Hitchcock (2012)
Hitchcock (2012)

Genre: Drama Running Time: 1 hr. 38 min.

Release Date: November 23rd, 2012 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Sacha Gervasi Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston, Toni Collette, Jessica Biel, James D’Arcy, Michael Wincott, Michael Stuhlbarg, Kurtwood Smith

 


 

A

predominantly blithe look at a pivotal time in legendary film director Alfred Hitchcock’s life, “Hitchcock” examines both the struggle in making “Psycho” and the behind-the-scenes story of the woman behind the man – Alma Reville. Most closely resembling a romantic comedy, the film’s tone keeps the proceedings consistently entertaining, but this playful nature also prevents intrusion of any serious drama. Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren disappear into their roles more convincingly than most of the other cast, yet there’s enough allure with their depictions to engage anyone familiar with their real life counterparts or the stories of Hitchcock’s creativity in directing and marketing his work. Perhaps the scope isn’t wide enough or the adversities emphasized plenteously enough to offer anything truly profound, but “Hitchcock,” like the renowned director’s movies, rarely delivers a dull moment.

After the success of “North By Northwest,” legendary Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) contemplates the subject of his next picture. Determined to regain the freedom he once felt while making his earlier low-budget films, Hitchcock decides to adapt the book Psycho, based on serial killer Ed Gein’s twisted murder spree. When Paramount Pictures refuses to fund the project, Hitchcock elects to produce the film himself – the first of many obstacles he must overcome in order to complete his beloved venture. He’s not alone in his plight, as his devoted wife Alma Reville (Helen Mirren) stands faithfully beside him through the tumultuous creation of what would become the Master of Suspense’s most successful triumph.

“Hitchcock” is presented with such a tongue-in-cheek light-heartedness, hilariously biting sarcasm, and whimsical dialogue that it’s difficult not to be amused. The orchestration and structuring of the plot, while undeniably simple, processes the information with glee. There’s still time for romance and drama amidst the film historian fascinations, making it a project much better suited for general audiences than last year’s “My Week with Marilyn” and certainly superior to the limited release platform adopted by Fox Searchlight Pictures. Perhaps intentionally ironically, the timid theatrical dispensation mimics the original uphill battle of “Psycho,” with its independent funding, lack of bigwig backing, and stymied advertising allowance.

While Helen Mirren’s performance, along with Hopkin’s unusual adaptation of the Master of Suspense (particularly conspicuous because of the public’s familiarity with his speech and mannerisms) will likely be lauded, it’s the more miniscule role of James D’Arcy’s Anthony Perkins that truly draws the eye. The bigger names and recognizable faces of Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh and Jessica Biel as Vera Miles betray the classic, unforgettable imagery of an iconic shower attack or the unveiling of a partially mummified old woman. Johansson just doesn’t look like Leigh, even if she can adopt the huskier voice. And Miles certainly isn’t as immediately distinguishable by contemporary audiences. D’Arcy, however, devoid of the personal instant Hollywood identity, can much more convincingly dawn the face and persona of Perkins and his most famous role. Fortunately, these actor visuals don’t detract significantly enough from the overall appeal of a relishable relationship, a dream/vision/hallucination concept that splits the narration into two unique angles, and an inside perspective of one of the most influential filmmakers of all time (during the making of his most prominent work).

– The Massie Twins

  • 8/10