American Psycho: Is Pierce & Pierce a Real Investment Company?

In ‘American Psycho,’ Patrick Bateman is a serial killer who works as an investment banker at Pierce & Pierce, a company specializing in mergers and acquisitions. Throughout the film, Bateman’s vapid and vacuous lifestyle is reflected through his work at the Wall Street company, where greed and artifice have strangled its inhabitants. Bateman, in particular, feels this chokehold as a limit over his life, which leads to further chaos in his personal affairs and increasing bloodlust. The protagonist idles around most of the time in his office, which makes it a major setting of the satirical horror film!

Pierce & Pierce is a Fictional Investment Firm

Pierce & Pierce in ‘American Psycho’ is a fictional Wall Street investment company. Conceived by Bret Easton Ellis for his eponymous source novel of the film, the firm is where the murderous protagonist, Patrick Bateman, spends most of his days moonlighting as a banker. His high-paying job at the company funds a significant portion of his affluent but ultimately empty lifestyle. Interestingly, the specific details surrounding the day-to-day work he accomplishes at the office are absent from the narrative, offering an insight into how unimportant it is as a thematic element. Instead, when asked about his work, his answers are always bland and vague, characterizing it as mergers and acquisitions.

Due to the sensitive nature of the film’s subject matter and its exposure to violence, shooting was a challenging process for the production crew. An office building in Toronto was supposed to double as the Pierce & Pierce office. However, due to negative publicity and a slew of protests on the streets, that plan was abandoned. In The New York Times, director Mary Harron wrote, “On the morning the Sun article appeared, we were on our way to do a technical survey of our main location, which was to represent the office where Patrick Bateman works. Ten minutes after 9, the producer’s cell phone rang with this message: ‘Don’t bother showing up.'” The bank that owned the office building had denied them permission to proceed with the filming. Thus, the scenes in the office were shot on a sound stage in Toronto.

Scenes set in Bateman’s workplace in the film’s latter half were filmed at Toronto-Dominion Bank Tower at 66 Wellington Street West. The skyscraper is one of six towers in the complex. It was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who also contributed to the design of buildings in New York, lending the location a similar aesthetic. In the film, Pierce & Pierce’s purpose and actual work are esoterically hidden. Bateman can often be seen loafing around his office, doing nothing except asking his secretary to make reservations at high-end restaurants or making them himself. There is very little work going on, which indicates his idle state of mind and the over-rewarding nature of his job.

Pierce & Pierce facilitates the superficial existence of its workers, allowing them to lead duplicitous lives full of stale and crass conversations. This ultimately plays out in the narrative outrageously, bordering on over-the-top, which reflects its fictional creation.

Read more: American Psycho Ending, Explained