Monday, January 7, 2013

Hitchcock





Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel
Director: Sacha Gervasi
Running Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes
Rating: PG-13

Hitchcock” is the result of a love triangle between a dark comedy, a nail-biter and a love story. In 98 short minutes, we’re exposed to the private life of legendary director Alfred Hitchcock, in the prime of his career. Anthony Hopkins’ embodiment of the film icon is spot-on: we’re both fascinated by and disgusted with him. Hitchcock seemed to be quite the glutton – one scene in particular shows him scarfing down cans of foie gras in the middle of the night - and he was no stranger to toddies at any hour. Helen Mirren brings grace and authority as Alma, Hitchcock’s doting wife. She attempts to keep him healthy – both physically and creatively. It’s obvious that Alma and Hitch, as they called him, need each other: Alma’s creative influence is detailed in this film. She assisted him with his many masterpieces, much more than the public realizes.

Photo courtesy of reelmovienation.com
I’ve always been fascinated with the movie “Psycho.” It was so revolutionary for its time, and it was the first film that truly terrified me. “Hitchcock” essentially surrounds the making of this classic. After “North by Northwest” soars at the box office, Hitch is on the hunt for his next feature film, and stumbles across a book called “Psycho,” based on a true story. This is where the film gets a little hokey. The director lets the fourth wall drop, and Hitch begins addressing the audience. He is transported to the occurrence of the crime on which the book is based and interviews the characters, perhaps to show that he gets totally immersed in the story.

Scarlett Johansson is beautiful (as always) as Janet Leigh, the leading lady who gets killed off 30 minutes into “Psycho,” per Alma’s suggestion. Jessica Biel is not likable (as per usual) as Vera Miles. She sees through Hitch’s talent, for what he really is – a creep. Alma overlooks Hitch’s obsession with young women – blondes in particular – until a creative partnership with a male friend becomes a temptation for her, and she becomes the one with the wandering eye. Hitchcock’s classic suspense is mirrored in this part of the film. We’re terrified for Alma, as Hitch’s suspicions about her affair grow. He sneaks up on her, leers over her while she sleeps – it’s no surprise he had such success making thrillers.

A terrific score adds to both the suspense and comedy, and the fact that it’s only 98 minutes allows it to really hold your attention. I'm thankful that Helen Mirren’s strong monologue ¾ of the way through secured her some recent nominations, but I was disappointed that neither the Hollywood Foreign Press nor SAG recognized Hopkins for his portrayal – his mannerisms and voice were so meticulous. Perhaps it's appropriate: Hitchcock never won an Oscar.


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