BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
JULY 9, 2010
“Peacock” is a modern day Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” Cillian Murphy plays bank boy, John Skillpa. On the first appearance, he looks like an ordinary guy, but within minutes of the film’s beginning you find out that there is more than meets the eye at the Skillpa residence.
Emma Skillpa, on the other hand, is unknown to anyone in the town of Peacock. Not until a train crashes through the backyard fence of the Skillpa‘s, does anyone in the town become aware of Emma. What occurs following the incident is a battle of wills between the willingness of Emma and the unrelenting stopping of change by John.
Cillian Murphy has a tough job in the film of multiple portrayals, but turns each character off and on like a light switch. Reminded of an Anthony Perkins performance as Norman Bates, Cillian Murphy hones in on the same attributes that made the original “Psycho” so memorable.
Susan Sarandon plays the governor’s wife, whose arrogance and high-end society-ness only fuels the friction between Emma & John. The only part of the film I could have done without was Ellen Page. Page, to me, was not the actress to play a whore/mother, neither of which she portrays effectively.
Peacock has a simple, yet twisted story, set in an old-time, small-town feel, which writer/director Michael Lander works effectively. Though it is somewhat far-fetched that the simple folks of Peacock cannot tell the difference between the shocking revelations in the Skillpa household, I for one am simply reminded of Norman Bates and his “a boys best friend is his mother” mantra. On a straight-to-DVD release, do not miss this fresh new take on a Hitchcock classic.
April 20, 2010
(for disturbing thematic material and a scene of violence)
Jeffrey M. Werner