Bates Mo­tel

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Sun­day, 8.30pm, Fox8 Bates Mo­tel is a pre­quel of sorts to the 1960 film Psy­cho, Al­fred Hitch­cock’s sem­i­nal mas­ter­piece of sus­pense. In the man­ner of other re­cent re-imag­in­ings for tele­vi­sion, such as Went­worth, based on the old Pris­oner se­ries, and Hannibal, based on the film The Si­lence of the Lambs, the story pre­cedes events in the orig­i­nal ma­te­rial but is set in the present. Bates Mo­tel there­fore brings us Hitch­cock’s shad­owy vil­lain, Nor­man Bates, as a fresh-faced but trou­bled teen, with fin­gers fly­ing on his mo­bile phone. Played with a beau­ti­ful mix­ture of in­no­cence and pre­or­dained doom by Fred­die High­more ( Find­ing Nev­er­land, The Golden Com­pass), Nor­man is a boy di­vided be­tween furious loy­alty to his semi-de­ranged mother and the de­sire to break free. Fol­low­ing the mys­te­ri­ous death of his fa­ther, which cu­ri­ously seems not to bother his mother, Norma (Vera Farmiga), mother and son buy a run-down old mo­tel in a new town to make a fresh start. While Nor­man is po­lite and even at­trac­tive to girls at his new school, he clearly has a mummy prob­lem. Con­fi­dent and em­pow­ered, Norma is nev­er­the­less al­ready well on her way around the bend. Shock­ing events in this de­but episode mean the two must col­lude on the dis­posal of a body and steel it out with lo­cal po­lice.

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