discursively revealing, as it shows that Bateman’s obsession with violence was nothing but the subliminal extrapolation of his endowment with the strongly defined domination-seeking instinct. Being an utterly rich and handsome 27-year-old man, with the particularly bright life-prospects ahead of him, Batemen is shown in the film as a person who had achieved just about anything that one can dream about.
Yet, this did not have even a slight effect on the earlier mentioned Bateman’s instinct – despite having achieved a socially dominant status, the film’s main character continued to aspire to seek dominance. In its turn, this created certain preconditions for the character’s transformation into a serial killer to be only the matter of time.
Hence, the actual significance of the manner, in which Bateman is depicted experiencing the sensation of guilt – the reason why he felt, as he wanted to be arrested, is that on an unconscious level, the film’s main character expected his ‘feats’ to be acknowledged by the society. In other words, the sensation of guilt, on Bateman’s part, did not have anything to do with his actual remorse for having killed a number of people, but rather with his narcissistic desire to remain the focus of the society’s attention.