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Official Site: Universal Pictures
When he is first introduced in Ellis' novel, young investment banker Patrick Bateman's "mask of sanity" is about to slip, according to his own admission. Bateman works as a specialist in mergers and acquisitions at the fictional Wall Street investment firm of Pierce & Pierce (also Sherman McCoy's firm in The Bonfire of the Vanities) and lives at 55 West 81st Street, Upper West Side in the American Gardens Building (where he is a neighbor of actor Tom Cruise). In his "secret life", however, Bateman is a serial killer who murders a variety of people, from colleagues, to the homeless, to prostitutes. His crimes, including rape, torture, murder, necrophilia and cannibalism, are described in graphic detail in the novel.
Bateman comes from a wealthy family. His parents have a home on Long Island, and he mentions a summer home in Newport. His parents divorce sometime earlier, while his mother became sick and now resides at a sanatorium. His father, who first appeared in the preceding novel The Rules of Attraction, grew up on an estate in Connecticut, and now owns an apartment in the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan, although he was apparently dying in the previous novel and, unlike his ex-wife, is mentioned only in past tense during the novel. His younger brother Sean attends Camden College (and is a protagonist of The Rules of Attraction). Bateman attended Phillips Exeter Academy for prep school. He graduated from Harvard University in 1984, and Harvard Business School two years later and moved to New York City.
As written by Ellis, Bateman is the ultimate stereotype of yuppie greed: rich, shallow, and addicted to sex, drugs, and conspicuous consumption. All of his friends look alike to him, to the point that he often confuses one for another, and they often confuse him for other people. Bateman takes delight in obsessively detailing virtually every single feature of his always designer clothes, workout routine, business cards, alcoholic drinks, as well as his elaborate high end stereo and home theater sound system. He is engaged to an equally rich, shallow woman named Evelyn Williams. They can't stand each other, but they stay together for the sake of their social lives. He has a mistress on the side (the fiancee of a homosexual colleague whom he holds in great contempt and who repeatedly and haplessly makes sexual advances towards Patrick) and has regular liaisons with prostitutes and women he encounters at clubs, many of whom end up being his victims. The one woman (and possibly the one person) in his life he has anything approaching feelings for is his secretary, Jean. He just cannot bring himself to seduce, rape or kill her, perhaps because she is the only person in his life who is not completely shallow and seems to admire her for her innocence. Every time he mentions Jean throughout the novel, he casually acknowledges her as "Jean, my secretary who is in love with me" and introduces her in the narration as someone whom he "will probably end up married to someday".
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