Hi, Bryan Here….
One of the most prolific and well respected directors of all time, Alfred Hitchcock, is once again in the spotlight more than 30 years after his death. Alfred Hitchcock has been the centerpiece for two projects as of recent. The first being HBO’s ‘The Girl’ and now the feature film ‘Hitchcock’. Whereas HBO’s ‘The Girl’ follows Hitchcock’s film ‘The Birds’, ‘Hitchcock’ centers around ‘Psycho’. I can safely say that ‘Hitchcock’ is one of my favorite films of the year and Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren both deserve awards for their portrayals of Mr. and Mrs. Hitchcock.
Not only do we see the conception and execution of Hitchcock’s most famous film ‘Psycho’ play out, but we get a bizarre and creepy look at Hitchcock’s (Hopkins) fascination and obsession with blonde actresses. Above that though, we do get a glimpse at a heartwarming relationship between him and his wife, Alma (Mirren). First time director Sacha Gervasi did an impeccable job bringing Hitchock back to life and his unorthodox ways of filmmaking and personal life.
Writer John J. McLaughlin (Black Swan) worked very well with Gervasi in that they made an interesting and very original narrative involving a real life human being. Much like the creepiness of ‘Black Swan’, we see a very disturbing image of Hitchcock as he has hallucinations of himself and serial killer Ed Gein (Psycho was based on Ed Gein) talking and figuring out how to kill and get away with it. It’s as almost as Hitchcock himself wants to be a part of this life. Not too mention his emotions are thrown out of whack due to his wife Alma seeing Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston) on the side to flirt and write a screenplay.
The relationship between Hitchcock and Gein in the film is very strange and very unnerving. With words like “You can’t keep this stuff bottled up,” you have no idea where Hitchcock is headed and what he is capable of. However, through these hallucinations and news reports of Gein’s grisly murders, Hitchcock found his new and fresh creativity, which over the last 50 years have thrilled and entertained all of us.
We follow Hitchcock or as he’s known in the film as “Hitch”, looking to make a new film, but does not like the projects he is being offered or any of his current ideas really. His last success was ‘North by Northwest’ and he is still reeling it in from that, but he wants a genre switch, something that hasn’t or he hasn’t done.
When he finds out about Ed Gein, he gets the idea for ‘Pyscho’ and immediately starts to write with the help of his wife the film. Both Alma and the studio execs are not buying this project and think it is schlocky horror type stuff. Not one studio will give him money to make it, so Hitchock, believing this will be a huge success, makes a deal to finance the picture himself. A picture that is budgeted for $800,000. The studio execs agree to distribute the picture on that deal. Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Hitchcock literally bet the house and everything they own on this film.
But what is so amazing about this particular story is the relationship between Hitch and Alma. At times, I thought that their marriage was a sham with both spouses not interested in one another, and at other times, i felt that they were the perfect match. And they really are. You see , Hitch finally learned that his obsession with the blonde actresses he cast in his films were a mere fantasy and once up close were not what he wanted. Even when he cast Janet Leigh (Scartlett Johansson) in ‘Psycho’, he realized that the fun blonde stereotype was not all that it seemed. And it was also great to see Hitch’s relationship with Vera Miles (Jessica Biel), whom Hitch never understood why she “left” him (turned down his movie offers) to start a family.
One thing is for sure though, everyone respected Hitchcock and his work and methods. They knew he was a genius. And after Alma and Hitch finally realized their faults and false fantasies, their relationship truly sprouts and they finally work together. This is such a great film, I can’t stress that enough.
Hopkins and Mirren are incredible in this film. The quirks, expressions, and minute details those actors brought to the screen made these two people really come back to life. It was unbelievable. Biel and Johansson’s performances were also amazing. It was so much fun to watch the famous shower scene in Psycho being made and what Hitchcock did to get that Leigh’s reaction. Also, James D’Arcy’s portrayal of Anthony Perkins is amazing. D’Arcy really pulled out all of the eerie characteristics of the late actor to a tee. And Toni Collette plays Peggy Robertson, Hitchcock’s right hand woman at his production office. Though she is not in the film a lot, she gives a great performance, a performance I wanted more of.
‘Hitchcock’ receives mu highest recommendation. The story, writing, acting, and directing are all flawless. This was a great film chronicling the short span of one of the greatest directors of all time’s life. Immediately after viewing this film, I went home and watched ‘Psycho’ and enjoyed it even more than I have over the years. This is a must-see movie.