If you get the chance, you may want to try and view “Psycho” before settling in for “Hitchcock.” While “Hitchcock” is a film revolving around getting “Psycho” made you don’t get to see much of James D’Arcy as Anthony Perkins (which feels like a crime because his Perkins portrayal is spot-on), Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh (who is incredibly classy and professional in the meantime), or Jessica Biel as Vera Miles (who seems overly cautious about working with Hitchcock again and rightfully so). There’s much more to “Hitchcock” than a behind the scenes look at one of the most influential horror films of all time with different actors portraying characters and actors you love.
“North By Northwest” has just been released and everyone is wondering what’s next for suspense mastermind Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) including Hitchcock himself. Hitchcock is obsessing over the media coverage of serial killer Ed Gein (Michael Wincott) and knows immediately after reading the book that “Psycho” will be his next project. Unfortunately, Hitchcock doesn’t foresee Paramount refusing to fund the picture or the difficult ongoing struggle ahead. With everything he owns on the line including not only his reputation but his marriage as his wife Alma Reville (Helen Mirren) spends more and more time with writing partner Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston), Hitchcock risks everything just to see his vision come to life.
Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock is excellent as you can probably expect. His mannerisms and subtle sense of humor are perfectly Hitchcockian. Hopkins certainly looks the part (he wore prosthetics for the film), as well. What’s intriguing is how you can see a little bit of Hopkins himself in his performance. There’s a scene where Hitchcock is directing Janet Leigh on the set of “Psycho” and the way Hopkins chooses to speak is very reminiscent of Hannibal Lecter.
Don’t overlook Helen Mirren though. Alma Reville assisted Alfred Hitchcock with writing, directing, and just reviewing every aspect of all of his films even though she was never credited. That is a huge boiling point in their on-screen relationship. Alma just wants to feel appreciated and doesn’t thanks to Hitchcock’s obsession with the perfect leading lady. That along with the desire to try her hand at working on something that isn’t Hitchcock related leads to her working relationship with Whitfield Cook escalating and tension at home. Mirren’s scenes with Hopkins are both heartfelt and captivating. Mirren’s facial expressions alone illustrate that “Psycho” is just as much her film as it is her husband’s.
Those expecting “Hitchcock” to constantly parallel “Psycho” may leave disappointed. “Hitchcock” is more about the struggle to get “Psycho” made, wrestling with Paramount Pictures, and the uphill battle with the MPAA. Did you know “Psycho” was the first film to show a flushing toilet? At its core though, “Hitchcock” is a test of the relationship between Hitchcock and Alma and how strong their bond really is.
“Hitchcock” is only as entertaining as it is because it chose to be a completely different film from “Psycho.” The film is based on Stephen Rebello’s non-fiction book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, but getting to read the book before viewing the film wasn’t an option. The film is more lighthearted and humorous in comparison to “Psycho” though. Thanks to that and a really talented cast, “Hitchcock” is incredibly charming, funny, and intriguing.
Sources: imdb.com, wikipedia.org, comingsoon.net