A white background. Red drops begin to fall past the opening credits. The drops become a red sauce on a plate. A slab of meat is cut with a knife and garnished with raspberries, then placed on a table.
The camera moves over various dishes, most of which are very small and look very expensive. The restaurant is furnished in pinks and greens, and everyone is well-dressed. Waiters tell customers ridiculously decadent specials like squid ravioli and swordfish meatloaf.
The setting is New York City, sometime in the 1980s. The vice-presidents of Pierce and Pierce, a Wall Street financial institution, are seated around a table. They include Timothy Bryce (Justin Theroux), Craig McDermott (Josh Lucas), David Van Paten (Bill Sage) and Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale).
Bryce: This is a chick's restaurant. Why aren't we at Dorsia?
McDermott: Because Bateman won't give the maitre d' head.
Bateman flicks a toothpick at him. They discuss various people in the restaurant, including who Bateman believes to be Paul Allen across the room. Van Paten returns from the bathroom and says that there's no good place to do coke in. They discuss the fact that Allen is handling the Fisher account, which leads McDermott to make racist remarks about Allen being Jewish.
Bateman: Jesus, McDermott, what does that have to do with anything?
McDermott: I've seen that bastard sitting in his office spinning a fucking menorah.
Bateman (rebukes): Not a menorah. A dreidel, you spin a dreidel.
McDermott: Do you want me to fry you up some potato pancakes? Some latkes?
Bateman: No, just cool it with the anti-Semitic remarks.
McDermott: Oh I forgot. Bateman's dating someone from the ACLU!
Bryce calls Bateman the voice of reason.
Bateman (looking at the check): Speaking of reasonable, only $570.
They all drop their Platinum American Express cards on top of the bill.
At a nightclub, Bryce takes some money out of a clip and gives it to a man in drag, who lets them inside. As some 80's pop music plays from overhead, the men dance while strobe lights flash and some women on stage wave around prop guns like something out of a grind house flick. Bateman orders a drink and hands the bartender a drink ticket, but she tells him drink tickets are no good and that he has to pay in cash. He pays, and then when she's out of earshot, he says . . .
Bateman: You're a fucking ugly bitch. I want to stab you to death, then play around with your blood.
He takes his drink with a smile.
The camera pans through Bateman's apartment the next morning. Everything is shades of white, with black counters and shelves. It is sparsely decorated, but looks expensive.
Bateman: I live in the American Gardens building on West 81st street, on the 11th floor. My name is Patrick Bateman. I'm 27 years old.
He describes his diet and exercise routine, and his meticulous daily grooming rituals, which involves no less than 9 different lotions and cleansers. He peels off his herb-mint facial mask.
Bateman: There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman. Some kind of abstraction. But there is no 'real me'. Only an entity. Something illusory.
Bateman: And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours, and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable, I simply am not there.
Sweeping over the skyline of downtown New York, the song Walking on Sunshine starts playing. Walking down the hallway to his office, Bateman listens to this song on his headphones with absolutely no expression on his face.
Office co-worker: Hey Hamilton. Nice tan.
Everyone in the hallway has expensive suits and slicked-back hair. He walks by his secretary, Jean (Chloe Sevigny), to his office door. She's dressed in a long coat and shirt that are too big for her.
Bateman: Aerobics class, sorry. Any messages?
She follows him into his corner office. She tells him someone cancelled, but she doesn't know what he cancelled or why.
Bateman: I occasionally box with him at the Harvard Club.
She tells him someone named Spencer wants to meet for drinks. He tells her to cancel it.
Jean: What should I say?
Bateman: Just say no.
He tells her to make reservations for him at a restaurant for lunch, as well as dinner reservations at Arcadia on Thursday.
Jean: Something romantic?
Bateman: No, silly. Forget it. I'll make them. Just get me a mineral water.
She tells him he looks nice. Without looking at her, he tells her not to wear that outfit.
Bateman: Wear a dress or a skirt. You're prettier than that.
The phone starts ringing, and he tells her to tell anyone who calls that he isn't there.
Bateman: And high heels.
She leaves. He puts his feet up and starts watching Jeopardy on his office TV.
A taxicab makes its way through Chinatown. Inside, Bateman is trying to listen to the new Robert Palmer album on his headphones, but his "supposed" fiancée Evelyn (Reese Witherspoon) keeps distracting him with ideas for their wedding. He says he can't take the time off work to get married.
Evelyn: Your father practically owns the company. You can do anything you like, silly. You hate that job anyway, I don't see why you don't just quit.
Bateman: Because... I want... to fit... IN.
The cab drives up to a restaurant called Espace.
Bateman (narration): I'm on the verge of tears as we arrive, since I'm positive we won't have a decent table. But we do, and relief washes over me, in an awesome wave.
Bryce is already seated next to two punk-rock teens smoking cigarettes.
Evelyn: This is my cousin Vanden and her boyfriend Stash.
Bryce kisses Evelyn on both cheeks, and then starts kissing her neck, slightly crossing the line. Bateman looks at his blurry reflection in a metal menu. As they eat sushi, he remarks . . .
Bateman (narration): I'm fairly certain that Timothy Bryce and Evelyn are having an affair. Timothy is the only interesting person I know.
Bateman doesn't care because he's also having an affair with Courtney Rawlinson, her best friend.
Bateman (narration): She's usually operating on one or more psychiatric drugs, tonight I believe it's Xanax. She's also engaged to Luis Carruthers, the biggest doofus in the business.
