Jason Brody and Patrick Bateman: A Tale of Two American PsychosPosted by Ben on 23rd January, 2013
This article contains spoilers for Far Cry 3 and American Psycho
Jason Brody is messed up. Over the course of the game he’s killed tens if not hundreds of people, been tortured and disfigured. Despite all of this he continues regardless, ignoring the broken bones, gunshot wounds and missing digits as if none of it ever happened, and I’m not sure any of it did. Like American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman, I believe that Jason has created a fantasy which he is playing out and most of what we experience as Jason is not actually happening. On the surface Patrick and Jason are incredibly similar: young, affluent and fantastically unaware of their own privilege. The trust fund dude-bro of today would be the Yuppie of yesteryear. It’s once you look deeper at the fantasy they have created; you notice just how similar these two characters are.
Throughout both narratives you have to question the validity and reliability of the narrator. With every murder both stories become more and more preposterous, both of their stories are told from a first person perspective so we have no context for their actions and no real way of proving or disproving the events that we are told. Everything is just far too easy for Jason, a dude-bro of the highest calibre who has never wanted for anything in his life, who can take down entire platoons of trained privateers and hunt bears and sharks as easily as downing Sambuca shots or spending on Daddy’s black card. Patrick manages to kill several prostitutes, a co-worker and evade detection by the police as easily as he’d go return some video tapes.
Just when Patrick’s and Jason’s stories are believable, a sudden escalation occurs that asks you to suspend your disbelief further than ever before. It’s when Jason is burning through marijuana plantation with a flamethrower, burning through wave after wave of pirates, all whilst a Skrillex song plays on loop. The utter ridiculousness of this situation is never brought up other than Jason saying how much he loves the flamethrower. Where is the music coming from exactly? Are we expected to believe that a pampered rich kid is actually engaging in a one man war on drugs? For Patrick it’s when an ATM asks him to feed him a stray cat followed by him killing several police officers as their cars inexplicably explode, suddenly there are police helicopters chasing him and he escapes into his office and admits his crimes to his lawyer saying “I don’t want to leave anything out here. I guess I’ve killed maybe 20 people, maybe 40. Tonight I, uh, I just had to kill a LOT of people. And I’m not sure I’m gonna get away with it this time. I guess I’ll uh, I mean, ah, I guess I’m a pretty uh, I mean I guess I’m a pretty sick guy”. Bateman’s unravelling occurs late in the narrative and he is starting to question his sanity and whether he’s committed those crimes. Jason never reaches this point; he chooses to stay in his fantasy, to not doubt his actions stating that “I’ve killed so many people I’ve lost count. I can’t come back from this. I’m a monster. I can feel the anger inside me. But I am still, somewhere inside me, more than that. Better than that”. Even when he is admitting he is a murderer, Jason still thinks he’s the best person.
At the end of American Psycho, Patrick goes back to the scene of a previous murder expecting to find the bloodied remains of his crime but all he finds is a pristine apartment with a very suspicious realtor. Bodies disappear even quicker for Jason as after wiping out an entire outpost, the fallen soldiers will vanish as you turn around, even allies will disappear in front of you after giving you your next mission. Now I don’t think Jason’s entire experience is a fantasy but everything after his initial encounter with Vaas is questionable. He fares then as well as any other normal person would in that scenario, he fails to save his brother from bleeding out; it’s only after almost drowning and being rescued does he suddenly become normal for the island, a murderous, revenge driven psychopath. He is now everything he needs to be on the island, able to tame and control it.
In an analysis of Patrick Bateman, Chris Schaffer says that “his interactions with people as flat, almost lifeless, characters is made almost excusable by their inability to recognise or react to his clearly disturbed behaviours” . Jason’s friends only very briefly question his actions. He’s rescued them all and they have a means to escape but Jason insists on seeking revenge. He says that they don’t understand him anymore and how the island has changed him but by the end, all this is forgotten. They welcome him as their savour as if nothing ever happened, as if he never tortured them or held a knife to their throat.
Both Jason and Patrick are living in a fantasy world, Jason’s is trying to escape the crushing realisation of how far from normality his life has become and Patrick is escaping so he can keep on being part of that life, as he says “I just want to fit in”.