Based on the book by Stephen Rebello “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho”, Hitchcock addresses two subject matters effectively. The first and foremost being the love story brewing between Hitchcock(Anthony Hopkins) and his wife Alma Reville(Helen Mirren) with the second being the making of Psycho and what effects Hitchcock’s own being brought about on the motion picture. Psycho, as we all know till date remains Hitchcock’s most influential picture in a rather long career. Thus every soul intrigued by the picture would be interested up to some extent to know how it came about. With he slices of Hitchcock’s personal life making up the parts between the making of the film gives the viewer added material to ponder on. Thus the movie works both a biographical epic chronicling a period in Hitchcock and Alma’s life and also serves as a to the point revelation of how Psycho came about and became the motion picture that it is. Thus armed with material that was to interest different set of movie goers, Sacha Gervasi is able to generate enough curiosity for this project which with word of mouth is sure to gain in popularity.
Fresh from the success of North By Northwest, Hitchcock gets asked a question which threatens his tenure and ability to sustain amidst a
forever growing crop of suspense movie makers. The question is “isn’t it the right time for you to quit???” Hitchcock’s answer is Psycho, the one motion picture which will rewrite many conventions of Hollywood. In the midst of all this his growing indifference towards his wife creates a rift between the two. She tries to find solace in a friend much to the dislike of the maestro. As Alma seeks out freedom and happiness out of the clasps and towering presence of Hitchcock, Hitch grows increasingly suspicious. The shooting of the film is completed but a first screening for the distributors extracts a four letter verdict which is not “good”. Alma’s en-devours too meet a sordid end and the couple once again confined in each other save their future. What follows is a chain of events which reinvents Psycho, the motion picture and makes it what it is today.
Sacha Gervasi handling of the subject matter is perfect. He provides both the tracks enough time to make it comprehensible for the viewers. He has the master, Anthony Hopkins himself helming the affair as Hitch. Hopkins as we all know is a class act and a class apart. His interpretation of Hitch is wonderful and entertaining to look at. He switches between the tracks of a disgruntled lover and husband and the bossy director that he is effortlessly. He engages in his voyeuristic pleasures not shying away from peeping through holes to see his heroines naked. he is a voracious eater and drinker and is not afraid to cosy in on a lady even in the presence of his wife. Yet in some strange ways, he loves Alma in a way that she is the world that he lives in. Helen Mirren does justice to Alma. She strikes the right balance between a strong and independent entity and the loving that she is. One can also see a twitch of awe in the way she looks at Hitch from time to time signifying that she was not only in love with the man but also the staggering persona. The final scene where she looks on as Hitch moves into crowd of admirers and later calls on her to be by his side is beautifully filmed.
There are a couple of sequences which deserve special mention. Hitch’s meeting with Anthony Perkins played by James D’Arcy is delightful. Look out for the grin on Hitch’s face after a strange revelation by Perkins which makes him well suited for the role. The same thing happens for Stefano the script writer. Hitch’s dialogs with Alma are a pleasure all the way through. The theatrics of Hitch when the famous “shower” scene plays in the theater for the first time makes for an amusing viewing.
Overall, Hitchcock is a well made motion picture with enough material to keep you engrossed all the way through. the fact that it chronicles the life and time of Hitchcock only makes it that much more interesting. The signature sequences as portrayed in Psycho keep appearing here and there giving us that strange feel of Deja vu which serves the movie well. this one may not be for the record books but will surely rank as a worthwhile watch.