Director: Sacha Gervasi
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston, Jessica Biel, Toni Collette, James D’Arcy, Michael Stuhlbarg.
Running Time: 98 minutes
Synopsis: A love story between influential filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and wife Alma Reville during the filming of Psycho in 1959.
It’s always going to be a difficult task putting together a film about one of the greatest directors of our time and Alfred Hitchcock is one intriguing enigma to try and unravel. However, I left HITCHCOCK with an unexpected glow of satisfaction as it uncovers not only his obsessional side but also the man who fought personal demons on his way to seek perfection, and most importantly for any artist, it was a challenge he had to take on.
It’s unashamedly obvious to see that Hitch wasn’t exactly a likeable soul, as his obsession with his leading ladies often over-shadowed other elements to his film-making but…in truth, it was a sideshow to showmanship and pure talent that we see now, for real, in the history of film. Hitchcock is responsible for some of the most influential films in modern history, including VERTIGO, NORTH BY NORTHWEST and REAR WINDOW, where intrigue and thrill seekers found an equal measure of solace and excitement.
With HITCHCOCK, director Sasha Gervasi has adapted Stephen Rebello’s Alfred Hitchcock & The Making Of Psycho with the additional aid of John J. McLaughlin as a screenwriter. Gervasi is best known for THE TERMINAL, which itself was inspired by a true story. Here, he’s taken the legend and not tried to make him more likeable but simply show every aspect of his character, the good and the bad whilst simultaneously telling a film, within a film within a film – Nolan would be a proud.
What makes HITCHCOCK impressive is its highly impressive casting; Hopkins does himself proud as the occasionally lecherous, imaginative and brilliant director, while all along sublimely dragging the audience into his fixated and paranoid world. There’s also fine accompaniment by Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, portrayed as a fine professional who is every inch the perfect star of the time. There’s subtle accompaniment from Toni Collette as his long suffering receptionist Peggy Robertson, a small part for Jessica Biel as seemingly hard-done-by Vera Miles and an absolutely uncanny performance by James D’Arcy as Anthony Perkins.
But, as strong as the women are that are involved, Helen Mirren as his wife Alma Reville deserves the highest praise of all, her life dedicated to the great man and throughout she’s given everything she is but, don’t let that be a bad thing, because in truth she’s the strongest of all, it’s a truly profound performance from the British superstar and worth every accolade.
HITCHCOCK is quite, quite wonderful and an unexpectedly refreshing exposé of his life around PYSCHO, with an impressively perfect narrative. Hopkins & Mirren are undoubtedly sublime, go see it.
HITCHCOCK is released in the UK on 8th February.