I could fill half a Top 10 Psycho scene list with Patrick Bateman highlights. By limiting myself to two today I’m leaving out the Final Confession sequence, the 2×1 prostitute scene (and don’t you love that the screenwriter, Guinevere Turner was one of the women?) and the Chloe Sevigny nail gun scene.
Did you read the book? You should. The phenomenal choice of Mary Harron to direct and co-write gave the movie a sense of humor. When Patrick goes to the refrigerator to get some sherbert and has to move a human head– the book is far more a gore-fest, far more Jeffrey Dahmer…compared to the movie where you bend laughing when Christian Bale utters the immortal:
“You like Hughie Lewis and the News?”
First, to the business card scene. As usual, I’ve got the full scene with YouTube video below to compare to the script. Speaking of script, it’s very close to the finished version of the movie. This scene– and the full movie– plays out on two levels, outside and inside Bateman’s head. The top of the scene plays out in real time, outside his mind…
Bateman takes out his wallet and pulls out a card.
New card. What do you think?
McDermott lifts it up and examines the lettering carefully.
Whoa. Very nice. Take a look.
He hands it to Van Patten.
Picked them up from the printers yesterday
That’s bone. And the lettering is something called
It is very cool, Bateman. But that’s nothing.
He pulls a card out of his wallet and slaps it on the
Look at this.
They all lean forward to inspect it.
That’s really nice.
Bateman clenches his fists beneath the table, trying to
control his anxiety.
Eggshell with Romalian type.
(Turning to Bateman)
What do you think?
(Barely able to breath, his voice a croak)
(Holding the card up to the light)
Jesus. This is really super. How’d a nitwit like you get so
Bateman stares at his own card and then enviously at
Then we go into his head. For you haters of Voice Over, good luck here… This is brilliance:
I can’t believe that Price prefers McDermott’s card to mine.
But wait. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
He holds up his own card.
Raised lettering, pale nimbus white…
(Choking with anxiety)
Impressive. Very nice. Let’s see Paul Owen’s card.
Price pulls a card from an inside coat pocket and holds it
up for their inspection: “PAUL OWEN, PIERCE & PIERCE,
MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS.” Bateman swallows, speechless.
The sound in the room dies down and all we hear is a faint
heartbeat as Bateman stares at the magnificent card.
Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness
of it. Oh my God, it even has a watermark…
His hand shaking, Bateman lifts up the card and stares at it
until it fills the screen.
He lets it fall. The SOUND RETURNS TO NORMAL.
Poor Paul Owen…made two mistakes. That Saturday Night reservation at Dorsia (Bateman got laughed at when requesting the same thing) and that subtle off-white, watermarked business card. He heads back to Bateman’s for a drink and the result is yet more instruction on the power of using humor, even in the most heinous of scenes.
INT. BATEMAN’S APARTMENT – NIGHT
The living room floor has been meticulously covered with
Owen is slumped drunkenly in a white Eames chair, a glass
in his hand. Bateman is looking through his CDs.
You like Huey Lewis and the News?
Their early work was a little too New Wave for my
taste. But then Sports came out in 1983, I think they really
came into their own, commercially and artistically.
Bateman walks to his bathroom, taking a large ax out of the
shower. He takes two Valium.
(Said partly from the bathroom)
The whole album has a clear, crisp sound and a new sheen of
consummate professionalism that gives the songs a big boost.
Bateman comes back out and leans the ax against the wall.
He walks to the foyer and puts on a raincoat, watching Owen
from behind ail the time.
He’s been compared to ELvis Costello but I think
Huey has a more bitter, cynical sense of humor.
Poor fucker. Has no clue what’s about to happen to him. Ever remember a scene with a slaughter like this? Slaughter with style, New York Times style section laid out at Owen’s feet…
Owen is absent-mindedly leafing through the Barneys
Why are there copies of the Style section all over
the place? Do you have a dog? A chow or something?
Is that a raincoat?
Yes, it is.
Bateman moves to the CD player. He takes a CD out of its
case and slides it in the machine.
In 1987 Huey released this, Fore!, their most
accomplished album. I think I heir undisputed masterpiece is
“HiP To Be Square,” a song so catchy that most people probably
don’t listen to the lyrics. But they should because it’s not
just about the pleasures of conformity and the importance of
trends. It’s also a personal statement about the band itself.
BATEMAN crosses the room and picks up the ax.
We follow BATEMAN from behind as he walks up to Owen, the
ax raised over his head.
As Owen turns around, FROM OWEN’S POV we see Bateman swing
the ax toward his face.
Blood sprays onto the white raincoat.
FROM BEHIND OWEN, we see BATEMAN as he yanks the ax out.
Owen drops to the floor. His body falls out of the frame.
We stay on his legs twitching mechanically.
Blood pulses onto the newspaper-covered floor.
(Raising the ax and screaming)
Try getting a reservation at Dorsia now, you fucking
LOW ANGLE ON BATEMAN as he beats Owen with the back of the
OFFSCREEN, the sound of the ax hitting Owen.
Bateman takes his raincoat off, still panting. He folds the
coat carefully in half, bloody side in, and drapes it neatly
over the back of a chair.
He sits back on the white sofa and surveys the scene. He
checks his Rolex and lights a cigar.
OFFSCREEN, Paul Owen’s last faint sighs are heard.