Hitchcock (2012)

Two weeks touring southern Asia can really rip a guy out of the loop. A Gremlins remake? Really? Sometimes I just want to throw my hands up and say "Fuck you Hollywood. I'm done." But then I come to my senses settle in to a 16 hour flight from Hong Kong to NYC and check out what films the good folks at Cathay Pacific have decided to bless us with this time. Now I have to confess I did watch The Hobbit film first...but then I fired up Hitchcock (FKA Alfred Hitchcock and The Making of Psycho).

First things first, Alfred Hitchcock is probably my favorite director of all time. It's hard for me to watch any film, be it horror or not, and not see his finger prints somewhere. When this project was first announced with Sir Anthony Hopkins and the indomitable Helen Mirren attached I immediately took to it like a fish to water. The fact that I hadn't had the opportunity to see it until now is one of the greatest crimes ever perpetrated on humanity.

Hopkins is, of course, Hitchcock and being Sir Anthony Hopkins, he is of course wonderful. But it's Mirren as Hitch's wife Alma who is really the star. Alma's struggle with her place in Hitchcocks world is really the driving narrative of the film. She, as Hitchcocks wife, had resigned herself to everything that comes with that post, including Hitch's emotional, lets call it aloofism. So when someone else comes along that may be able to give her something that's missing from her primary relationship, she is forced to confront some long standing demons.

Hitchcock is ultimately a love story. The love between Alfred and Alma and Alfred and film making. Director Sacha Gervasi (Anvil: The Story Of Anvil - which I fucking love!) slides effortlessly between the two stories. This is, unfortunately, the biggest issue with the film. With such an iconic character and two compelling story lines, ultimately you are left wanting more from all of them. Gervasi wraps everything up in a nice little bow at the end, but it all just seems thin.

It's a shame that it feels that way because there are so many great things happening in the film. Like I stated before there are a bevy of great performances. Mirren received a number of nominations for her part as Alma. Scarlett Johansson is great as Janet Leigh. And of course Hopkins is superb as the legendary director and title character. The only nitpicky acting thing is Jessica Biel as Vera Miles. Playing against such heavy weights, she often struggles to hold her own.

Hitchcock, is a very good film. It had all the potential to be great. if you are a fan of Psycho, or Hitchocks work itself - this is a must see film. If you are looking for a comprehensive docudrama regarding Hitchcock or his filmaking look somewhere else. This is not the place for you.

***1/2 out of *****

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