Thursday, 15 August 2013

Psycho (1960) Review

I first learnt about Psycho in Year 8, in a Music lesson.

When looking at how music changed a scene, we were shown the shower scene of the film - and we watched it a few times and made notes. Then I kind of forgot about it, until I saw the trailer for the film Hitchcock, something which I now want to see all of. Since that trailer, the film's been in the back of my mind. On the shelves of HMV whispering "buy me".

So I bought it. And it's great.

Hitchcock was the "master of suspense", and Psycho certainly delivers that. I don't watch many 'horror' films, in fact any, and while Psycho isn't really the type of horror you find today - it's unnerving. The ability to unnerve the audience is much more powerful. The one thing everyone knows about Psycho is the shower scene - and I knew that happened fairly early on. Happening just before the half way mark, it really does change proceedings and twist things around.

But it leaves the question - what's the film about?

Because up until that point, or ten minutes before where the Bates Motel is introduced, the story has no purpose. It's simply about Marion stealing some money for her boyfriend but never giving it to him. (On that note - the speaking over the car scenes stuff is great, it gives you an insight into Marion and other characters' heads, something which the whole film is good at.) So until the shower scene happens - the film has no real purpose. We only start to examine Bates because of Marion - but we only really learn about him and his Mother after the scene has taken place.

It's just as well that scene's in the film - because that's the point. Which is slightly ironic - considering the biggest surprise in the film is its biggest promotion and most significant moment.

Aside from that, I knew little about the film. But it definitely didn't let me down - it is great. It takes a while to get moving, but there are some really profound conversations. The stuff with the Police Officer with and following Marion seems a little bit like padding - but everything else is great. It's brilliant psychological, and there's thousands of types of analysis you can put into it - which makes it my kind of film.

In terms of the ending - I saw it coming. But that doesn't make it any less weird, or unnerving. I won't put any spoilers in, because it really helped me not knowing what was coming. After the shower scene I was in the dark, going on my own guess work. I didn't know that certain things were going to happen in certain places - and even the trailer with Hitchcock himself shows that. Not knowing anything about it really made the film feel creepier, and it made it feel more real as well. The characters in the film are all completely believable and even likeable most of the time - and that's what makes certain bits creepier.

It's no wonder the film made Anthony Perkins a star - he's wonderful. His performance shows true acting, and he's great to watch on screen. And sometimes - he's too creepy to watch comfortably - and that shows how good an actor he was.

I've probably missed out a thousand things about the film - but all you need to know is that it's great. Don't look up the plot before you watch it - because it's great to be surprised by it. It will creep you out if you're an audience member, inspire you if you're a film maker or an actor, and should be on everyone's list of 'best ever films'.

I would say a bit more - but Mother wouldn't like that.

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