Hitchcock is possibly the most entertaining director who ever lived. It is always a joy to spot his cameos in his own films. His trailers, hosted by himself, are always good for a laugh. He found a way to make even the most seriously gruesome elements of a story comical at times. At others, he just hit us with some straight up fear. Hitchcock was a master at orchestrating reactions out of an audience. Hitchcock was also known as the master of suspense. In the movie Hitchcock much of this amazing persona is absent.
Hitchcock is the story of the making of the classic movie Psycho. It is an interesting story because it is a film of a dark nature that really had never been seen before on screen. Because of this not many people wanted the film to be made at all. Hitchcock, however, was obsessed with the story and did everything to make sure the film got made.
In this movie, Hitchcock is played by the great actor Anthony Hopkins. More accurately, it is played by fat Anthony Hopkins. He doesn’t look like Hitchcock at all, but rather what he really is: a fat Anthony Hopkins. Even his voice doesn’t match Hitchock’s and instead just sounds a lot like his own voice. This is all a distraction in believing that what we are seeing is Hitchcock in the flesh on the screen.
What’s worse is that the movie barely ever captures the great persona that Hitchcock had. Hitchcock had a great humor about him and it is not seen very much in this movie. There are some framing scenes that attempt to match the humor seen in much of his movie trailers, but it never really comes close to matching the real thing.
On the dramatic side of things, Hitchcock was known to have obsessions with his leading ladies. This portrayal of Hitchcock makes that obsession almost non-existent. Perhaps this version of the story is accurate. It could be that his known troubles with leading ladies was not a factor during the filming of Psycho, but the thought of it could have been addressed more than in the tiny portion that it is in this film.
Really though, this film is less about the making of movies as it is the relationship that Hitchcock had with his wife Alma. Alma is played here by Helen Mirren. She does a good job carrying most of the emotional weight in the film. In fact, one of the strengths of this film is its portrayal of this movie making team. The movie really shows that Hitchcock was not alone in his genius. Much of his films came from his wife as much as they did himself.
There is one part of the film Hitchcock that really stands out. It takes place during the premiere of the film Psycho. In the scene it really becomes clear how good Hitchcock really was at getting specific reactions from his audience. It is a playful scene much in the way Hitchcock was always seen to be. If this movie had showcased more scenes like this then it really could have better captured the essence of what Hitchcock meant to us all. As it stands, the movie is an only decent dramatization of one small time in Hitchcock’s life.