Movie Review: HITCHCOCK
Published: November 23, 2012 - 1:15pm
Alfred Hitchcock (or 'Hitch' as he liked being called) was a mysterious man. He led a private life, but not a secretive one. He couldn't, he was a brand and his own PR machine. Much like Stan Lee did for Marvel Comics, Hitch's captivating persona sold his projects to the masses much better than any company run marketing campaign. His most famous film Psycho was picture proof of this principle, but bringing that film to life was a near impossibility. Hitchcock explores the production of this iconic movie and the personal sacrifices the director and his wife Alma Reville went through to make it a reality.
After the praise garnered by his slick thriller North by Northwest, Hitch (Sir Anthony Hopkins) was offered every manner of studio picture. But after reading the gruesome novel 'Psycho,' the story of Norman Bates that inspired by serial killer Ed Gein, he decided to go against the wishes of Paramount Pictures -- whose execs wanted a safe, surefire blockbuster -- and adapt it into a feature. He had to finance the picture himself, and convince many of the talent involved to take a risk in participating in the violent project. His vision of Psycho, if properly brought to the screen, would cause an enormous stir throughout Hollywood. But there was no telling whether that impact would be positive, and Hitch can't seem to shake the feeling he may have another box office failure on his hands much like Vertigo. Budget constraints, sickness and clashes with both the studio and the MPAA (who didn't want the film to be released at all) show the labor of love that Psycho was.
This off-kilter story gives Reville, played wonderfully by Helen Mirren, her due. Unless you are a prudent film buff or aggressive Hitchcock fan you may never have heard her name before, but she was instrumental to the production of his films. Even though she was his go-to editor, script polisher and the only critical voice he ever paid real attention to, she couldn't escape living in Hitchcock's shadow. It's doubtful anyone could. But at least now, fans new and old of the master of suspense are given the chance to learn about the most important Hitchock Blonde and how she helped steer his success.
Bookended by none other than Hopkins' Hitchcock, what we're given is a film within a film that doesn't hide the fact it's a dramatization. None of the actors attempt to impersonate their real life counterparts, instead opting to pay homage without cheeky mimicry. This makes their performances so much more endearing and memorable, particularly James D'Arcy's rendition of Anthony Perkins (known most for playing Norman Bates).
Touching in all the right places and dark when it needs to be, Hitchcock is full of wit and devilish fun thanks to the playful nuance of director Sacha Gervasi. It's a heartfelt approach that artfully humanizes the larger than life director and his wife while not removing any of their self-derived mystery. Composer Danny Elfman provides a charming score that sneakily intertwines with tunes from Hitchcock's classic films. This is a quaint and endearing story about filmmaking and family, and how we never stop learning how to appreciate both.
Hitchcock, directed by Sacha Gervasi (Anvil! The Story of Anvil) off a script by Black Swan scribe John McLaughlin, stars Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock, Helen Mirren as Alma Reville, Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, Jessica Biel as Vera Miles and James D'Arcy as Anthony Perkins as well as Toni Collette, Danny Huston, Michael Stuhlbarg and Kurtwood Smith. Fox Searchlight has scheduled the film for theatrical release beginning November 23rd, 2012.
Hitchcock is a love story about one of the most influential filmmakers of the last century, Alfred Hitchcock and his wife and partner Alma Reville. The film takes place during the making of Hitchcock’s seminal movie Psycho.