Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Hitchcock (2012)

Facing intense pressure from his superiors, Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) prepares to make another film. Hitchcock tries to balance a rocky relationship with his neglected wife, Alma (Helen Mirren), while pursuing a risky project. Hitchcock decides to adapt the suspense novel Psycho, but Paramount is scared off by the controversy, so they refuse to provide funding for the film. Hitchcock is determined to bring Psycho to the big screen, so he makes a deal with Paramount: Hitchcock will personally finance Psycho, and Paramount will distribute the film.

Paramount agrees, but Hitchcock runs into a series of problems during filming. In the cast, some uncomfortable feelings with Vera Miles (Jessica Biel) resurface, and Hitchcock pushes Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson) to her limits. Hitchcock will have to fight censorship, health problems, work through problems in his failing marriage, and uphold his reputation as The Master Of Suspense.

Anthony Hopkins provides the perfect Alfred Hitchcock impersonation, and as expected, Helen Mirren delivers a strong performance. Besides having the “spitting image look” for Vera Miles and Janet Leigh, Jessica Biel and Scarlett Johansson really didn’t bring anything special to their characters on the acting side of things. Well, I guess Johansson deserves some credit for mimicking Leigh’s hysterical screaming during the famous shower scene.

Hitchcock isn’t a biopic. This film just focuses on the ups and downs during the making of Psycho. But you know what, I didn’t have a problem with this approach. He’s known for making many great films, but when you think about or mention Hitchcock, 99.9% of the time, Psycho is the first film that comes to mind. Think about it, unless you’re a real die hard fan, would you watch a James Cameron docudrama, that revolved around True Lies? A Spielberg docudrama about the War Of The Worlds remake? Psycho is often credited as the one film that created and validated modern horror, so it only makes sense for Psycho to be the one Hitchcock film, that receives so much attention.

I enjoyed Hitchcock, but the tonal shifts between horror and drama are kind of annoying. Throughout the film, Hitchcock has nightmares about Norman Bates committing and planing murders. The nightmare sequences about Bates feel spooky and eerie, but when the story returns to the struggles in Alfred’s marriage, and his troubles with Psycho, Hitchcock shifts back into drama mode.

Director Sacha Gervasi style isn’t something to brag about, but he deserves some praise for paying homage to Alfred Hitchcock by imitating the intro and outro for Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Helen Mirren might receive on Oscar nomination, because…..well, she’s Helen Mirren. Although, I would be surprised to see an Oscar nomination for Hopkins. He’s spot on as Hitchcock, but Hitch’s comical side in this film might hurt Hopkins’ chances for a nomination.

Final Rating: 7/10

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