Posted by Hannah Buchdahl aka Mainstream Chick on November 23, 2012
This time of year, there’s a lot of really good stuff out there (or on its way). So while Hitchcock is a perfectly okay film, it’s not good enough to cut through the clutter… even if it does showcase the making of one of the most iconic knife-wielding scenes in cinematic history. Shower, anyone? That said, if you’re a fan of Alfred Hitchcock in general and/or Psycho in particular, then you’ll probably get a kick out of Hitchcock. It stars a heavily-padded and prosthetic-ized Anthony Hopkins as the acclaimed director and Helen Mirren as Hitch’s wife and collaborator during the making of the 1960 horror movie Psycho. It’s part ‘inside Hollywood’, part love story, part biography, and (probably large) part dramatic license.
Mirren delivers the film’s most complex and compelling performance as Alma, the woman behind the very large and rather creepy “master of suspense”. The versatile Toni Collette makes the most of her small role as Hitch’s assistant Peggy. And Scarlett Johannsen does a fine job as Vivien Leigh, the golden age of Hollywood starlet who got a best supporting actress nomination for her portrayal of Norman Bates’ shower victim, Marion. Hitchcock, coincidentally, never won an Oscar for directing anything. Maybe it’s because, if we’re to believe the picture painted in Hitchcock, the guy was more than a little odd.
Now I’m no Horror Chick – far from it. I’m not a big fan of the genre and I’ve never actually seen Psycho all the way through. But I am at least vaguely familiar with the Psycho shower scene (I mean, really, who isn’t?) and other Hitchcock films including Strangers on a Train, Rear Window, Vertigo, The Birds, etc. If these titles – or the old TV series Alfred Hitchock Presents – ring a bell of familiarity, then you’ll have a firm foundation for watching – and enjoying – Hitchcock. If you’re drawing a complete blank, you can skip this one for sure.