Sometimes it seems like I am the only person in the world who isn’t very fond of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 “chiller” Psycho. I just always thought that it was his most underwhelming movie. It had the form of a thriller but the atmosphere of a clunky drama. It didn’t stand out in any way; it wasn’t scary, chilling, and in moments it wasn’t that compelling either. It was a decent movie, but nothing more. Well, now we get a controversial, much maligned shot-by-shot remake of Psycho in color and with a different cast. And to my absolute astonishment, I enjoyed the remake more than the original.
Vince Vaughn takes on the challenging role of Norman Bates, the psychopathic owner of the legendary Bates Motel, Anne Heche is in Janet Leigh’s boots as Marion Crane, the one that takes that fateful shower and William H. Macy is the private eye. Those three main actors are suberb, are equal to, or surpass their 1960 counterparts. Only Viggo Mortensen is horridly miscast as Marion Crane’s boyfriend.
What director Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting) has done with Psycho is he basically just added color: we are essentially watching the same movie except because it’s colorized it’s about twice as effective, and twice as thrilling. Vince Vaughn is an extraordinary actor and, while I understand that Anthony Perkins is the guy that everyone will identify as Norman Bates, his performance is in no way better than Vaughn’s is here. Watching him, we see that his character is on the verge of something. If you see this film, watch him very closely — his gestures, his body language, his voice, his laugh — and you’ll no doubt get the feeling that something is about to happen to this man.
This remake is in no way disrespectful to Hitchcock’s work. It’s just the opposite; to do a shot-by-shot remake of a movie to utilize all the modern technology and acting power available is to say that the original is so great that we want to make it again and see how it turns out. I disagree, but I wholeheartedly liked Psycho nevertheless.
-- Eugene Novikov
|Starring:||Vince Vaughn, William H. Macy, Anne Heche, Viggo Mortensen|
|Directed by:||Gus van Sant|