Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Book to Film Review: Hitchcock

About the film
Hitchcock is a biological drama film that was released at the cinema on 8th February. It is based on Stephen Rebello's non-fiction book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. The film is rated 12A and it has a run time of 98 minutes.

In 1959, Alfred Hitchcock has just opened his latest film, North by Northwest. However, while it is well received, a reporter insinuates that it is time for Hitchcock to retire. Not happy with this remark, Hitchcock is on the lookout for the project that will prove everyone wrong. He turns down many proposals, such as Casino Royale, and instead, wants to adapt a horror novel called Psycho, which is based on the life and crimes of serial killer Ed Gein. However, his faithful wife Alma is right behind Hitch on this one, even if it means mortgaging their house and putting up all of the money themselves, hoping the film the will be a hit.

What I thought
As a lover of horror films, knowing that Psycho was the first slasher film was not a big deal to me. However, I didn’t know anything behind the making of such an iconic film or the person who made it. So, when I got an email from Cineworld saying I could go to an advance screening, I was so happy that I actually had the night off work and could go.

Anthony Hopkins plays the lead, Alfred Hitchcock (Hitch) and a good job he does in the role too. Hitch, although getting on to retirement age, is a character quite full of life. He walks around the film studios as if he owns the place, does what he wants and speaks to people however he wants. Although this should have made him extremely arrogant, he was quite funny with it. Psycho delves into the life of Hitchcock and the events which lead to him making Psycho.

However, the film really is more about Alma, his wife. Playing Alma is Helen Mirren, who is just fantastic in this film. Alma is used to standing in the back, always being a few feet behind Hitch at premiers and not being recognised for how she helps out. However, she seems content with her life and her place in Hitch’s and gets on with things as best she can. Alma is a fiery woman and is used to getting what she wants. Mirren really pulls of this character well and you can see the passion in her throughout the whole film. I really do think that Mirren was the best person cast in Hitchcock.

Hitchcock puts across the idea that Hitch was not the mastermind behind his films that everyone thought he was. Here, Alma has a hand in the projects he picks, the actors he hires and the rewriting of the scripts. I’m not quite sure about how true all of this is though. I’m sure Alma did have some sort of say in Hitch’s decisions, helping him as a wife would do, but was it really as much as this film makes out? At all of the defining moments of the making of Psycho in this film, Alma is there giving her opinion and fixing things that Hitch cannot see. While it was interesting to see what kind of input Alma had in Hitch’s life, I’m just not sure I believe it all.

Unfortunately, minor characters were not that impressive at all. Playing Janet Leigh is Scarlett Johansson who I am not the biggest fan of. In Hitchcock, it is explained that Hitch has a bit of an obsession with his blonde leading ladies and that is where Leigh’s character comes in. However, Hitch doesn’t seem overly obsessed to me and not anywhere as near as bad as he is made out to me. Johansson playing Leigh wasn’t a bad choice, and while she is quite convincing, her performance still didn’t make her like her any more. Johansson gives Leigh likeableness, due to her being sympathetic, caring and nice when it comes to working with Hitch. Leigh is also a family woman so she has morals in regards to the kinds of films she would make. However, I found both Johansson and her character a bit bland.

Even though is a bit of a mixed review, I did really enjoy this film. Getting insight into the life of such a famous film maker was so interesting. I really enjoyed getting to learn about his family life and who he was as a person, not only someone who made great films. Hitchcock, surprisingly, was quite an emotional film for me, especially when it came to seeing how his relationship with Alma was. Hitchcock isn’t perfect, and it definitely could have been better but it was funny, interesting and emotional all at the same time. 

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