A psychologist suggests a fictional depiction of a psychopath is the protagonist from the Hurt Locker:
Patrick Bateman in the film American Psycho inserts a chainsaw into a prostitute. Alex in A Clockwork Orange fantasizes about torture and slaughter while listening to music.
But psychopaths can wreak havoc in workplaces without stabbing, or eating, their colleagues.
"It's a much more ordinary condition than those movies portray. They aren't more intelligent than the rest of us," Dr Polaschek said.
She suggested another movie character for a different look at psychopaths: Sergeant First Class William James in The Hurt Locker.
James joins a bomb disposal team in Iraq and quickly earns the distrust of his comrades through his lack of care.
"He could well be a psychopath, but he doesn't do anything to hurt anybody. He's a bit of a cowboy and does a fearless kind of work tracking those improvised explosives, and he doesn't work well in a team."The researcher goes on to opine:
Dr Polaschek said it was a complex disorder - there was no clear line dividing a common and commendable display of boldness from full-blown psychopathy.
"But there probably isn't such a thing as a harmless psychopath. People who live for themselves and for the day will tend to blunder around, causing harm to people - because that's not how society works."I think this sign represents his character well (and the awkwardness of a sociopath trying to deal with someone's very emotional state, rather unsuccessfully):
Sergeant JT Sanborn: I'm ready to die, James.
Staff Sergeant William James: Well, you're not gonna die out here, bro.
Sergeant JT Sanborn: Another two inches, shrapnel zings by; slices my throat- I bleed out like a pig in the sand. Nobody'll give a shit. I mean my parents- they care- but they don't count, man. Who else? I don't even have a son.
Staff Sergeant William James: Well, you're gonna have plenty of time for that, amigo.
Sergeant JT Sanborn: Naw, man. I'm done. I want a son. I want a little boy, Will. I mean, how do you do it, you know? Take the risk?
Staff Sergeant William James: I don't know. I guess I don't think about it.
Sergeant JT Sanborn: But you realize every time you suit up, every time we go out, it's life or death. You roll the dice, and you deal with it. You recognize that don't you?
Staff Sergeant William James: Yea... Yea, I do. But I don't know why.
Staff Sergeant William James: I don't know, JT. You know why I'm the way I am?
Sergeant JT Sanborn: No, I don't.