Director: Sacha Gervasi
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren & Scarlett Johansson
Alma Reville: Oh, Hitch. I've waited thirty years to hear you say that.
Alfred Hitchcock: That, my dear, is why they call me the Master of Suspense.
I have been anticipating 'Hitchcock' for the longest of times. There is only one man I admire more than Alfred Hitchcock and there are only two films I love more than 'Psycho' so I was thrilled that there was a film being created that is dedicated to Mr Hitchcock and the creation of his Masterpiece.My excitement withstood many average reviews as I was so hopeful that this film would be something special, unfortunately I was wrong.
After the release of 'North by Northwest', the most renowned filmmaker on the planet, Alfred Hitchcock, is searching for a new project. He comes across a little book known as 'Psycho' and despite being told by everyone that the project will fail, he is dedicated to its creation, but is in desperate need of help from his devoted wife,Alma Reville.
I was bitterly disappointed in 'Hitchcock' and it pains me so much to say that. After viewing the film I have to ask the question, what was the point ? The film is too short and unfocussed to be a serious character study of a genius. It plods along and never really fully invests itself into any aspect of Hitchcock other than his marriage. The characterization of Hitch seemed all wrong and is a world away from the man I have spent countless hours studying and researching in my leisure. The film doesn't really do 'Psycho' much justice in my opinion, it never really captures what a cinematic landmark the film is, the film's creation is basically used as an allegory too divulge into the working and personal relationship of Hitch and Alma, I personally would have liked a little more focus on the film aspect.
Despite its shortcomings, there were a few things I enjoyed about 'Hitchcock' thus the 2.5 rating, which seems to honestly be overrating the film the more I think about it. Possibly my favorite aspect of the entire film, was the use of Ed Gein and the way in which he almost an imaginary friend to Hitch. When I first discovered they would actually be depicting Gein, I was curious as to how they would be doing so. Needless say I didn't expect it like this, but am very glad they went down this road as it worked wonders. I enjoyed the little nods to Hitch's other works and collaborators, especially that cute little reference to 'The Birds' at the end.
While last years HBO TV film 'The Girl' portrayed as a molesting monster, 'Hitchcock' portrays him as somewhat of a misunderstood sole. I may be an avid Hitchcock admirer but I am not completely neglectful to the rumors of his seediness. This film seems to portray him in more of a positive light and only touches on his perverted ways. I am really hoping for a definitive Hitchcock biopic that is able to strike the middle ground between the character portrayed in 'The Girl' and 'Hitchcock'.
The film features a very good cast but unfortunately under utilizes almost everyone on screen. After being a little iffy on the bits of Anthony Hopkins' performance I saw in the trailer, I can now say that I did not enjoy him in this film. His performance was so incredibly over the top and cartoonish that I never really took him seriously. Also his look is ridiculous and I never felt like I was Hitchcock on the screen, A very disappointing showing by Hopkins and I hope he doesn't receive that Oscar nomination. His onscreen companion though, Helen Mirren, is marvelous as Alma Reville, a truly great performance from Mirren who brings so much heart and wit to the role and does a perfect job portraying Alma who was such a vital part to Hitchcock's success. Nobody else really gets much screen time but they are all fine, If there is anyone that could portray the perfect Janet Leigh, it is Scarlett Johansson and she does a very fine job. I also really like Jessica Biel and she is good as Vera Miles. Toni Collette is one of the finest actresses working today, so it was another bitter disappointment to see her so under utilized here. Danny Huston is irritating as per usual and Michael Wincott is very good as Ed Gein. Possibly the stand out of the entire cast is James D'Arcy playing Athony Perkins. It was very important to me that anyone who played Perkins do a fantastic job, just like Perkins himself did in 'Psycho', D'Arcy nails it and gives the performance Vince Vaughn wishes he could.
While it featured some good aspects, 'Hitchcock' will always stand out as a disappointment to me. As I stated above I was so excited for this film and couldn't help but feel let down by the vagueness of it all. The one thing the film gets right is that it displays how vital Alma was to Hitch's success. Overall, the film is made at arms length as the creators are never willing to get to the bottom of the crazed genius that is Alfred Hitchcock.