I’ve always had great plans to watch Alfred Hitchcock’s back catalogue but this never materialises into anything more than good intentions.
The Trailer for Hitchcock was very appealing however the light-hearted tone suggested that this would not be a hard hitting biopic.
PLOT: Searching for something different to direct after the success of North by Northwest Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) stumbles upon the horror novel Psycho and decides it will be his next project. Hitchcock self-finances the film and gets to work without any studio backing. After watching her husband get close to his leading lady Janet Leigh, (Scarlett Johansson) Hitchcock’s wife Alma (Helen Mirren) sneaks off to the beach to write a screenplay with Whitfield Cook (Danny Houston). With his marriage breaking down and his film failing Hitchcock desperately tries to make Psycho a success. END PLOT
The plot skims over the production difficulties of Psycho, Alfred and Alma’s marriage problems, Alma’s almost affair and Hitchcock’s relationships with his leading ladies Janet Leigh and Vera Miles (Jessica Biel). Despite having a wealth of material Hitchcock refuses to deal with the darker side of Alfred’s personality in any great depth. This leaves the audience watching a film that is too scared to develop its own main character for fear of what it may discover.
The film barely scrapes the surface of Alfred Hitchcock but the casting makes up for the average storytelling. I could watch Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren all day as the bickering Alfred and Alma – Hitchcock was at its strongest whenever these two were on screen together.
Scarlett Johansson is very sweet as Janet Leigh and this is the first time that I have watched Jessica Biel without hating her with a fiery passion. Biel perhaps needs to stop trying to convince the world that she is an action star and try roles where she doesn’t need to overexert herself with her usual failed attempts at being badass..
Hitchcock is a gorgeous film – it is a throwback to the period with the costumes and sets all generously covered with a Hollywood Gloss.
Unfortunately for a film which tells the story of the making of one of the world’s most well-known films it is very much style over substance. Hitchcock is enjoyable but it just leaves you wanting to know what really went on behind the scenes. It gets a 6.5/10.