Posted by Aether
It's actually neither. You are intentionally left confused about whether he has committed the murders or whether he is a delusional psychotic as a means to bring you into the mindset of the main character. He lives in a world where everyone is constantly unsure of each others' identities, names, whether events actually took place, he feels trapped and the only things anyone recognize in his world are labels and the social masks they wear to fit in. Throughout the entire book (or movie to a lesser extent) people are constantly introduced as other people, debating about who certain people are, about what did or didn't happen, and the only thing anyone is sure of is the outward image that they portray in an attempt to fit in. Bateman only ever speaks with confidence about brand names, fashion, music, everything about his interpersonal life as well as that of his colleagues is made intentionally vague and confusing in order to leave you with the same sense of confused isolation that he experiences throughout the story. You also see many references to his inability to escape this frame of mind. "This is not an exit" and "abandon all hope ye who enter here" appear at the start and ending of the book to reinforce the idea that he is trapped in his own living hell where nothing seems real and the only thing that exists in his world are the superficial appearances he and his co-workers put forward. The whole thing is basically poking fun at the whole yuppie sub-culture that surrounds wall street traders. That they're so completely consumed with their outward appearance that they are unable to really indentify with, understand, or truly see one another because they're constantly putting on a show. It extends to the point that when he talks about killing people, his friends either mistake his words or simply think he's joking because they can't see anything but the "false" version of each other.
I would recommend reading the book. A book can always convey more than a movie can. Especially when it comes to a story that's so cerebral, the majority of it has to do with what he is thinking and how he feels, these things are significantly easier to accurately portray in a book because an author can just write "he feels like this" whereas an actor has to mimic the emotion.
Personally I think Bale is an awful actor. He only gets cast in roles of emotionless heroes or villains because he can't really portray emotion very well at all. Pretty similar to keanu reeves. The movie is not bad, the book is way better.
I should warn you though, if anyone plans to get the book it is CONSIDERABLY more graphic than the movie. Ellis goes into very intricate detail about the murder, mutilation, cannibalization, and necrophilia suffered by his victims. I mean very detailed. If you don't have a strong stomach for gory descriptions this book is not for you.
It is interesting to note corncerning his actions
In the book, are written in first person
But his most psychotic episode
Which involves feeding a cat to an ATM, shooting random peope and being chased my coppers that ultimately explode at a gunshot
Is all written in third person
As if Bateman is watching himself in an out of body experience
Yet no reprecussions
Also in thier world where nobody knows who anybody really is inwardly and outwardly
He is constanly being mistaken for someone else, and constantly mistaking other peoples identity
You aren't sure weather he gets away with it, because nobody can recognise each other in a world full of clones
He is even given an alibi for his actions and it is seemingly covered up by the social system
If there was a killer they most certainly wouldn't be looking for him
And Bateman is thus left wondering himself if any of it happened
But it will continue happening