A new movie about famed suspense film director Alfred Hitchcock that traces the problematic making of his (ultimately) smash-hit thriller/horror, Psycho, wisely uses the long-term marriage between Hitchcock and his wife, collaborator and muse Alma Reville as its main focus. Casting two superb actors (both Oscar winners) Sir Anthony Hopkins and Dame Helen Mirren in these key roles seals the deal. Hitchcock is a fantastic picture that shocks, surprises and hooks you in with a compelling and complex storyline and exceptional acting from a prestigious cast that includes Toni Colette, Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston, Jessica Biel and Michael Wincott.
Set in 1959, and directed by Sasha Gervasi (Anvil: The Story of Anvil), the film traces the progress of the production of the film from financing through casting and shooting, including deadly obstacles such as the fights with the ratings board to gain a rating of any kind (and therefore permission to screen to the public) through to its initial limited release in only two cinemas in the US. Meanwhile, the stress Hitch is under leads him to berate his closest and most treasured companion Alma, who strays to explore a working relationship with a smarmy friend, Whit (Danny Huston).
There’s a suggestion of Hitch’s droll and perverse sense of humor (“Just call me ‘Hitch.’ You can hold the ‘cock’”) that never threatens to tip the story off balance. A lot of the banter and wry exchanged glances between Hitch and Alma center on her efforts to get him to eat more sensibly, drink less booze, lose weight and generally live a less extravagant lifestyle. It proves a losing battle. One hilarious exchange occurs when Alma decides they need to tighten their belts a little. Paramount has refused to finance Hitch’s next picture due to its scandalous and questionable subject matter, so the pair mortgages their salubrious home and gamble that Psycho will make its money back for them. No more foie gras flown in from Fauchon – only the most expensive Parisian hyper-upscale mega-delicatessen – he’s told he’ll have to make do with local. Hitch’s outraged remonstration is priceless!
Funny, spooky and clever – Hitchcock is worth seeing.
Review by Pauline Adamek.
Now playing at selected cinemas in Los Angeles.