Courtney and Luis are seated beside him, and Courtney, slurring her words, asks Stash whether he thinks Soho is becoming too commercial.
Luis: Yes. I read that.
Bryce: Oh who gives a rat's ass.
Vanden: That affects us.
Courtney: What about the massacres in Sri Lanka, honey? Don't you know that the Sikhs are killing like, tons of Israelis over there?
Bateman: There are more important problems to worry about than Sri Lanka, including Apartheid, nuclear arms, terrorism, and world hunger. We have to provide food and shelter for the homeless, and oppose racial discrimination and promote civil rights, while also promoting equal right for women. We have to encourage a return to traditional moral values. Most importantly, we have to promote general social concern, and less materialism in young people.
Bryce almost chokes on his drink as he starts laughing.
Luis (feigning tears): Patrick, how thought-provoking.
Bateman takes a swig of his whiskey.
It's nighttime. Bateman takes some money out of an ATM. A woman walks by and he starts following her. They stop at a crosswalk and he says "hello". She hesitantly says hello back. The sign changes to walk and they cross the street.
The next day, Bateman argues with an old Chinese woman who runs a dry cleaners. Another Chinese man is looking at some bed sheets with a huge red stain on them. Bateman is trying to tell her that you can't bleach that type of sheet, and that they are very expensive. She continues to babble in a language he can't understand.
Bateman: Lady, if you don't shut your fucking mouth, I will kill you.
She is shocked, but still won't speak English.
Bateman: I can't understand you! You're a fool! Stupid bitch-ee!
A woman comes in the door and recognizes him. Her name is Victoria. He says hi to her.
Victoria: It's so silly to come all the way up here, but they really are the best.
Bateman (showing her the sheets): Then why can't they get these stains out? Can you get through to them? I'm getting nowhere.
Victoria (looking wide-eyed at the stains): What are those?
Bateman: Uh, well it's cranberry juice. Cran-apple.
She looks skeptical. He tells her he has a lunch date in 15 minutes, and she tries to make plans with him. He tells her he's booked solid.
Victoria: What about Saturday?
Bateman: Next Saturday? Can't. Matinee of Les Mis.
He promises to call her, and then leaves.
Patrick paces his apartment in his underwear, on the phone with Courtney Rawlinson (Samantha Mathis). A porno movie is playing on his TV.
Bateman: You're dating Luis, he's in Arizona. You're fucking me and we haven't made plans. What could you possibly be up to tonight?
She says she's waiting for Luis to call.
Bateman: Pumpkin you're dating an asshole. Pumpkin you're dating the biggest dickweed in New York. Pumpkin you're dating a tumbling, tumbling dickweed.
She tells him to stop calling her pumpkin. He insists that they have dinner, and when she says no, he says he can get them a table at Dorsia. This perks her interest. He tells her to wear something nice. He calls the restaurant, and asks if he can make a reservation for two at 8:00 or 8:30. There is a moment of silence on the other end of the phone, then the man on the other end starts laughing uncontrollably. Patrick hangs up.
In a limo, Patrick listens to Courtney describe her day, while she is almost passing out from her medication.
Bateman (looking out the window): Is that Donald Trump's car?
Patrick's face is blurred through the plastic divider of the limo. She tells him to shut up. He tells her to take some more lithium, or coke or caffeine to get her out of her slump.
Courtney (absently looking out the window): I just want a child. Just two... perfect... children.
At the restaurant, she nearly falls asleep at the table and Patrick touches her shoulder and wakes her up.
Courtney (asks sleepily): Are we here?
Bateman (sitting down): Yeah.
Courtney: This is Dorsia?
Bateman: Yes dear.
He opens the menu which clearly says Barcadia across it. He tells her she's going to have the peanut butter soup with smoked duck and mashed squash.
Bateman: New York Matinee called it a 'playful but mysterious little dish.' You'll love it.
He orders her the red snapper with violets and pine nuts to follow. She thanks him, and then passes out in her chair.
A conference table at P&P the next day. Luis thanks Patrick for looking after Courtney.
Luis: Dorsia, how impressive. How on Earth did you get a reservation there?
Bateman: Lucky I guess.
Luis compliments him on his suit: Valentino Couture?
Luis tries to touch it, but Patrick slaps his hand away.
Bateman: Your compliment was sufficient, Luis.
Paul Allen (approaches them): Hello Halberstram. Nice tie. How the hell are ya?
Bateman (narration): Allen has mistaken me for "this dickhead Marcus Halberstram." We both work at P&P and do the same exact work, and wear the same glasses and suits. Marcus and I even go to the same barber. Although I have a slightly better haircut.
Allen and Patrick discuss accounts. He asks him about Cecilia, Marcus' girlfriend.
Bateman: She's great, I'm very lucky.
Bryce and McDermott come in, congratulating Allen on the Fisher account.
Allen: Thank you, Baxter.
Bryce asks him if he wants to play squash. Allen gives him his card out of his case. An audible tremor goes through the room.
Allen: Call me.
Bryce: How about Friday?
Allen: No can do. I got an 8:30 rez at Dorsia. Great sea urchin seviche.
He leaves. Bryce wonders how he managed to swing that. McDermott thinks he's lying. Bateman takes out his new business card, which reads "Patrick BATEMAN - Vice President".
Bateman: What do you think?
McDermott: Very nice.
Bateman: I picked them up from the printers yesterday.
Bryce: Nice coloring.