Movie Review Hitchcock (2012)

Posted: October 5, 2013 in Drama
Tags: , ,


In 1959, Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) is looking for a new story to direct.  His assistant Peggy (Toni Collette) brings him the book Psycho to read.  He decides this is going to be his next film.  After an initial revulsion for the story his wife Alma (Helen Mirren) starts writing the screenplay.  Paramount pictures reuses to fund the film over concerns about nudity and violence, Alma stops writing Psycho’s script because she’s writing a screenplay with Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston) a screenwriter, who she might be falling in love with.

After Hitchcock agrees to fund the film himself, Paramount agrees to distribute the film, but he still has to get the material past a Hollywood censor, named Geoffrey Sherlock (Kurtwood Smith).  Once that is done, he has to cast the film.  Alma suggests Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson) and Hitchcock is quite taken by the buxom blonde, and might be falling in love with her, or is it just another voyeuristic obsession with a blonde starlet?  He also casts Anthony Perkins, (James D’Arcy) who’s tired of playing romantic leads and is looking forward to the challenge of playing a psychotic killer.  Does Hitchcock ever make this complex film?  How do audiences react? Is Alma by his side or is she off with Whitfield Cook?

Well, you know some of the answers to those questions.  Psycho was made, it is one of Hitchcock’s best movies, and it is wildly popular.  I wish I could say the same for Hitchcock.  I am at a loss as to how the makers of this film could take such an interesting man as Hitchcock, and an interesting movie as Psycho,  squeeze all the life out of it, and make a movie as profoundly dull as this movie is.  It plays like a bad soap opera, I really don’t care about whether or not Hitchcock’s wife was having an affair.  And they downplayed Hitchcock’s obsession with blonde starlets.  According to this movie, Janet Leigh enjoyed being stalked by her director, somehow I doubt that.  The only truly interesting parts of this movie are Hitchcock’s visions of Ed Gein, the psychopath who inspired the book and the movie.  There should have been more of those scenes and less scenes about Alma contemplating an affair.

The acting is subpar Hopkins does an impression of Hitchcock, and while it’s a pretty good impression, it never goes any deeper than that.  Helen Mirren is the only actress who shows any life in this film with a barb or quip, or a good kick in the pants when he needs one. Scarlett Johansson plays Janet Leigh as if she’s sedated, as if the whole experience is just another day at the park.  The other parts are too small to mention. Poor writing leads to a dull story which is fed by lackluster performances.  I wish I could have watched “The Girl” HBO’s Hitchcock film instead.

Hitchcock.  Full of hitches.

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