I'm a Goan woman, working in Mumbai as the founder of a studio called Totem Creative. I try to make the world happier, safer and more meaningful. I believe education, knowledge and awareness, art, writing and creating Social Impact are my means to achieve that end.



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Psycho review - spoiler alerts!

Link10th April 2012

Wow, I'm speechless. Another brilliant Hitchcock film and it stood up to all I'd heard about it. I love the good old classic cinema. Besides the absolutely brilliant staging, lighting, color or black and white, there is a ton more to learn from it. I feel like pausing it and soaking everything in. It's becoming harder to watch good films for the story now. Animation makes you so sensitive to framing, continuity, lighting, acting, and all the other 1000 technical aspects of a film. Coming back to Psycho - the story was absolutely gripping. I was at the edge of my chair at all times. There's this thing I noticed Hitchcock does in all his films - he fools you into believing that something is very important (in Psycho, let's say the money she steals in the beginning), and then he just makes you realise that that wasn't important at all! (the money gets drowned in the swamp with her body). He seems to do this a lot in all his movies - he confuses you, misguides you, but all these sub-stories guide you to the bigger picture - and the end unravels everything so beautifully that you're mind puts all the pieces together. It was sheer creative brilliance. Actors of that time were so charming - their dialogue delivery was so grand and theatrical, your ears would pay attention to what they said. It's true - they don't make them like they used to.

Another thing I would really appreciate is the staging. It completely stood out. Every scene was so planned, so crisp - yet it didn't reveal the story completely. Here are some of my favourite screenshots.



Did anyone notice the stuffed birds in the background and foreground, adding to the strange personality of our newly introduced character?


Vertical lines suggesting anxiety, nervousness. The composition guides your eyes towards him.



Amazing lighting, creating so much suspense! As the detective climbs up the staircase we see this door opening very slowly.


More suspense! We see the body of a person in a gown, and we see his/her head, but we can't see the face! Throughout the film, there has only been a suggestion of her.



The almost haunted mansion.




Sharp lines and foreground elements guiding us towards her - almost as if someone is watching her.


Well composed 3 shots and 4 shots. It's not easy to place so many characters in one frame without it looking artificial and staged!


The film ends with the Rule of thirds, with our subject on the golden point. I don't know if all his shots were intentional - maybe all the rules we know are rules based on movies like his that managed to communicate the story so well! :)

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