Mummy's boy is Psychotically good

DISTURBING: Norman Bates (played by Freddie Highmore) and mother Norma (Vera Farmiga) have a peculiar relationship.


    May 31, 2013

    Mummy's boy is Psychotically good


    Wednesdays, 10.50pm

    Universal Channel (StarHub Ch 512)

    Rating: 4/5

    THE polite, fresh-faced little orphan from the 2005 movie adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic Charlie And The Chocolate Factory has grown up to become one of the silver screen's most terrifying killers.

    Young British actor Freddie Highmore, who starred as the titular character in the Tim Burton flick, plays none other than Norman Bates in his latest television outing, Bates Motel.

    Bates - originally a character in Robert Bloch's 1959 novel - was the infamous shower-slasher with "mummy issues" in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960).

    Here, we see Highmore, 21, as a lanky, teenage Norman in the prequel to that cinematic landmark. He's got the socially-awkward, vulnerable-outsider thing down pat.

    But the real draw is in his peculiar relationship with "mummy dearest", Norma Bates, played by Oscar-nominated actress Vera Farmiga (Up In The Air).

    Farmiga, 39, does an artfully-nuanced portrayal of Mama Bates, who has a sinister side that cannot, and will not, be ignored.

    She's possessive over her son in an insidious way, from her refusal to let him interact with girls his own age, to the way she kisses him good night. It's almost uncomfortable to watch.

    In the pilot episode, Norman tells Norma: "Mum, you're everything, everything to me. And I don't ever want to live in a world without's like there's a cord between our hearts."

    Umm, how sweet? More like creepy.

    Though there are plenty of subplots to keep viewers hooked, it is this central relationship that is likely to carry the show.

    Let's just say Freud would have a field day with this one.