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New Release Review - Hitchcock

Directed by: Sacha Gervasi
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, Danny Huston, Toni Collette, James D'Arcy, Michael Stuhlbarg, Kurtwood Smith, Ralph Macchio

Dramatization of events surrounding the making of Hitchcock's 'Psycho'.

Based loosely on Stephen Rebello's book 'Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho', Gervasi's film focuses on one chapter of Hitchcock's life: the struggle to bring that controversial film to the screen. With the studio execs reluctant to fund the project, Hitch (Hopkins) is forced to finance it out of his own pocket. Meanwhile, the film-maker's wife Alma (Mirren) is collaborating on a script with writer Whitfield Cook (Huston). Cook's intentions towards Alma are not entirely professional however, placing a strain on the relationship between Hitch and his wife.
'Hitchcock' gets off to a cracking start with the film-maker appearing on the scene of one of serial killer Ed Gein's murders, addressing the audience in the manner of his TV show 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents'. Gein, a Wisconsin maniac who made ornaments and masks from his victim's corpses, was the inspiration for 'Psycho' (and later 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre') and appears several times throughout the film in dream sequences, acting as an evil muse for Hitch. This witty opening suggests we're in for a fun filled celebration of a film-maker, much like Tim Burton gave us with 'Ed Wood'. Instead, and unfortunately, Gervasi insists on injecting a soap opera sub-plot based on the marital strife between Hitchcock and Alma, all of which is, of course, mere conjecture.
This crass story-line seems to exist only for the purpose of those viewers who have no interest in Hitchcock or his work. Is Gervasi naive enough to believe anyone who doesn't care for Hitch is going to watch his biopic? While Mirren is brilliant in the role, physically she's horribly miscast, far too glamorous to embody Ms. Reville. Through no fault of Mirren's, her scenes ruin the movie from being a fun night out for Hitch fans. The film's best moments revolve around the film-making process: Hitch's run-ins with the censors, D'Arcy's jittery portrayal of Anthony Perkins, and a marvelous scene where Hitch dances in a cinema lobby to the sound of an audience screaming at his movie's famous shower scene. While he doesn't look or sound remotely like the Master of Suspense, Hopkins is riveting in the role and seems to be having as much fun as you will watching him.
'Hithcock' will likely only appeal to fans of the man so it's a shame Gervasi didn't make a movie more satisfying for them.
6/10
Hitchcock (2012) on IMDb 7.1/10



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