Bio-pics are usually hit or miss. Sometimes they can really open up the creative process or they can be flat and uninspired. "Hitchcock" is unusual in that it falls into both categories.
Alfred Hitchcock is hot off his latest hit, "North By Northwest," when he's asked by a critic if he shouldn't just quit while he's ahead. This inspires Hitchcock to find something that will be truly terrifying and prove wrong those who think he should just retire.
It is within the pages of Robert Bloch's
"Psycho" that Hitchcock finds the inspiration he's been looking for. It's a ghastly tale of a boy pretending to be his dead mother. Hitchcock buys the rights to the book immediately and insists that all copies be bought off the shelves in order to not spoil the ending. But making one of the most famous thrillers of all time isn't going to be an easy task, not even for the master of suspense.
"Hitchcock"?is a short film that weaves between "Psycho" and Hitchcock's personal life. I'm not usually one to suggest longer running times, but Hitchcock could definitely have used it. Frankly, I'm not too interested in his personal life and whether or not his wife is having an affair. I'm interested in the production of "Psycho" and when the film focuses on this aspect of his life, the movie shines. It's as thrilling as one of Hitch's (as he was wont to be called)?movies to see how all the pieces fell into place. Because no studio would back it, Hitch had to put up his own money and if the movie flopped it could have ruined him financially. Thankfully, we all know that's not how it turned out, but with a lot of things where the outcome is known, it's the journey, not the destination that really matters.
The performances in "Hitchcock" are truly remarkable. Helen Mirren as Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville, is a revelation. One can't really overstate how good Helen Mirren is in general. And Anthony Hopkins literally transforms himself into mythic director, but while his performance isn't as good as Mirren's, it's still a delight to watch.
Ultimately, "Hitchcock"?is a piece of fluff that doesn't really delve too deep into what it's trying to portray. But it's fun fluff and one that keeps the audience engaged. It's tongue-in-cheek style is something to be admired and I think Hitchcock would have enjoyed it.