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movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Psycho

Starring: Anne Heche, Vince Vaughn
Director: Gus Van Sant
Rated: R
RunTime: 109 Minutes
Release Date: December 1998
Genres: Suspense, Thriller

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1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie review
2.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
3.  Greg King read the review movie reviewmovie review
4.  Greg King read the review movie reviewmovie review
5.  Jerry Saravia read the review ---
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7.  Edward Johnson-Ott read the review movie review
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9.  David Wilcock read the review movie reviewmovie review

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4


Yes, that is the obvious question. Why would director Gus Van Sant want to reconstruct the Alfred Hitchcock classic from 1960, PSYCHO? And why, instead of reinterpreting it, did he actually recreate the film shot-by-shot with precisely the same timing and camera angles. He even arranged for his crew to shoot it on the same six-week schedule that Hitchcock used.

Van Sant has said that one of his motivations was to get inside the head of the great director, which presumably he now has.

The question is why -- other than curiosity -- would audiences want to see it? It is here that Van Sant provides no answers.

Whereas the original was fascinating and shocking, the reconstruction is bland and lifeless. The reconstruction could easily be summarized in a single word -- tedious.

The original movie starred Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, the motel manager from Hell and Janet Leigh as the larcenous Marion Crane, his victim. The reconstruction is well cast but not well acted.

Vince Vaughn isn't particularly creepy as Norman Bates. He was much better as a psycho earlier this year in CLAY PIGEONS.

The normally emotive Anne Heche plays Marion Crane with facial expressions that border on blank slates. Heche delivers probably the weakest performance of her career.

To be fair, both actors may just have been following the director's instructions, but it is truly a shame to see such talent wasted.

And they aren't the only excellent actors to appear in the film. Also on hand are Julianne Moore as Marion's sister, Viggo Mortensen as Marion's boyfriend, William H. Macy as the private detective and Philip Baker Hall as the sheriff.

Are there ANY differences? Well, not many other than the obvious one of a switch to color from the black-and-white original. There are a few modest changes, but I'll let you discover them. Keeping your eye out for them is one of the few ways to pass the time while waiting for the movie to end.

One particularly infuriating semi-change is that the director can't make up his mind on the time period. He starts the movie by giving the year as 1998, but he constantly confuses things by putting in ridiculous looking take-offs on 1960s clothing and making the sets an eclectic mixture of the two periods.

Van Sant drains all of the lifeblood out of the story, just like Norman did on the animals in his taxidermy collection. The result is just as strange. Why one would want to see either dead animals or a dead movie is the mystery.

PSYCHO runs 1:45. It is rated R for violence, nudity and sex and would be fine for teenagers.

Copyright 1998 Steve Rhodes

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