Is There A Bit Of Patrick Bateman In All Of Us?

April 2016Words by Mr Johnny Davis, deputy editor, Esquire

Mr Christian Bale in American Psycho, 2000. Film still. Photograph Landmark Media

On YouTube, there’s a video called “The Real Bruce Wayne Revealed: The Power of Intermittent Fasting”. It’s a portentous title – but not nearly as portentous as the video itself. As the camera pans down over treetops to reveal a millionaire’s mansion, we meet Mr Gregory O’Gallagher. “I’m 24 years old,” he tells us in the voice-over. “I believe in taking care of myself. In maintaining a lean and powerful body and striving each day for self-improvement.” O’Gallagher crosses the bedroom in his tight underpants and takes a shower. The video is really an advert for a bodybuilding/fat-reduction programme. But with its lingering shots of Mr O’Gallagher’s lavish pad, his Lamborghini parked outside and the blonde draped around his neck, the film's really an advert for a kind of aspirational lifestyle. It’s shot in 4k and has 10.5k likes.

Yet thanks to Mr O’Gallagher’s uncanny resemblance to Mr Christian Bale, and his cold, detached narration, it’s not Bruce Wayne this video most obviously conjures up, but American Psycho. Bateman, not Batman. With American Psycho – The Musical newly arrived on Broadway in a bigger, bloodier incarnation after its sell-out London run in 2013, we might ask ourselves whether Patrick Bateman hasn’t become a kind of role model. It shouldn’t need pointing out that Bateman, the original Wolf of Wall Street, was a product of the pre-crash “greed-is-good” 1980s and supposed to be a satire.