American Psycho

American Psycho


Bret Easton Ellis

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American Psycho: Video Store then D’Agostino’s Summary & Analysis

Bateman is walking around a video rental store. To his dismay, it’s too crowded for him to rent porn, and he’s already been spotted by another banker he knows, who used the wrong name to say hello. Bateman finds himself stressed by the movie selection and ducks behind a cardboard cutout to take some Valium. Eventually, he decides to rent Body Double again. The girl at the counter, who he describes as “dumpy,” has no idea what he’s talking about when he asks if she has any movies featuring actress Jami Gertz. Bateman fantasizes about attacking her with a hammer, before telling her that his favorite part of Body Double is when a woman is mutilated with a power drill.
Renting and returning porn (and other films) from the video store is another seemingly daily ritual for Bateman. This time, the stress of being misidentified, coupled with his inability to rent the movie he desires, turns him to drugs. He’s beginning to need them more and more. Bateman also objectifies the woman at the counter and fantasizes about hurting her but he settles instead for scaring her with his violent comments.
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Leaving the video store, Bateman stops by a market called D’Agostino’s to pick up some fruit, Perrier water, and other items. Outside he sees a bum sitting beneath a “Les Misérables” poster, and tells him he needs a shave. All at once, Bateman can start to feel the Valium kick in, as he describes everything around him slowly fading away. Minutes later, he comes to his senses and finds himself still standing outside of the market, drooling.
Once again, Bateman has no care for the homeless, and the distinction between a rich man like Bateman and the homeless man sitting on the street is emphasized by the appearance of “Les Mis.” This is the first time we see his drug use have such a strong effect on his mental capacity, however; he essentially blacks out from taking Valium.
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