Hitchcock (2012) Directed by Sacha Gervasi. With Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, Danny Huston, Toni Collette and Michael Wincott.
It’s interesting that we find ourselves at a point in time when there are non-fiction films being made about the story behind the making of seminal films. Saving Mr Banks is one other recent example of a film that gives life to the story behind the legend, with Emma Thompson playing P.L Travers, the author of Mary Poppins. Based on the book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello, Hitchcock is another, with Anthony Hopkins in the role (and fat suit) of the famous film-director during the making of his celebrated classic.
Whenever you’re making a film about a figure as legendary as Hitchcock, there are certain things that you need to get out of the way – namely introducing the performance. In the very first scene, Hopkins sets his stall by diving straight into character, which in turn allows the audience to settle-in to accepting him in the iconic role.
Hopkins is further complimented by the rich period production design and first-rate casting. In a crucial role, Helen Mirren is outstanding as Hitchcock’s devoted wife, Alma. The idiom – “Behind every great man is a great woman” – fully resonates here as the breadth and depth of Alma’s loyal support (both emotional and creative) are given due recognition. Scarlett Johansson encapsulates the glamour and professionalism of Janet Leigh while in a small role, James D’Arcy almost becomes Anthony Perkins before our eyes.
Essentially, the film is chiefly about Hitchcock and his relationship with his wife – with the story behind Psycho as a stage. Towards the end, the film does become a little foamy, but the many things about it that are both interesting and fascinating might ease you into a more forgiving frame of mind. 3.5/5