Review by Jude Felton
There are some films which, no matter how historically correct they may or may not be, I just end up enjoying. Hitchcock is one such film, and from its opening shot until its closing, I loved just about every second of it. It’s certainly a flawed film, but it is one with such charm and character that it was hard not to like.
Legendary director Alfred Hitchcock is at the top of his game in the late 1950s’. He, himself, is now 61 years old and is struggling to find his next movie. He’s offered all sorts of films, yet none take his fancy. Then, he comes across a news piece about serial killer Ed Gein and the book Psycho, by Robert Bloch, and the seeds of something great are sown.
However, Psycho isn’t something that the studio is too happy about making, so it is down to Hitch to come up with the money himself, in order for it to get made. The rest, they say, is history.
Now, as much as Hitchcock is about the period in his life when Psycho was made, it is also focused on the relationship between himself and his wife, Alma. In fact this is very much the focus of the film, and looks into Alma’s relationship with not only Hitch himself, but also writer Whitfield Cook, as well as her own contributions to Hitchcock’s film. On top of this the film also looks at Hitch’s obsession with his leading ladies, although this is not rammed down our throats.
Hitchcock is such a delightful movie, blending as it does humor, drama and a touch of horror to its running time. I probably could have done without the constant conversations with Ed Gein, that Hitchcock has, although Michael Wincott is spot on as the infamous serial killer.
Anthony Hopkins gives a superb performance as Hitch himself, even when his voice veers into Michael Caine territory, although that can be forgiven when you know that Hitch and Caine were born not all that far from each other geographically speaking. Helen Mirren, as we have come to expect, is wonderful as the beleaguered Alma, as is Jessica Biel as Vera Miles. My personal pick of the cast though has to be Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh. She’s utterly delightful, and a joy to watch.
Director Sacha Gervasi, who previously made the rocking documentary Anvil: The Story of Anvil, has delivered a quite terrific film, in Hitchcock. If you want historical fact and accuracy, I am not so sure that this is where you want to do your research. However, if you want a fun and touching look at one of Hollywood’s greats, then you could do a hell of a lot worse than to check this out.
The Blu-ray/DVD release from 20th Century Fox is a bloody good one. Not only does the film look and sound great, but there is also a healthy amount of special features for you to work your way through; which does include an audio commentary by Gervasi and author Stephen Rebello.
Hitchcock could very well have ended up being an incredibly dour and serious piece of cinema, but instead it turned out to be quite light-hearted, even in its most serious moments, and for that I am grateful.
I am sure that it won’t float everyone’s boat, especially those that take Hitchcock’s work very seriously, although it did float mine. Some movies offer up cold hard facts and little else, whereas others will throw in facts, but are more concerned with charming you and Hitchcock is one such movie.
Hitchcock is released by 20th Century Fox and is available on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and Digital.