Review: HITCHCOCK

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

At its very heart and core, Hitchcock does not really offer audiences a story and plot dynamically different from most relationship stories and that’s okay.  In this case, it actually is quite refreshing to see a more human and vulnerable side to the legendary “Master of Suspense”.  The man may have been a genius filmmaker, but like most people, he had his personal issues and problems and had to work hard with his wife Alma to maintain a loving marriage.  Surrounding the relationship with the making of one of the most iconic films of movie history just adds the icing to this already delicious cinematic treat which should appease the sweet teeth of most movie aficionados.

Director Sasha Gervasi (Anvil: The Story of Anvil) and screenwriter John J McLaughlin dish up the goods on the making of Psycho and the important role Hitch’s wife Alma Reville plays in his life and career.  Following the successes his previous films North by Northwest, Rear Window, To Catch a Thief and several others, Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) feels the need to take on a different and challenging film project.  After reading the novel Psycho by Robert Bloch, Hitchcock approaches Paramount Pictures wanting to adapt it for the big screen. Denied funding, he takes a huge risk and proceeds to pay for the film production himself.  During the making of this, soon to be legendary, motion picture, the financial risks, burdens, and the director’s adamancy not only threaten his career, but also put his relationship with his wife Alma (Helen Mirren) in jeopardy.

With a magnificent script by McLaughlin, gorgeous direction by Gervasi and mostly stellar performances by the cast, Hitchcock truly is a movie geek’s dream of a film.  Fans of Alfred Hitchcock and his films will marvel how cast and crew recreate these real life characters and scenarios that have been watched countless times.  Fans will also enjoy seeing the dramatized version of Hitch’s almost insane creative process and get a greater appreciation for the real people behind the legends.

The fine cast assembled for this movie should be applauded for this accomplishment as well.  Helen Mirren, as usual, offers a superb performance as Alma Reville.  As the cast of Psycho, Scarlett Johansson (Janet Leigh), Jessica Biel (Vera Miles) and James D’Arcy (Anthony Perkins) not only look like their real life counterparts, but perform excellently in their roles.  Johansson, in particular, captures that soft spoken sweetness of Janet Leigh/Marion Crane.   As the main man of the title, Sir Anthony Hopkins offers a descent performance as Hitchcock, but often appears to be trying too hard to get his speech patterns down.  This doesn’t happen often enough to distract, but it does happen and this really is the only weakness I could find with the movie.

The gorgeous cinematography by Jeff Cronenweth (The Social Network, Fight Club) and the meticulous care to recreate the sets, costumes, and the look of that era should also be recognized.  Production designer Judy Becker, art director Alexander Wei, set decorator Robert Gould and costume designer Julie Weiss all deserve standing ovations for assisting director Gervasi in recreating this early 1960s era, thus allowing audiences to be transported to this time.

At this point, it should probably go without saying that I highly recommend this film.  I think that it probably won’t be quite the box office success as some of the other releases this holiday season; therefore, I must encourage people to spend their money on a full priced ticket as this movie rightfully deserves it.

 

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