One of the most famous and celebrated directors of all time, Alfred Hitchcock's life behind the cameras is also one of the most cinematic of all those who share his profession. For as much as we all love/admire/hate (delete as necessary) the Spielbergs, Camerons and Scotts, we can't really imagine the story of their lives being particularly interesting. Not so the case with Alfred, with the tales of his endless pranks, torturous shoots and unrequited loves being the stuff of legend.
Focusing on the time when he had just finished his much-adored North By Northwest, Hitchcock tells the story of the man as he attempts to make his most ambitiously risqué movie to date - Psycho. Remember, this is 1960, when even flushing toilets were considered taboo, never mind a naked woman in a shower being stabbed to death. With studios unwilling to supply the money to get it made, Hitchcock (Hopkins) decides to foot the bill himself, much to the dismay of his long suffering wife Alma Reville (Mirren). With his cast in place - Johansson as Janet Leigh, Biel as Vera Miles, D'Arcy as Anthony Perkins - Hitchcock sets up making his masterpiece, but not overlooking the fact that his wife is on the verge of starting an affair with fellow screenwriter Whitfield Cook (Huston).
The rumours of the darker sides of Hitchcock's persona are vaguely glossed over here, with his crushes on his leading ladies coming across as more playful than unsettling, and as fun as some of the behind-the-scenes segments are, (discussions about Perkins sexuality, the Bond movie that Hitchcock was offered to direct) they are too few and far between. Also, the fantasy sequences involving Hitchcock talking to serial killer Ed Gein (Michael Wincott), who the Psycho movie killer is based on, just don't work at all.
On the plus side, the performances are universally stellar. Hopkins goes a little Hannibal Lector every now and then, but it's difficult to picture anyone else playing the role. Johansson, Biel, and D'Arcy do great work with limited screen time, but it's Helen Mirren who steals the show. A talented, loving woman who has accepted her place in the shadow of her husband, and whenever the focus is on their relationship, the movie is at its most entertaining. Fans of Psycho will find a lot to love here, but anyone looking for something a bit more in-depth about the famous director will be left wanting.
Review by Rory Cashin | 12:00 | Monday 4th February 2013 | Movie Review
I was very disappointed with this film. It never really delved in any great depth with Hitch's complex personality and was just a surface skim over his obsessions. Although it's no masterpiece, the recent TV production The Girl with Toby Jones was better. Jones also gave a much more convincing performance than Anthony Hopkins (oddly off-form for a change).Posted 23:49 | Mon 4th Feb 2013
"the Bond movie that Hitchcock was offered to direct" - now *that* would've been worth seeing (unlike Skyfall).Posted 17:35 | Fri 8th Feb 2013
> it's difficult to picture anyone else playing the role. I think I may have spoiled this one for myself by watching Toby Jones playing Hitchcock in "The Girl", even if it was a made for TV movie (from HBO) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2132485/ A far smaller budget and none of the fancy prosthetic Hopkins had to give a greater physical resemblance to Hitchcock, but it was good. I'll have to watch this too I suppose.Posted 00:57 | Sat 9th Feb 2013
This is not the most entertaining film, but it is interesting getting to know a bit more about Psycho, one of the most ground breaking films of its time, and also to learn a bit about Hitchcock the man himself. The film revolves around the making of Psycho, and the relationship between himself and his wife and his many leading ladies. It would be hard to know for sure what kind of relationships they had for certain, but this is as good a guess as any, based on the going on's of the time. Antony Hopkins is very good as Hitchcock and I got a buzz once or twice when he began to speak just like Hannibal Lector for some reason. It must have being done on purpose surely, perhaps to draw the viewer into the whole Psycho theme or maybe as a nod to Hitchcock himself, who knows. Worth watching to remind yourself of what must have being a trilling time for cinema, and a very good incentive to go to the video shop and rent PsychoPosted 13:04 | Sun 17th Feb 2013
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