Rated: PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content and thematic material. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: November 23, 2012 Released by: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Nonfiction auteur Sacha Gervasi and writer John J. McLaughlin adapt Stephen Rebello's novella "Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho" into another "limited" biopic that may frustrate as many onlookers as it grips those who might have more of an inkling towards a more towering Lincoln.
Hitchcock stars Sir Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren as the iconic, titular filmmaker and his caring, headstrong wife Alma Reville and posits the effect of the personal on one's professional inclinations with some sharp strokes into the fantastical and the imagination.
Obviously, Hopkins will earn much attention from the physical transformation with prosthetic make-up and fat suit that gets him into the witty, ironic deliberately pronounced "master of suspense" and mold into what may be considered a kind of morbid obsession. A shocking demise at the start begins to get into what prompts a savoring Alfred to draw on the transgressive slasher Robert Bloch novel where Ed Bein wreaked havoc as a vicious serial killer.
The idea of bring an adaptation to the silver screen as a horror exercise allows for the quality of an artist's work to be manifested, as well as the importance of Alma in his life and of the making of what many consider to be his greatest achievement (but many will argue about Vertigo and Rear Window raising the bar through the massaging of their formidable narrative scheming).
Nevertheless, there is more to the look of the people and of the times of the early adolescent baby-boomer years as there was much opposition to getting the film made right down to a flushing toilet. Taking out a mortgage on a swank abode and swimming pool helped finance an enterprise that left producers like Barney Balaban (Richard Portnow) agog with its taboo nature, including transvestism.
Some art-house cinephiles may liken some of the narrative derring-do to some of the interplay in My Week With Marilyn as Hitch (as referred to by himself and many cohorts) gets a little irritable especially when Alma was helping a younger Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston) tailor a script. Alma, meanwhile, wasn't particularly thrilled by her husband's attentions towards the Psycho female victim as Scarlett Johansson embodies the Janet Leigh role. Many will also be taken aback with the uncanny resemblance of James D'Arcy to Anthony Perkins as an eerie Norman Bates. Sydney, Australia native Toni Collette "Fright Night) has that cat-eyed dignified quirkiness going for her again as the director's personal secretary and confidante, Peggy.
Partially behind the scenes, Gervasi emphasizes the craftsmanship to sensible smooth out the schlock especially through an indelibly frightening shower sequence. However, McLaughlin and him may not delve as much into Rebello in so much as the domestic particulars impact a final product that finally met its time and financial constraints largely due to an adroit misses.
As well as a mighty Mirren (who often upstages the sturdy precision and ripostes of Hopkins) proves to be a therapeutic presence there is the appearance of the late Ed Bein, a decent character actor in Michael Wincott (Along Came A Spider) who offers the director some guidance in a way (not so far removed from an approach used more often in the Meryl Streep-dominated biopic The Iron Lady). Hitchcock will gain more attention after its leads get more widely recognized in what may be a personally peripheral makeover that still elicits interest and admiration about what inconsequentially ends up on the silver screen.