A love story between influential filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and wife Alma Reville during the filming of Psycho in 1959.
Director: Sacha Gervasi
Writers: John J. McLaughlin (screenplay), Stephen Rebello (book)
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, James D’Arcy
I was pleasantly surprised to receive a copy of “Hitchcock” seeing as though it is still a good bit away from being released to the masses. Being a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock’s body of work, my favorite will always be “Psycho”, so I became quickly excited when I found that to be the premise of the film.
Alfred Hitchcock was a tortured soul of sorts and while his career was brilliant even before the making of “Psycho”, the ensuing story as depicted in “Hitchcock” shows us a glimpse of what the man himself had to endure during everyday life. What seemed like something as simple as creating the film which would become so influential to horror was not easy by any means. The film was self-financed after people who knew too much for their own good did not think that it would be a good investment, but we all know that “Psycho” became a cinematic benchmark and a masterpiece of suggestive horror.
Directed by Sacha Gervasi, who brought us the brilliant “Anvil! The Story of Anvil” and written by John J. McLaughlin (“Black Swan”), “Hitchcock” is a tale that was done so good for the most part, but is lacking so much to make it the substantial release that I was hoping it would be. The story itself is based on based on a Stephen Rebello book about the making of “Psycho.”
On the positive side, the acting was brilliant led by Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock himself. It seemed like an obvious choice and the assumption paid off very well. Some other parts of the cast was also up to par with Hopkins though. Scarlett Johansson is brilliant with her portrayal of bombshell Janet Leigh, although she is heads above Leigh in the looks department. James D’Arcy played a nice role as Anthony Perkins, but we almost forget that he was in “Psycho” since he is barely in the film. The astounding Jessica Biel as Vera Miles was another standout. Once again, Biel is as stunning as they come. Helen Mirren as Alma Reville was as confident and crucial to this film as she was to the legendary director himself.
The film begins with a deep question posed to Hitchcock an impudent reporter asks the director, “You’re 60 years old. Shouldn’t you just quit while you’re ahead?” He was fresh from the triumph of “North by Northwest,” but he was not one to rest on his laurels. This simple question offered a glimpse into Hitchcock’s inner psyche and, from that point forward, we are immersed into Hitchcock’s world.
On the negative side of the film, “Hitchcock” barely scratches the surface of the man himself. Some of his personality traits were barely touched in the film – voyeurism, obsession with blonde women, etc. A lot of elements of his life that were very important were merely hinted at or completely ignored.
Honestly, I could go on an on about my opinion of the good and the bad of “Hitchcock,” but you really need to see the film for yourself and make your own judgements on it.