23 jul. 2012

My Review: Psycho (10/10)

¨I think I must have one of those faces you can't help believing.¨

Psycho is the master of all suspense thrillers and I will include it in my list of masterpieces. It was way ahead of its time and continues to impress today. This is where the term Hitchcockian came from to describe these psychological horror films that have been inspired by the great Hitchcock. It`s been over 50 years since Hitchcock directed this film, and horror directors are still trying to imitate what he did. One of the things I enjoyed the most about this film is the way that Hitch fooled us all into thinking that it was going to be about Janet Leigh`s character and ended up killing her off in the first half of the movie. I hadn`t seen this film before, but had seen the famous shower scene thousands of times before. It`s amongst the greatest scenes in film history considering the way Hitch filmed every shot taking the audience by surprise. I always thought that scene was the final one, so I was surprised to see it only 40 minutes into the movie. From that moment on I was sold and on board with what other unexpected turn the movie was going to make. Anthony Perkins` performance as Norman Bates was the highlight of the movie for me. He was excellent in his role and I was surprised he didn’t get much credit for it. I think he was much better than the rest of the cast. I also imagine what a surprise the ending must have been for most people during the time since it was something totally unprecedented. I did see it coming now of course since so many films have copied the format, but I can only imagine the initial reaction. Psycho was also the perfect title for the film.

As for the story goes it deals with an office worker from a small town in Arizona named Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) who is in her early 30`s and single. She has to meet with her love interest, Sam Loomis (John Gavin), in secret during lunch hours in a motel because he is from out of town and buried in debts due to alimony payments. When she arrives at work from her break she stumbles upon 40,000 dollars that her boss hands over to her to deposit in the bank. During a moment of irrationality she decides to keep the money and begin a new life in some other town. She takes off as soon as she can and begins driving away from the city as fast as possible. Tired after the long drive, Marion ends up staying at a motel off the highway for the night. The motel is run by a friendly young man named Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) who tells Marion that they don’t get many visitors nowadays. He offers her something to eat before she goes to bed, and she accepts. She later hears Norman discussing with his mother about his invitation and discovers that he is dominated by her. Her strong influence over him worries Marion, but she is tired and just once to rest before continuing her trip. Norman may not be the friendly young man who he seems to be after we see him watch her from a peeping hole. What follows is the famous shower scene and then the story continues with several twists and surprises.

I`ve heard many complaints about the final scene of this great film which was adapted by Joseph Stefano, from Robert Bloch`s novel of the same name. I can understand how this scene may seem out of place, especially now because the audience is expected to piece everything on their own, but I consider it necessary for the time because audiences weren’t familiar with the psychotic term or connotation. Of course the explanation seems out of place today because we all understand what has happened, but in the 60`s this film was way ahead of its time and had no precedents so it was necessary to spell everything out to the audience. I may be wrong, but I still don`t have a problem with that scene although I do admit it is one of the only scenes in the film that hasn’t aged well. Hitchcock is one of my favorite directors and I wish more directors would make psychological thrillers as well as he did. Psycho is probably one of his most recognized works, but I still think his best movie all time is Rear Window. If you haven’t seen these movies by all means go watch them because they are timeless.

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