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Film Analysis

1434 words - 6 pages

A violin, a knife, and a psychopath with mommy issues walk into a shower…

Director Alfred Hitchcock, known for his affiliation with films specifically in the realm of horror, is able to present the notion of murder and mental illness in his 1960 film Psycho. Through the usage of elements such as dark visuals accompanying symbolism, and the character exploitation of Norman Bates, Hitchcock provides a suspenseful yet foreboding storyline for his audience.
To begin with, I will introduce how Hitchcock utilized various visual techniques to inter-relate the concepts of murder and mental illness. As a whole, the film itself provides a very dark ambiance which can serve as a foreshadowing ...view middle of the document...

Referring back to the same scene with Marion at dinner, there is a black bird sitting behind Norman, and the more and more defensive he gets about his mother, we are provided with a different angle or shot of the scene making the small bird look enlarged as if it was big enough to swallow Norman. This can be understood as his mother having great power and a presence that can not and should not be reckoned with; she is always around and Norman is incapable of getting rid of her whether he likes it or not. Finally, in regards to the visuals, I would not be doing the film any justice if I did not even in the slightest way mention the famous shower scene. This part in the film sort of serves as a turning point for Marion and has the potential of indicating a great deal of symbolism. The audience can grasp an understanding that Marion has a sense of guilt towards the crime she has committed, stealing forty thousand dollars, to run away with her boyfriend. This can be proven earlier in the film as Marion is packing her belongings before she is about to leave town. We see the camera go back and forth between shots of the envelope of cash and Marion’s face very quickly in a short span of time. We also see a double of Marion through her reflection in the mirror reflecting her guilty side and he side who is tired of the way life is treating her and longs for an escape from it all. Before getting murdered in the shower, we gain the understanding that Norman has somehow talked some sense into Marion, and she will confess to her wrong doing. Her showering can be seen as a symbolization of of washing away her sins and repenting or the cleansing of all her guilt and worry towards the matter. Although at this point Marion may have come to her senses, the film proceeds with her being stabbed to death by an assumed Mrs. Bates as the audience only sees a shadowed figure appearing to have on a woman’s hat and dress. Marion’s murder, although brutal, I feel was necessary for the film’s overall affect. Noteworthy, are the visuals of the stabbing because the murder happens quite quickly through many edited shocks with flashings coming from different angles, and all we really see is the knife and Marion’s body. The film opens with rapid violent paced music in the background and the same type of sound returns during this scene making the actual murdering feel and seem more intense and tension-filled. The loud music in this film contributes to making the audience feel a sense of stress and anxiety as we await what is going to happen next.
Moreover, I will discuss the character exploitation of Norman Bates. First off, I feel Hitchcock was using some type of strategic technique in casting Anthony Perkins as Norman. When observing Norman’s body structure, he portrays a very tall but slender man who looks incapable of murdering let alone harming another human being. Referencing back to the quote I used earlier in this paper, “we’re all in our private traps,” here it...

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