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March 4, 2013 | by  | in Film |
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Film Review – Hitchcock

Directed by Sacha Gervasi

Few directors have left as definitive a mark on the story of cinema as Alfred Hitchcock. It is disappointing then that Hitchcock leaves little to be remembered. The premise of the film is promising, centred on the off-camera love story between Hitchcock and his wife and right-hand lady Alma Reville. Unfortunately though, this premise is betrayed by a screenplay that is unbearably safe.
The story flits from the production of Hitchcock’s most controversial film, Psycho, to the director’s marital battles, to a series of flirtations between Alma and a one-dimensional, womanising screenwriter called Whit. Of these, the story of Psycho is the most intriguing, but the film fails to commit to this, or any other, narrative. In doing so it becomes disjointed and falls flat—like a pancake made of cement. The opportunity is missed to seriously examine what drives the evidently peculiar director. All we get on this front is a series of inexplicable dream sequences of Hitchcock facing down a cannibalistic murderer—but what these actually add to the film, I do not know.
The flat-footedness of the screenplay is saved somewhat by the strong performances of Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren. Hopkins particularly is masterful, uncanny in his impersonation of the portly director. The pair’s sparring is the film’s greatest quality, ensuring that the film is entertaining enough to warrant a watch for any Hitchcock aficionados out there.
In one scene, Hitchcock describes an unsuccessful rough-cut of Psycho as “stillborn.” This is, ironically, an apt description of Hitchcock. It is a film about an adventurous director embarking on his most adventurous work to date. But it is that spirit of adventure which this film lacks.

 
VERDICT: 2.5 / 5

 

Reviewed by Ollie Neas

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About the Author ()

Ollie served dutifully alongside Asher Emanuel as Co-editor of Salient throughout the tumult of 2012. He has contributed to Salient since 2011 and intends to do so for the rest of his waking life.

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