(Review originally written at 26 December 2005)

After "Peeping Tom", three time Acedemy Award nominee Michael Powell's career pretty much died. It was slated by the critics mainly because of its controversial story and way of storytelling. In many ways "Peeping Tom" was a movie that was ahead of its time and certainly an unique and one of kind for its time. That, at the same time, was the reason for the downfall of director Michael Powell. Now more than 40 years later, we look at this movie differently. It's hard to imaging these days that this movie once was regarded controversial. It certainly is a dark and creepy movie with a macabre undertone but those are things which are regarded as positive things present day. When one looks at this movie now, he or she has to come to the conclusion that "Peeping Tom" is a magnificent constructed movie, with a great story and a great fleshed out main character/psychopath/serial killer, who has been given an humane face and personality in the movie. He might not be as 'chilling' as Norman Bates but he is memorable and realistic nevertheless. "Peeping Tom" certainly is one of the best thrillers ever made.

The concept of the movie is just great and even better executed. The movie has a perfect atmosphere and the tension is in some of the scene's build up extremely well. There are some unforgettable early 'thriller elements'. One of the few things which indicates how "Peeping Tom" was a movie ahead of its time. The movie feels realistic and it takes its time to tell the story and to build up the right mood. The ending of the movie is especially memorable and works very powerful.

Another reason why this movie works extremely well as a thriller is because of the main character, who is portrayed very humane and one can easily understand his character and what drives him to his actions. It's a character we understand and perhaps even feel and sympathize for.

Sure the movie does have its weaker points, such as the acting that is just below average at times to be perfectly honest. Also some of the plot elements of the movie are not developed well enough, such as the sequences with the investigations and the detectives. They could had done some more with this and it feels a bit unsatisfying and like a missed opportunity. Tiny things like this prevent me from rating this movie a perfect 10 out of 10.

All in all this is a brilliant thriller that was in many ways ahead of its time and is quite honestly one of the best constructed thrillers I have ever seen. The movie shows a similar style to that of some early Alfred Hitchcock movies and Brian De Palma thrillers. So far this is the first and only Michael Powell movie I have seen but judging but this movie and its style, I already know that I will become a big fan of him and his other movies. For fans of the thriller genre this is an important movie and an absolute must see! Also when you're a fan of Hitchcock's and De Palma's work this is a movie for you to see.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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