Calling a film “perfect” is tossed around a bit freely by movie fans (myself included), but the first half of Psycho really is perfect. Sixty-plus years later, and I was still white-knuckle clenching my fist until that blood ran down the drain.
The second half is also brilliant — if not quite so breathless, except for a few heart-pounding stretches like Lila’s search of the Bates house. Some of the shots are iconic, like Arbogast’s murder and Norman’s appearance in the fruit cellar.
I’m not the first to note that the film’s coda is let-down for the rest of the film. The psychoanalyst’s babble tells us what we’ve already deduced and is a waste of screentime — even a slight blemish on a film that’s otherwise a masterpiece. (I wouldn’t trade Anthony Perkins’s last smile for the world, though.)
- Review Series: 2009 Top 100
Masterpiece: Tour De Good (8/8)
Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.