Sunday 5 November 2023

Movie Review: Peeping Tom (1960)

Genre: Psychological Suspense Crime Horror
Director: Michael Powell
Starring: Carl Boehm, Anna Massey, Moira Shearer, Maxine Audley 
Running Time: 101 minutes

Synopsis: In London, Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm) is an awkward young man obsessed with filming the final horrified expressions of women at the moment he murders them. He then watches the movies for his own pleasure. Perpetually attached to his camera, he holds a job as a movie production assistant while on the side he secretly photographs models for pornography publications. His neighbour Helen (Anna Massey) in unaware of Mark's dark side and reaches out to start a friendship, but her blind mother (Maxine Audley) senses danger.

What Works Well: A Hitchcockian predecessor to Psycho, Peeping Tom exists at the intersection of voyeurism, fear, and death. Director Michael Powell and writer Leo Marks delve deep into the dark and troubled psyche of a loner traumatized by a childhood where his renowned scientist father perpetually subjected him to sudden fear on camera. Expositive conversations with Helen and then her mother reveal the faulty wiring in Mark's mind connecting camera recordings to excitable dread. The point-of-view murder scenes implicate the viewer into Mark's ordeal, and Powell conjures some wickedly clever scene transitions. Carl Boehm is perfectly unsettling as the quietly unhinged killer.
What Does Not Work As Well: The pacing is slow and deliberate, emphasizing psychology over momentum, while the police crime investigative elements are an afterthought.

Conclusion: A uniquely tuned exploration of criminal mind complexities.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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