“Good evening.” No one has ever uttered those two words with more class than the late great Sir Alfred Hitchcock. Back in the early days of film, he was the “Master of Suspense”, having churned out many cinematic classics. His legacy is one that will be remembered forever and the film Hitchcock details the director’s quest in getting the original slasher filmPsycho made. Sir Anthony Hopkins is transformed into Hitchcock and the results are average to good.
Hitchcock follows the famed filmmaker in his tireless personal mission to make Psycho, one his most famous pictures. Partnered with his wife Alma Reville (Dame Helen Mirren), the two do all they can to make Psycho a reality. No one will back the film and the two Hitchcock’s use their own money to get the horror film made.
Hopkins portrays Hitch in a way that is both humorous and eerily real. The makeup and change of voice provide for a truly great performance. He does’t look 100% like the famous director but he comes pretty damn close. Mirren is exquisite as Hitchcock’s wife and business partner. She actually steals the show. The gorgeous Scarlett Johansson is perfect as Psycho shower stab-ee Janet Leigh and Jessica Biel is also a knockout as tough-as-nails Vera Miles.
The cast is not the only aspect of Hitchcock that shines. A wonderful script from John J. McLaughlin based on Stephen Rebello’s book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. Each actor delivers their lines beautifully especially Hopkins and Mirren. These two thespians certainly know what they’re doing and the fact that they both possess Oscars reinforces that fact.
Hitchcock is a cute tongue-in-cheek pseudo biography. Hopkins is having fun in the title role and the audience is in for a treat. The real Hitchcock got great pleasure from scaring and surprising his fans. Hopkins does the same.
Psycho is based on the murders of real-life serial killer Ed Gein. Hitchcock loved the story so much that he decided to adapt it into one of cinema history’s creepiest horror films. The shower scene stands alone as one of the scariest movie scenes of all time all thanks to Hitch’s superb direction and composer Bernard Herrmann’s iconic spine-tingling score.
As said before, Dame Helen Mirren is simply great in this film. She has a grace and strength that few actresses this day possess. Not only is she classy but she is funny and powerful as well. Her character Alma keeps Hitch in line. She knows just which buttons to push and when to push them, something that keeps their relationship alive and feisty. There is also a subplot involving sexual tension between her and Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston), a writer who has designs on Alma.
Director Sacha Gervasi (The Terminal, Henry’s Crime) has done a pretty decent job here. The tone is light and the subject matter rather heavy at times especially a few dream sequences involving Hitchcock and Gein. These scenes are cleverly done and reveal quite a bit about Hitch and the production of Psycho.
Another interesting factoid is that Danny Elfman wrote the score for Hitchcock and it is a very whimsical and somewhat macabre score much like Bernard Herrmann’s work in Psycho and his other works. Ironically, Elfman has often been quoted as saying Herrmann is his biggest musical influence.
Hitchcock is an average biographical comedy. The performances are silly, as is the script and the way it is read. The direction is pretty tight and the lighting is perfect. People should see this movie because it offers a unique look into Hitch’s mind and directorial process. The makeup could have been better but Hopkins knocks it out of the park regardless. The chemistry between him and Mirren is phenomenal and that is the real reason people should give this charming film a try. “Good evening.”
Blu-ray Bonus Features
The bonus features for Hitchcock are so good, it’s scary. There is a deleted scene, a bunch of featurettes and a feature-length audio commentary with director Sacha Gervasi and author Stephen Rebello.