Movie review: Hitchcock (2013)

Hitchcock is an engaging biopic focusing on Alfred Hitchcock’s wavering relationship with his wife Alma as he struggles to make Psycho, the defining movie of the director’s career, earning him the title ‘the master of suspense’.

It is 1959 and the story begins with the opening of Hitchcock’s (Anthony Hopkins) latest movie, North by Northwest. While it is a success, he is troubled by a reporters insinuation that he is losing his touch and maybe should consider retiring. In an attempt to recapture the exciting and daring filmmaking of his youth, he begins seeking a story that he can adapt into a movie. Turning down offerings such including Casino Royale, a much more gruesome horror story based on the atrocities committed by real life serial killer Ed Gein piques his interest: Psycho.

However while the completely self financed movie is in production, Alfreds heavy work load and lecherous behaviour towards lead actress Jannet Leigh (Scarlet Johansson)  put a great strain on his marriage to writer and artistic collaborator, Alma (Helen Mirren).

I had no real expectations when sitting down to watch this movie. I have enjoyed Anthony Hopkins’ and Helen Mirren’s previous work, and despite reading many good things about Hitchcock I was not expecting to be as entertained as I was. The story is solid, focusing on a very significant part of Hitchcock’s career, and it is very interesting to see Alfred Hitchcock, a director whom I knew the bare minimum about, brought to life on screen with such panache.

Anthony Hopkins steals the show by putting in a worthy performance as Hitchcock, not only mastering the recognisable and distinguished voice, but portraying the steel-minded, steadfast character with such apparent ease. Not to mention the striking resemblance to the iconic director! Helen Mirren and Scarlet Johansson are also great in their roles as the ‘two main women’ in Hitchcock’s life at that time.

Biopics may not be to everyone’s taste, but even if you know nothing of Hitchcock, his life or his work, the movie is still a very good and engaging one that I would recommend seeing or at the very least purchasing when it is eventually released on DVD or Blu Ray.

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