Hitchcock – 2.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

hitchHitchcock – 2.5/5 – This is a review for a film that came out last year, and I have finally caught on Blu-Ray.  For this film, it has a very central act around biography.  This particular film focuses on Alfred Hitchcock’s process in making Psycho.  In being a biography film, it is one that uses a lot of dialogue and characterization to define the entertainment.  Overall, Hitchcock hits strides when it comes to characterization, but falls flat with everything else surrounding the film as a whole.

Premise: In 1959, Alfred Hitchcock is at the pinnacle as filmmakers.  Amid a push to force him into retirement, Alfred decides his next film will be to adapt the lurid horror novel, Psycho.  Through the process, minds will be tested, hearts will be question, and the overall progress is that Psycho will either be the rise or bane of Hitchcock’s legacy.

In the main lead, we have Anthony Hopkins playing the famed Alfred Hitchcock.  In this role, he is completely transformed, from the way he looks to the way he talks.  As Hitchcock, he gives us someone that is undoubtedly at the top of his game.  At the top, he is seemingly in the twilight of his career, but he still wants to make the movie that will change everything.  Through the making of his dream movie, Hopkins gives us a strong but charismatic individual, who both commands every scene he is in, but also provides effectiveness in scenes that need to be emotionally involved.  Adding to this strong personality created in Hitchcock, Hopkins also is shown to have layers of stress, ambiguity and a fear of failure.  All of this combines shows the depth of Hopkins through his strong delivery lines, interactions with his cast crew, and his relationship with his wife.  The sense of awe is remarkable, and you truly believe Hopkins is Hitchcock.  The other second lead is Hitchcock’s wife, Alma Reville, played by Helen Mirren.  In this role, she gives us someone that is the great compliment to her husband.  She is the driving force behind the fame of the ‘Hitchcock’ name.  You watch her as she strives and struggles to make sure both her husband’s film progression stays intact, and that his own personal image doesn’t get tarnish.  She is the wisdom to his arrogance in the film.  The most engaging part of the film is when these two are on screen together; as their dialogue are both delivered exceptional well and is very emotional.  Outside of the two main actors, we have some noticeable actors/actress that play in a supporting role to this film.  You have Danny Huston as Whitfield Cook, Toni Collette as Peggy Robertson, Jessica Biel as Vera Miles and Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh.  Each of these individuals helps move the film along, but while watching them act in this film, they don’t do much to provide any emotional discord to the films themes.

When it comes to the main direction of this film, it is based in the realm of a biographical genre.  For this film, it specifically follows Hitchcock as he decides, plans, and creates one of the most iconic films of all time, Psycho.  There is some linear progression in this film, as the linear aspect is pushed through with the usage of back stories that involve the Hitchcock’s.  Through their narration, we are introduced to how the story came about.  You watch as Alfred plans, probes and forcefully commands (in some aspects) to others how this film will change everything to the movie industry.  His mind is relentlessly focused on this project; as you see it in how everyone involved with the picture works to give full effort, including the studio heads (to an extent).  Outside of this, you also have a paralleling emotional side story, which involves him and his wife.  You watch the basic ‘ups and downs’ of marriage, as well as the themes of trust, respect and duty.  For the first half of the film, the main story and side story seem to be juggling for the main narrative, causing a lot of disjointing and bland sequences.  What this does for the film’s generalities is cause no connection to either the main character or the other characters that are shown throughout to add some depth for the ‘making of psycho’ as well as the ‘marriage issues’.  When emotional moments happen, they aren’t affective.  This causes a dull sensation, as eyes watch the clock, waiting for the film to end.  Then, there is a moment in the film that changes the tides.  This moment is when the making of Psycho seems to be in ‘disarray’ and the marriage seems to be ‘crumbling’.  This is when Hopkins and Mirren show their true acting chops, and pulls both stories into one.  When this happens, the rest of the film is more conducive, as it moves steadily while providing both dramatic sensibility as well as emotional bravado.  This also gives us our ‘connection’ worth caring.  Once the ending happens, you watch as Hitchcock succeeds in his mission, and proves that risks are well worth taking.

The visuals of the film are both magical and simple.  The irony in my statement is that it shows us how the 1950s ‘Hollywood’ scene feels like, but does it in a way that makes it seemingly mysterious in realism.  From the creation of the studios, Hitchcock’s house, all the way to the movie making part itself, you are intrigued by the process, as well as the time period.  The score is alright in this film, as it doesn’t do much but add flavor to the water.

Overall, Hitchcock gives us a good look at the making of Psycho, but isn’t a grand masterpiece.  You have some good acting from the leads, as well as a decent look at how a classic film was made, but everything else is standard to filming.  I’d say, pick this film as a rental, it is a good movie to watch to pass the time at home.

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