Writer: Neroshah NairWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Psycho”, “The Aviator” & “The Shining”
If you have never heard of the name Hitchcock, then it's wise to consider giving this movie a pass. However, if you are looking for a film focusing on real characters with depth and inner desires, then read on. For fans of Alfred Hitchcock and classic Hollywood horror films, you are in for an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the dramas on and off the set of his most popular film; "Psycho".
In the opening scene, Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) introduces himself while sipping a cup of tea ominously after witnessing a man crushing another man's skull with a shovel, the real murder which Robert Bloch's novel, "Psycho" is based on. Within 20 seconds of the film, audiences are taken to his sadistic humour and playfulness.
Director Sacha Gervasi then launches us into 1959, at the premiere of Hitchcock's successful film, "North by Northwest". The pompous Hitchcock is appalled by critics who constantly seek new suspense filmmakers and grows weary of the predictable plot demands from production houses. Here is a pruning sixty-year-old man eager to reclaim the artistic excitement and boldness of youth. He yearns to stay in the limelight forever as the Master of Suspense.
Besotted by the heinous crimes of serial killer, Ed Gein, in "Psycho", Hitchcock precedes to self-finance his film production after being turned down by studio heads for its innovative plot and nudity. Despite their fraying marriage, his wife and artistic collaborator, Alma Reville (Helen Mirren) stands by his side yet some times wonders off to the beach to work with their nifty writer friend, Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston).
The film goes on to explore their relationship struggles given his obsession with his blonde female leads especially one with the likes of Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson) which can prove to be difficult to restrain. As the film advances, the plot grows dreary. Scenes where Hitchcock speaks to an imaginary Ed Gein offers suspense, but doesn't follow through, only disrupting the flow of the story.
It is still interesting to watch Hitchcock unveil his growing sadistic impulses and acting upon those desires through characters in his films. Filled with jealously and betrayal by his most precious leading lady, his wife, of an affair, "Hitchcock" also unleashes one of the best known scenes of classic cinema history, the vicious murder shower scene with Miss Leigh.
Anthony Hopkins embodies a mildly sinister and witty Alfred Hitchcock perfectly with the help of a sizeable sagging chunk of prosthetic jowls. Every little detail to the way he pursed his lips and kept his chin slightly lifted arrogantly, brings the aura of the great filmmaker to the big screen.
Let's not forget that behind every psycho is a great woman, Lady Hitchcock. Alma Reville finally earns the credit and respect she deserves for being in the shadows of her husband's glory. Helen Mirren delivers her lines so cold and powerful yet still allowing us to catch a glimpse of Alma crumbling inside.
It is insightful to watch a revolutionary filmmaker with insecurities and doubt that only his wife can brush aside, even from a separate bed. This reminds us that Hitchcock is just a man, and their love story is not wildly romantic, but realistic and relatable.
The film features some of Hitchcock's recognizable techniques of framing shots to enhance anxiety and fear. You can watch how the legend controls his audiences, like a conductor to an orchestra of screaming puppets.
The witty script and talented duo lifted the film from its dying plot. This sophisticated and surprisingly humorous film is worth the watch and at long last a tribute for all his fans to enjoy.Cinema Online, 14 February 2013