‘Psycho’ is a suspense horror movie, based on the Robert Bloch’s novel ‘Psycho’. The movie was directed by a well-known director, Alfred Hitchcock. Famous actors, such as Anthony Perkins and Vera Miles starred in this movie. Screenwriter of the movie is Joseph Stefano. ‘Psycho’ not only conveys a deep spiritual, philosophical, social, political or moral statement, that the filmmaker wanted to make, but also appears to be an example of an art film.
Marion Crane has a secret romantic relationship with Sam Loomis. She meets with him in a hotel during her lunch break. When she returns to work, a client gives her $40,000; therefore, he wants her to put the money into the bank. However, Marion steals the money, and escapes the town. On the road, Marion meets the policeman, who starts to think that there is something wrong with her. He decides to let her go, but Marion changes her car, so he would not be able to find her. On a rainy night Marion decides to spend a night in the Bates Motel. The main highway was moved from the road where Bates Motel is situated, thus, the motel is usually empty. The keeper of the motel, Norman Bates, invites Marion for a dinner with him, during which he tells her, that his mother is mentally ill. Marion suggested that she should be kept in the hospital for mentally ill. Norman gets angry when she says this.
After this conversation, Marion decides to go back to Phoenix and return the money to its owner. Then, Marion takes the shower, during which she is stabbed to death by the mysterious figure. Norman gets into the room and sees Marion’s body. He decides to clean the bathroom, and puts Marion in the trunk of her car. Then, he drives to the swamp and sinks the car there. In Marion’s town, her boyfriend and sister are eager to know, where she is. Arbogast, the detective who investigates her case, finds out that Marion stole the money; he goes by her track and finds the Bates motel. He meets Norman Bates, gets suspicious about him, and decides to talk with his mother. However, when he enters the house to search for Norman’s mother, he gets killed by a figure that came from her room.
Marion’s sister, Lila, and Sam decide to search for Marion and Arbogast. The local detective tells them, that Mrs. Bates died long ago. She and her lover died in a murder-suicide. Meanwhile, Norman decides to take his mother to the basement. She rejects the idea, but he takes her there no matter what she says. Marion’s boyfriend and sister decide to stay in the Bates motel in order to check everything by themselves. Lila gets into the house and finds Mrs. Bates in the chair. Lila comes closer and sees that it is a corpse of Norman’s mother, who died long ago. Meanwhile, a figure comes into the basement. Lila sees that it is Norman Bates, who is wearing a dress and a wig. Sam comes into the room and rescues Lila. Norman gets arrested. Psychiatrist interviews him and reveals, that Norman killed his mother and her lover, and then split his personality into two, into Norman and his mother. He tried to erase the crime in his mind in this way. Nevertheless, the personality of mother started to dominate over Norman, and eventually completely took over his mind.
The spiritual statement, that the director wanted to make, is that it is very important to have a normal life, without dark secrets. Only having life like this will allow people to be happy and have a successful future. In the movie, Marion steals the money, and after that everything goes wrong in her life. The same goes for Norman; he kills his mother and becomes mentally ill, lonely and unhappy.
The philosophical statement that filmmaker wanted to make is that past is very important to the characters. In my opinion, the characters of this movie tried to change their past, and their memories of it. Their love made only bad things to them. For example, Norman Bates killed his mother, because he loved her and wanted her to belong only to him. The past of Norman occupies his present, and does not allow him to have a happy future. The film is ironic. It shows the director’s ironic perception of love and life.
The social statement, that the director wanted to make, is that people must be socialized and must have normal relationships if they want to be happy and feel safe and protected. There are some elements of human happiness. Filmmaker wanted to show that in order to be happy, a person needs to have all elements of happiness in his/ her life. For example, Marion would have been happy and would not steal money and run away, and would not get killed, if she would have been happily married.
The moral statement, that the director wanted to make, is that if a person makes other people unhappy, harms them or even murders them, then he/she will never be able to be happy. The guilt will always remind this person what he/ she did and will make this person suffer and ruin his/ her life. For example, Norman Bates tried to erase the murder of his mother, which he convicted, but he turned into a mentally ill person and killed once again. Thus, people must be moral, and never steal and harm other people.
The political statement, that the director wanted to make, is that stealing is not the right way to become rich. Police will find you, and ruin your life if you are a thief. In my opinion, director wanted to make this movie a protest against the set norms and rules. For example, before ‘Psycho’, it was forbidden to show unmarried couple in the same bed. Hitchcock also showed the flashing toilet in his movie for the first time in the movie history. It was the scene when Marion flashed the note paper.
‘Psycho’ is perceived by film critics as a cinematic art. Hitchcock used high-angle, low-angle, truck shots, and POV shots to intensify what he wanted to show by his movie. The film shots are cut in a special way, to produce the maximum tension effect on the viewers, and make them feel like they are parts of the movie. The establishing shot of the movie shows the sunny Phoenix; however, the hotel room where Marion and Sam have their secret meetings is shown as a dark place. Therefore, the movie showed a new level of depicting violence, sexuality, and deviant behavior. Director of ‘Psycho’ decided to film it in black and white. It is important to mention that the movie had a quite low budget. However, the film was a huge success, and received Academy Award nominations. Hitchcock was nominated as the Best Director.
To sum up, ‘Psycho’ is a movie that has a deep social, political, moral, and philosophical meaning, and also is an art film. In fact, the main characters made serious mistakes. Marion tried to understand her mistakes and revise them. Norman tried to erase the terrible murder he convicted from his memory. However, Marion’s and Norman’s terrible mistakes did not let them to be happy and completely destroyed their lives. Lastly, the movie is directed and edited in a way, which makes it a true work of art.
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