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5 Plot Point Breakdown: American Psycho (2000)

By Siavash Behmard · November 28, 2011

Screenplay Genre: Drama / Crime / Thriller

Movie Time: 102 minutes

1. INCITING INCIDENT

Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), a young, narcissistic, vice president of a Wall Street financial institution is in a company boardroom when cohort Paul Allen (Jared Leto) mistakes the identity of Patrick for a similar-looking Marcus Halberstram. Bateman begins feeling inferior and is taken aback by Paul Allen’s business card, which impresses everyone in the boardroom. (00:18:01)

2. LOCK IN (End of Act One)

Bateman following up on dinner plans he made with Paul Allen lures him to his apartment and murders him with an ax. (00:28:33)

3. FIRST CULMINATION (Midpoint)

Detective Kimball, investigating the disappearance of Paul Allen, stops by Bateman’s office to clarify where he was the night of Paul Allen’s disappearance. Bateman can’t recall and says that he’s been a bit scattered lately. They agree to meet another time for lunch. (00:51:13)

4. MAIN CULMINATION (End of Act Two)

Bateman explains to his fiancé that he has become a homicidal maniac. She seems oblivious to his confessions. He admits that he can’t control himself and begins to lose his mind. He goes on a murdering spree and concludes it by calling his lawyer and leaves a message confessing all of his crimes. (1:18:49)

5. THIRD ACT TWIST

At a meeting, Bateman spots his lawyer and confronts him about the message. His lawyer assumes that the message was a joke and tells Bateman that he had dinner with Paul Allen ten days ago; therefore, Bateman could not have possibly murdered Allen. This reveal leaves us to question what is real and what is fantasy. (1:31:44)


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