A couple of nights ago I rented the movie Hitchcock via itunes. This is one of those movies that never played at your cinema but you wish it had before and after you have seen it. As you can see by the poster, the cast in this movie is absolutely fantastic. That is Sir Anthony Hopkins playing Hitchcock and Helen Mirren his wife Alma. Scarlett Johansson is in a good supporting role as well.
The premise is simple. This is the back story of how the movie Psycho was made. I have to confess, I did not realize a real life serial killer was the inspiration for the story and that it was based on a book. See, don’t you feel smarter already?
What I like best about this story is that it is filmed like a Hitchcock story starting from the very beginning. *SPOILER ALERT* In the beginning, we see the real life killer in a surprise act and then from the side, just like he use to do on his television show, Hitchcock steps in with a cup of tea and his trademark, “Good evening … ” All through the film you are going to spot tributes to Hitchcock’s work. If you didn’t know, Hitchcock made some of the most famous films around and was prolific. Some of my favs of his films are Topaz, Rear Window, North By Northwest, The Birds, Stranger On A Train, 39 Steps, and I can go on and on.
Also if you didn’t know, Hitchcock had some peculiar habits. There is a reason he cast blondes. It was a non-stop fantasy with him. The movie tackles this fact. He had a very perverted side to him which is probably why he made such a range of great movies. His mind never stopped.
Despite this, he had a long-term marriage to Alma (over 30 years) played by Helen Mirren. We see what she had to put up with – and you may wonder why – and also discover that Alma is responsible for a lot of Hitchcock’s great work including the success of Psycho. They were a team and if you didn’t know it beforehand, you will when this movie ends. It is that collaboration, that connection that binds them, which kept them together I think. Helen Mirren is wonderful as Alma. One of her best performances.
Anthony Hopkins ABSOLUTELY nails Hitchcock. Seriously, you forget you are watching Hopkins and not Hitchcock. This is partly due to a breathtaking makeup job on this film. It is also due to Hopkins nailing Hitchcock’s mannerisms. I really enjoyed his performance. It is one of his best, and that says a lot, and if you think about it a bit of a natural evolution for the man who won an Oscar for his performance as a serial killer.
This movie got mixed reviews when it was released. I’m not sure if people wanted more info on other characters in Psycho or more action. But personally, I didn’t think it had many flaws. The script paid as much attention to Alma as Hitchcock and the story is as much about their relationship as anything else.
It is unusual fare but for the performances if for nothing else, treat yourself to Hitchcock when you get the chance.