Film Review: Hitchcock (Fox; 2012)

BY PETER MCGORAN

Whenever the word “biopic” appears at the front a film description there is always the temptation simply to pass over it. Who, after all, wants to see a film about a director?

The irony of “Hitchcock”, however, is that whilst it works well in delivering an exciting, rounded portrayal of the famous director – taking in every little nuance about his character, from his stubbornness in the face of the film industry to his perverted nature towards his leading blondes – the directing of this film leaves much to be desired. Hitchcock’s struggle to create something new and shocking in the face of adversity is prominent at the start but seems less and less important as the film goes on. The final edit of Psycho is wrapped up in a handy, two-minute montage and the conclusion lacks the suspense required for a film about the self-confessed “Master of Suspense”. Furthermore, Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Biel are perfectly average as the leading ladies of Psycho but bring little to the film aside from their incredible good looks.

What prevails and gives credibility to the film is Anthony Hopkins as the deadpan, neurotic Hitchcock and Helen Mirren as his wife/confidant/advisor, Alma. The chemistry between these two extraordinary actors as they negotiate financial difficulties, alluring actresses and meddlesome screenwriters is, at times, hilarious and always fascinating. The story about a charismatic husband trying to win back the respect of his wife is far more engaging than the story about a director shooting his finest film.

Anyone who’s watched Psycho (which isn’t, despite what people might think, necessary to know what’s going on) or any of Hitchcock’s later films, will be satisfied, if not tickled, by the clever allusions apparent throughout.

For those hoping to see an excellent actor give his interpretation of Hitchcock, by all means go see it. For those hoping to see an excellent film, you may be disappointed.

 For viewing times at Movie House cinemas, click here.

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