American Psycho Ending Explained
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You’re probably familiar with American Psycho, the cult classic movie from 2000. The film follows Patrick Bateman, a wealthy Wall Street banker with a dark secret – he lives a double life as a serial killer. While the movie is full of suspense, it’s the ambiguous ending that has left viewers and critics alike scratching their heads. What really happened at the end of this movie? In this article, we’ll explore the themes, ambiguous ending, and Jared Leto’s scene of American Psycho, and explain what the conclusion of the movie could mean.

We’ll start by looking at the ambiguity of the ending. There are lots of questions left unanswered: is Patrick Bateman really a killer or is it all in his head? Is the ending a homage to other movies, or is there something more sinister going on? We’ll also delve into the consequences of Patrick’s actions – or lack thereof – and how his mental state has deteriorated over the course of the movie. Finally, we’ll explore the themes and subtext of the ending, and how it relates to the movie as a whole. We’ll also look at Jared Leto’s scene and its importance to the movie’s conclusion. So get ready to dive deep into the world of American Psycho and unlock the mysteries of its ending.

Ambiguity and Homage

The ambiguous, yet intentional, homage to the source material leaves much to the viewer’s interpretation. Symbolic interpretations of the ending can be taken from the literary parallels between the movie and the original book. The unreliable narrator allows for creative license taken by the filmmakers to leave the ending open to audience interpretation. Mary Harron, the director, and Guinevere Turner, the co-writer, have both stated that the nature of the movie’s ambiguous ending is far too nebulous to explain definitively. The filmmakers agree that the ending did happen in real life, but that Bateman won’t be prosecuted for his crimes based on his affluence and high-society station. The ending is meant to be a direct homage to the book and is intentionally left ambiguous, allowing viewers to draw their own conclusions.

Real-Life Consequences

Despite Patrick’s affluence and high-society station, it remains uncertain if he will ever face any real-life consequences for his inhumane acts. This ambiguity is a direct homage to the book and leaves viewers to speculate on the extent of his crimes. It speaks to the societal corruption and class privilege that have allowed the wealthy to escape legal ramifications. The criminal justice system is used as a tool for those of privilege, and the wealthy are able to manipulate it to their advantage.

The ending of American Psycho raises important questions about the moral responsibility of the wealthy. While it is clear that Patrick Bateman’s actions are wrong, it is also clear that he will not face any consequences due to his privileged position in society. This is a stark reminder that even in the face of horrific crimes, those with money and power will always have a way out. The ending of American Psycho serves as a powerful critique of the injustices of the criminal justice system and a reminder of the inequalities in our society.

Mental Deterioration

Mental deterioration plays an integral role in understanding the movie’s ambiguous conclusion, as Patrick’s skewed perception of reality clouds the truth of his actions. His psychological breakdown is so extreme that his memories of his actions become distorted and unreliable, leaving the viewer unable to determine the exact events that have occurred. Bateman’s distorted perception of reality is further highlighted when his co-workers ignore his monstrous act of killing a rival. They view it as normal behavior, suggesting that his perception of reality is far removed from the actual reality.

Moreover, the question of whether Bateman killed Paul Allen is intentionally left ambiguous. It is unclear how much of the movie takes place in his unhinged mind and whether the murders were real or imagined. This further highlights the idea that Patrick’s perception of reality is distorted and unreliable and that he may never truly know the extent of his actions. The American Psycho ending is thus a reflection of our own perception of reality and how easily we can be misled by our own distorted memories.

Themes and Subtext

American Psycho tackles the idea of the obscenely wealthy facing no real consequences for their actions, emphasizing the dangers of unchecked privilege and power. Through its exploration of these themes, it offers a scathing critique of capitalism and its effects on society. Throughout the movie, Bateman’s co-workers ignore the monstrous act of his killing a rival, considering it just good business. This reveals a deeper societal apathy towards morality and amorality, where people are to be judged based on their affluence and connections rather than their actions.

The movie also features an unreliable narrator, as the audience is left to question the accuracy of the events and whether Bateman is actually murdering people or it is just his unhinged mind playing tricks on him. This further emphasizes the themes of societal apathy and unchecked privilege, as it shows that his high-society station means he won’t be held accountable for his actions regardless of whether or not they were real. American Psycho also serves as a cultural commentary on Reagan’s America, where his positive public perception saw him maintain popularity despite ignoring major issues. This prefigures the intense apathy and nihilism that dominated the pop culture landscape after the optimistic idealism of the 80s segued into the grim, cynical hopelessness of the 90s.

Jared Leto’s Scene

Jared Leto’s scene was one of the most memorable from the movie, and Christian Bale reportedly held back until the scene was shot in earnest, resulting in an intense look of shock on Leto’s face. Leto’s contribution to the movie was immense, as his performance was a key part of the scene’s success. His shock was real, as the scene was rehearsed without his knowledge, and Bale’s restraint was essential in creating the desired effect. Leto’s performance was a perfect example of how a few seconds of screen time can have a lasting impact. His facial expression was a perfect encapsulation of the horror of the scene, and his contribution to the movie was invaluable.


You’ve reached the conclusion of American Psycho and it’s time to reflect on what it all means. Upon closer examination, it’s clear that the ending is purposely ambiguous and open to interpretation. The themes of mental illness, real-life consequences, and homage to classic films are all present. As for Jared Leto’s scene, it can be seen as a metaphor for Patrick’s mental deterioration. Ultimately, the ending of American Psycho isn’t meant to offer any definitive answers. Rather, it’s an invitation to contemplate the deeper meaning of the movie and its themes.

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