Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hitchcock: Movie Review


Finding the intersection between romance, comedy and horror in a Hitchcock biopic.

“Hitchcock” is a mix between a Hitchcockian thriller, a comedy, a biopic, and a romantic drama. And I’m pretty sure that explains the negative reactions to the film. I agree that it’s a strange mix but it works with what they are going for. Wanting to focus on the marriage between Alma Reville and Alfred Hitchcock, a romantic biopic can be dry, so staying true to the spirit of the legendary director, the film throws in some wry humour and frames it all with the tone of a thriller. 2012

Directed by: Sacha Gervasi

Screenplay by: John J. McLaughlin
Based on the book by Stephen Rebello

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson and Toni Collette

It’s 1950 and Alfred Hitchcock wants to make “Pyscho”. Studios are wary, his wife is losing patience, and the battle to get it made could be worse than the subject matter. His long-time actress, Vera Miles (Jessica Biel), is being relegated to supporting status and isn’t happy about the lack of respect from Hitchcock. Meanwhile, Hitchcock is ready to cast his new film and is going to turn Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johnasson) into a star. One would assume his wife would feel maligned from that, but she’s off trying to forge her own career with screenwriter Whitfield Cook who Hitchcock thinks is a hack.

The film’s main purpose appears to just be entertaining. Which is all good, but the rather poor reception is because it could have used some depth into the interesting inner-workings of Hitchcock. At times it comes off as a superficial caricature but the man was a legend because there was so much more to him. Anthony Hopkins appeared to be exactly like Hitchcock both physically and linguistically. He got his sly and comedic mannerisms and phrasing perfect. Which fits the entertaining and humorous frame for the picture.

Personally, I think director Sacha Gervasi used the right cues to make it feel like a Hitchcockian thriller. Throwing in references of his desire for the gruesome, throwing in references to “The Birds”, and making us think there might be a wicked twist coming. The twist is just that “Hitchock” could be just a comedy — the material is ripe for that.