Posted by: greercn | February 11, 2013

Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock is thought by many to be the father and master of the modern suspense thriller. With the recent showing of “The Girl” on TV, lots of people might also have concluded that he was nasty to his iconic leading ladies.

“Hitchcock” aims to redress the balance of public opinion by painting a gentler picture of the man. Anthony Hoskins is especially good at showing the depressive tendencies and professional drive of the director. The film paints a rather loving portrait of his marriage to Alma Reville, who is beautifully played by Helen Mirren.

And it looks like Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson, looking and sounding wrong but still terrific) has happier memories of being in his movies than Tippi Hedren expressed.

Clothes and homes look right for the 1959-60 setting, but none of the actors look anything like the people they are supposed to be. It’s a great credit to their acting that you forget about that, really quickly.

It’s all very reminiscent of “My Week With Marilyn”, in which the story of a difficult film shoot also kept its focus on iconic movie people.

Here. the subject isn’t so much “Hitchcock” as “That Difficult Psycho Shoot When I Feared I Might Have Become Irrelevant”. That’s a more accurate description but, of course, far more unwieldy than the actual one-word title.

The Stratford East Picturehouse audience thoroughly enjoyed it, as did I. It’s actually great to have strong women characters shown.

Hitchcock was born a few minutes’ walk from my house and every week I am asked about how Hitchcock is remembered around here. This area of London is rather light on celebrity connections, so the answer is everywhere and all the time. Honestly, it really is just Hitchcock and William Morris in the who’s who of Waltham Forest, London.

How good a film is this? Firstly, the relatively-short 98-minute length is a great relief after endless long movies, of late.

Sacha Gervasi directs crisply and Steven Rebello wrote the book about filming “Psycho” and co-writes the script with John J McLaughlin. It all moves along very smoothly, has great humour and never bores the viewer.

James D’Arcy doesn’t have much to do as Anthony Perkins, but he looks and sounds good as do Jessica Biel as Vera Miles and Toni Collette as Hitchcock’s assistant Peggy Robertson.

Danny Huston is super as Hitchcock film-writer Whitfield Cook, but the Ed Gein (serial killer) bits, despite a good turn by Michael Wincott, strike an oddly discordant note among so many “making of” scenes. I think they are meant to add depth, but they feel like they are taken from a different film.

But, at heart, this is an affectionate tale about a working partnership and marriage and it’s rather warming on a cold day. I liked it a lot more than I expected to, not being a big “Psycho” or Hitchcock fan, although I am reasonably certain that movie is why I avoid showers and prefer baths.

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