To fans, admirers he is Alfred Hitchcock but to his friends, colleagues to them you called him ‘Hitch’ hold the cock. Based on Stephen Rebello’s Alfred Hitchcock And The Making Of Psycho, Sacha Gervasi’s Hitchcock attempts to deliver the master of suspense at crossroads whilst creating his horror masterpiece Psycho. A film that has a rare insight into the relationship with the only woman to steal his heart and most of all his confidant, his co-collaborator Alma Reville (Helen Mirren) his wife.
Hitchcock starts at the premier of the 1959 North By Northwest, Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) is unnerved by a reporter who questions his ability at 60 to still produce the goods. With a new wave of filmmakers emerging could he still handle the pressure? Why not quit when he’s ahead? Determined not to be pigeonholed and not to become ‘television show’ Hitchcock searches high and low for that piece of magic to recapture his past glories delivering something fresh most of all something different.
It is thanks to the discovery of Robert Bloch’s dark twisted Psycho Hitch finds himself a magical source, a novel based on the life of the infamous serial killer Ed Gein , but who’ll support him?As ever Hitchcock‘s faithful agent Lew Wasserman but his support ended here as Paramount, the usual private investors all refused to support him forcing him to find the $800,000 needed to make the film in 30 days.
It’s ironic you look at the relationship cinema has with Television now, the stigma of the reporter’s TV comment wouldn’t raise an eyebrow when you see the likes of Steven Soderbergh’s Behind The Candelabra only getting a TV S creening compared to cinema elsewhere. Even the likes of online with Netflix, Lovefilm, seeing someone like JJ Abrams, David Fincher direct tv amongst the cinema blockbusters wouldn’t have been thought of in Hitch’s time and nowadays the stress, the pressure between the media are virtually the same.
Hitchcock is a film that really doesn’t know what it really wants to be. Is it a Biopic? Soap style drama or comedy?If anything at times it’s more like an extended Terry & June episode plenty of drama with a lot of comedy moments or was director Sacha Gervasi pulling off a McGuffin? What this film does do is capture a period of Hitch’s career (Psycho era) rather than all his career and attempts to underline his fascination with Ed Gein. Hitchcock may not be a dark film tonely but it dips its fingers into that world nearly controlling his every move blurring reality driving him into paranoia making him believe his nearest and dearest was having an affair though we do see she was tempted on several occasions.
Anthony Hopkins may sound like the man nor a carbon copy lookalike of Hitchcock but what he does do well is capturing his personality, mannerisms, posture even his humour is near spot on too. The lack of delving into his past will frustrate some, even when they do in the briefest of moments to showcase his childlike, creepy voyeuristic tendancies is disappointing. In those scenes his fascination for blondes is touched going further into watching them from his peephole, a regular trait but not addressing the source which will annoy, those thinking this is a ‘biopic’.
Helen Mirren is personally the star of the show as Hitchcock‘s long suffering wife Alama. She is Hitch’s rock, confidant, mother to his childlike traits most of all the driving force behind 99.9% her husband’s success. Unaccredited but most of all deserving of the right to share in her husband’s success which the film tries to attempt to fix, sort off. The fantastic chemistry between Hopkins and Mirren is one of the film’s big selling points, compelling, funny and a distraction (in a positive way) as Hitchcock’s family estate refused to show any of Psycho footage. This is also probably the reason why we see very little of James D’arcy who uncannily looks like an Anthony Perkins spitting image, Scarlett Johansson delivers a good astute performance as leading lady Janet Leigh.
Hitchcock may not be the perfect film nor totally satisfy the purists. At times it feels clumsy as if your been pulled in 2 different directions, so when it veneers one way just as the scene nears a conclusion it heads into something new making scenes feel incomplete. As much as we’ve criticised the film, Hitchcock is still a highly entertaining film which captures the era very well, creating a stylish film. So when you have Hitch ‘conducting’ the screams of the people at the Psycho premiere from behind the cinema doors, it’s certainly worth a look.
| Paul Devine
Biography, Drama | UK, 2012 | 15 | 17th June 2013 (UK) | 20th Century Fox Pictures UK | Dir. Sacha Gervasi |Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston |Buy: DVD / Blu-ray (+ UV Copy)
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