Alfred Hitchcock was an iconic film director who transcended his own era of cinema, so it seems only right to make a movie about his career in the industry. “Hitchcock,” directed by Saicha Gervasi, is a well-crafted biopic based on Stephen Rebello’s book, “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho.” Academy-award winning actor Anthony Hopkins portrays Alfred Hitchcock, as the story follows the course of his professional and personal life during the making and release of one of Hitchcock’s most critically-acclaimed films, “Psycho.”
Perhaps the most prominent aspect of “Hitchcock” that audiences will notice is the romantic drama that blossoms from the rocky relationship between Hitchcock and his wife Alma Reville (Helen Mirren), who are both strong-willed individuals, as they labor to hold their marriage together while the clamor of the film industry resounds around them. Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Biel join the cast as Janet Leigh and Vera Miles respectively, the actresses who are famous for their starring roles in Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” and Michael Wincott becomes Ed Gein a.k.a. the Plainfield Ghoul/Mad Butcher, the serial killer who inspired the character of Norman Bates.
The movie follows Alfred Hitchcock from his first time reading Robert Bloch’s novel “Psycho,” and guides the audience through a dramatized version of the filmmaking process in the late 1950s; there is a notable contrast between the prevalent conservatism of an older America’s Hollywood and the abundance of graphic content found in modern-day cinema. This accentuates just how groundbreaking Hitchcock’s methods were at the time, and illustrates how far he pushed the instituted boundaries with his controversial imagination. Fans of the 1960 horror classic will appreciate the lengths Gervasi goes to preserve the integrity of “Psycho,” as opposed to just making another movie about making a movie.
“Hitchcock” also does a great job of maintaining authenticity in its interpretation of Alfred Hitchcock’s life; a key part of this involves steering away from the clichéd theme of old Hollywood glamour. As a result, audiences can observe the title character as a relatable personage beyond his celebrity persona. As the movie delves into his trials and insecurities, which ultimately drive the plot, we are given glimpses into his dark and disturbing psyche. This serves to build the complexity of a man whom the audiences is only beginning to understand, and firmly roots their investment in the story.
It is the onscreen chemistry between Hopkins and Mirren that evoke lightheartedness notwithstanding the marital hardships their characters are suffering, and also make their characters all the more likeable. “Hitchcock” is worth the time and money, and it is absolutely a movie-going experience that should not be missed.
Rating: 4 stars