Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Movie Review: Anthony Hopkins As 'Hitchcock'

When we heard that a movie would be made about Alfred Hitchcock, the legendary director of tales of suspense we were a bit hesitant to see it.
We wondered: Would they get it right?
How could they possibly bring such a unique personality to life?
How could they recreate Hitchcock's mannerisms, his voice, his tone, his dry sense of humor and his seemingly dour but nonetheless compelling view of life -- and death?
Hitch (he slyly told friends to "omit the cock") was an artistic genius and a complex personality. Always conscience of his corpulent presence, he harbored a self-hatred and was said to be sexually repressed. Throughout his career he nurtured an obsession with cool blondes, felt rejected by Hollywood big shots, disarmed stars and stuntmen alike with practical jokes and remained a devout Catholic. And then there was his mainly platonic relationship with his wife and story editor, Alma who was in no small way responsible for his success.
How could they encompass all this in one story largely limited to the making of his most famous film, Psycho?
Well, they could. And they did.
And the final product starring starring Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock and Helen Mirren as Alma is not only faithful to the director, his life and his films but it's also a truly fine movie in its own right.
Based on the book Alfred Hitchcock and The Making Of Psycho, this film is a snapshot of a moment in Hollywood history and everything in it rings true: the time, the place, the setting, the characters -- everything.
The time is 1959. Alfred Hitchcock and his wife, Alma, are at the top of their creative game as filmmakers amid disquieting insinuations about it being time to retire. 
But Hitchcock isn't about to retire. He knows no other life. And he longs for the joy of creativity that marked his early years and his first collaborations with Alma.
So, Hitch decides to take a high-stakes gamble. For his next film he will adapt the lurid horror novel, Psycho, over everyone's misgivings. 
Unfortunately, as he self-finances and labors on this film, it appears that Alma is losing patience with his roving eye and controlling habits with his actresses -- not to mention the fact that she feels hopelessly neglected and taken for granted. When an ambitious friend lures her to collaborate on a work of their own, the resulting marital tension colors Hitchcock's work even as the novel's inspiration haunts his dreams.
Hopkins nails the Hitchcock persona in every detail. He's great. Mirren gives as Oscar-worthy performance as Alma. As Janet Leigh, Scarlett Johansson is scrumptious and Jessica Biel is prefect as Vera Miles.
Hollywood is finally learning how to make movies about Hollywood. Hitchcock is right up there with My Week With Marilyn as one of the best flicks about tinseltown ever made.
See it!

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