Psycho

If you watched the arm amputation in 127 Hours through your fingers last year, while your friends simply closed their eyes, you’ll know the scene relied less on gore than sound effects. Like every other director working today, Danny Boyle has learned a trick or two from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 Psycho. As Anthony Perkins, dressed in his mother’s drag, surprises Janet Leigh in the shower with a carving knife, it’s the shrieking soundtrack and meticulous editing that make you believe you’ve seen something you haven’t. The penetration of the blade is never shown, and the rest of the film relies on equally subtle suggestion. The taxidermy birds, beckoning swamp, and curiously empty rooms at the Bates Motel all hint at the proprietor’s unhinged state of mind. If Leigh’s flighty fugitive misses the signs, it may be because she’s preoccupied with own guilt. Hitchcock pairs the two in a weird kind of seduction: She wants to confess, but can’t. He wants to caress, but can’t. There’s so much repression that violence, not sex, is the only release. Movie screens at midnight. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Fri., April 29; Sat., April 30, 2011

 
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