(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.
It's a nearly shot for shot remake of a classic, do I really need to explain why this sucks? None of these actors hold a candle to the original cast. Also, shot for shot basically means no actual creative effort was put into it, if you're going to remake something at least do something different with it.
Hate it for whatever reason you may like, but the truth is that I can't seem to fully hate a movie that is so similiar (apart from the obvious modernization) to its source material, which I adore. I do think it was unnecessary, mainly because it often seemed very mechanic (maybe because it was trying to stay "true" to the original or perhaps because it just wanted to be a colorized version).
Tout le monde reconnaitra le scénario du chef-d'oeuvre classique d'Alfred Hitchcock, version 1998, qu'on pourrait bien sûr appréhender comme un fervent hommage, mais qu'il faudrait plutôt voir comme un accaparement froid et radical de l'oeuvre, dans de mercantiles visées économiques... www.cinefiches.com
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.
Interesting as an artistic experiment, perhaps more intriguing for those who know the original. But as a film itself, it doesn't of course (but then, why 'of course"?) have the strength of Hitchcock's original. The end result is nonetheless very odd and uneasy. No longer just a film to watch but a very captivating exercice de style. (But Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates...)
Making a shot-for-shot-remake is sure to draw ire but it is honest at least. In a day and age filled with reboots and reimaginings this almost felt fresh. There´s no pretending to improve, alter, add or leave out things. Just a remake in every sense of the word. And it's not badly made. An interesting experience.
I will give Van Sant credit in that this movie is a valuable example of why shot-for-shot remakes A: don't work, and B: must never be done again. Otherwise, this is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. The tone/direction is completely flat/wrong, everyone -Macy excepted- is completely miscast (see: Vince Vaughn) and the added shots are offensive & pretentious. Van Sant did prove one thing: he ain't Hitchcock.