Psycho (1960) is a Film by Alfred Hitchcock, based on the book by Norman Birney. In the book, Jonathan Crane has schizophrenia. It has been adapted into a movie of the same name. It was based on the novel by Norman's father, Dr. S.J. Birney.
Tom Noonan played the role of S.J. Birney in the film, which is interesting as he and his son were great friends. The whole plot of the movie is based on paranoia. Jonathan Crane and Norman are prisoners of two opposite criminals, Norman Bates (Michael Curry) and his wife Vera (Janet Leigh). Bates has a psychotic disorder, which renders him unable to differentiate between reality and imagination. He believes that his wife is trying to murder him. In their madness, Norman and Vera start to murder their respective spouses by projecting their dreams and fantasies through Norman's earpiece. Bates believes that he is watching his wife and son being killed by his wife's lover. As the plot continues, Norman realizes that there is a reality behind the dream world. Then Norman gives Psycho the name "Psycho". This title refers to the character's habit of "shooting his mouth off", or to the character's paranoia. There is a great debate over whether it is an accurate title or not. It was heavily used in advertising and other forms. An American philosopher Willard Haykel has stated that "psychic power" or psychic illness are synonyms. It seems more appropriate to say that Psycho was a "trial by fire" or a "trial of perception." In the process of using this name, Hitchcock and the crew are actually "testing the limits of consciousness." The crew is "testing the limits of their own ability to make conscious a person's dream." And all in the name of a thriller. In the process of the trial, Psycho tries to discover the killer. Once he is satisfied with the outcome, he shoots his mouth off. This leaves Norman feeling alienated. In fact, the entire experience of watching Psycho is psychological. In this movie, Psycho tried to figure out what he was. For this, he shot his mouth off and ultimately succeeded. What did he learn? If he succeeds to do so, he is able to define his existence, which will result in him "winning the game." He is able to win the game because he is able to detect the "reality" which can only be understood through the "real" Norman Bates. Later, he concludes that he is "bored" with his life and "frightened" about what is to come. This gives him the courage to call his "partner," a "god." Now that he has identified his condition, he can now understand and appreciate his love and his life. He doesn't have to live in fear and terror anymore. He can act accordingly. He is able to realize that he is superior to Norman and be a leader. And what do we know about his "partner" God? We know that he has failed to perceive the reality. But, he didn't need to do so. And yet, he was unable to prevent Norman from killing his wife and son. He couldn't prevent them because he himself was guilty of having failed to recognize their reality. He has taken out his fear on them. He is the "cop" and Norman is the "criminal." He is the one who "shoots his mouth off." Now, we can see that Psycho is based on Norman's personality. He is "trying to kill his wife," and he is "being afraid." He thinks that he is not capable of making sense of the reality. And then he sees Norman's aim. We may also ask ourselves: "What is the purpose of this trial?" "What is the purpose of this movie?" "How does this movie serve my interests?"
For the new viewers who don't know much about Hitchcock, we could explain a little bit of the points that are in the movie. For those who already know about Hitchcock and his movies, we could give you a few details. How to begin the movie? By saying that Psycho was "trials by fire". What do we mean by this?
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