A remake of the 1960 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Although this version is in color, features a different cast, and has been set in a contemporary timeframe, it is closer to a shot-for-shot remake than most remakes, often copying Hitchcock’s camera movements and editing.
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(2) As a concept this appealed to me, to remake a film shot for shot as an experiment, but in practice Hitchcock’s original proved too iconic to allow me to view this fairly on it's own merits, rendering it just an interesting companion piece. Not as bad as some say though.
Whilst a near play-by-play of Hitchcock's 1960s original might have been unnecessary, this is a fascinating learning experience for Van Sant as a director, who deduced that the soul of the filmmaker will still emanate instinctively no matter what degree of imitation with regards to the original, is at play.
"Desire" list. The most risky Van Sant's- leaving aside some of his biographical shorts- that got a most intoxicating way in its start- as Hitchcock's homonymous film- is also the film that finally delivers to gallant Viggo Mortensen, before Cronenberg's "History of Violence", a role that highlight's him in the world of contemporary men. As with vicious Vince Vaughn, of whom this film constitutes his only exception.
Piss & moan about this movie to your heart's content, but I like it if for no other reason than the fact that it mostly sticks to the original script. Gus Van Sant's version of Psycho is Warholized dinner theater which works if you don't look at it like every other remake or take it too seriously. Admittedly, its badly dated (for the casting of Vaughn, Heche and Julianne Moore's wardrobe alone) but its a fun effort.