'Hitchcock,' An Original Story with Great Performances
It wouldn't have been a major surprise if Hitchcock had been an even campier mess than the laughably bad Lifetime Television biopic Liz & Dick, starring that rock 'em and sock 'em actress Lindsay Lohan.
In fact, the real surprise is just how soulful a film Hitchcock is in the hands of director Sacha Gervasi and co-leads Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren. Hopkins, of course, plays the legendary director whose wry delivery masked a rather devious personality and an absolutely brilliant cinematic mind. When Hopkins' criminally underseen film World's Fastest Indian came out, many called the film his finest work to date.
Audiences certainly didn't crowd the theaters, but those who did quite often agreed. While I was never quite in the camp that declared World's Fastest Indian Hopkins' best performance, I may very well be willing to go out on a limb for such a statement with his absolutely mesmerizing performance in Hitchcock.
Lindsay Lohan, are you watching?
It is possible to portray a character's quirks and foibles without turning them into a caricature of themself, a fact that has been seldom truer than it is with Hopkins as Hitchcock. The film is based upon Stephen Rebello's book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. The vast majority of the film centers around the period leading up to Hitchcock's Psycho, along with the actual production of the film that was turned down for financing by the studios and only distributed when Hitchcock himself financed the film.
An Original Story
Despite his popularity as a filmmaker, Hitchcock is a mysterious enough figure that the story in Hitchcock won't likely ring as overly familiar for most folks beyond the hardcore fans of the filmmaker and film history buffs. It's interesting to see how much of a struggle Hitchcock had in getting Psycho made despite his previous successes and solid reputation. It took one questionable film, the now considered masterpiece Vertigo, to impact Hitchcock's ability to do anything he wanted. The scenes of him investing himself, his money, his home and his very career in order to make a truly good horror film are among the best scenes as they reveal the passion for film that existed behind the mystery of the man.
As marvelous as Hopkins is, the film simply wouldn't be the same without the presence of Helen Mirren as Hitchcock's longtime companion Alma Reville. Hitchcock doesn't hold back in showing that Reville was in all likelihood as equally brilliant as Hitchcock himself, though she was trapped in a time and institution where women weren't allowed to be so. Hitchcock himself often seemed to take her for granted, and it's that battle between her own hopes and dreams and her devotion to Hitchcock that adds such a deep emotional resonance to Mirren's wonderful performance.
Scarlett Johansson does a terrific job here as Janet Leigh, Hitchcock's lead actress in Psycho who was killed off in the film's first thirty minutes (sorry if that's a spoiler. Hey, you've had 40+ years to see the film). Jessica Biel, a hit and miss actress who had me worried in this casting, redeems herself quite nicely as Vera Miles, a Hitchcock fixation who had the audacity to get herself pregnant and ruin Hitchcock's almost disturbing, yet unrealized fantasies. An almost unrecognizable Toni Collette is terrific as Hitchcock's longtime secretary.
At first thought, Danny Elfman seems an odd choice to score the film but the choice pays off greatly with a delightfully quirky, yet touching score. Judy Becker's production design is top knotch and manages to evoke memories of Hitchcock's films without mocking or caricaturizing them. D.P. Jeff Cronenweth keeps the lensing stylishly retro in presentation.
Hitchcock may not be a film for everyone, but fans of Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins would be foolish to miss award-worthy performances by both performers. The film may not leave the strongest impact of any film in 2012, but for what it's trying to accomplish it's a beautifully constructed and immensely satisfying day at the movies.
- Dwayne Robinson just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Caitlin Wilson published the blogpost The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski | Blog Tour and Free Book Offer.
- Amy Lathrop published the blogpost The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski | Blog Tour and Free Book Offer.
- Audra Jennings published the blogpost The old maid and her old lady hoarder hobby - with product reviews.
- Roxie Keenan just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Audra Jennings published the blogpost Elisabeth Gifford shares the Gaelic myth of selkies and mermaids.
- Brian Dodd published the blogpost 18 Leadership Quotes And Lessons From Left Behind: The Movie.
- Debbie Harris published the blogpost All God’s People Are Filled With The Beauty Of Our Triune God by Debbie Harris.
- Lara Krupicka published the blogpost Make a Wish: Setting One-Year Bucket List Intentions.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Parents’ Primer on Internet Pornography – UPDATED!.
- Ron Edmondson published the blogpost A Personal Opinion About Investing in the Community.
- solomon david published the blogpost Perception System and Rchilli Becomes Business Partner.
- Bronwyn Lea published the blogpost 48 Tips from the World’s Worst Potty Trainer (A Cautionary Tale).
- Brian Dodd published the blogpost The Top 10 Leadership Posts I Read The Week Of September 15th.
- Antwuan Malone published the blogpost Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, Homosexual Rights and Other Signs of Our Times.
- Michael Ernest published the blogpost Thousand Foot Krutch announces fall headline “Born This Way Tour”.
- Michael Ernest published the blogpost Shelly Johnson to drop new album, ‘Your Kingdom Come’ Sept. 23.
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost Video of the Day: CNN Anchors in Way Over Their Heads.
- Michael Ernest published the blogpost (Birthday Edition) SOTW: ‘Steady Heart’ by Steffany Gretzinger.
- Brad Russell published the article 3 Reasons Why Financial Giving Culture Has Changed.
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost Does New ‘Fight Church’ Documentary Hit Below the Belt?.
- Matt Perman published the blogpost Busyness and Productivity Set on Sale at WTS Books – Today Only.
- Brad Russell published the article Differentiating Mourning from Wallowing in Depression-Anxiety.
- Lori Fogleman published the blogpost Baylor study brings national attention to potential for cell phone addiction.
- Ashley Howland published the blogpost Is your child safety seat installed correctly? [video].
- Matt Reed just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- LuAnn Braley published the blogpost BOOK REVIEW: Leaving Liberty by Virginia Carmichael.
- Mark McIntyre published the blogpost Leaders – How well are you getting people grounded in the faith?.
- Dorothy Greco published the blogpost Friday Soul Food: Jen Michel’s Teach Us to Want and the Conversion of Our Desires.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost 85% Of Millennials In The US (18-24) Own Smartphones.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Teens Attack, Hospitalize Innocent Man For Doing Good.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Teens Getting High A Little Less Often; No One Knows Why.