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Hitchcock

Hitchcock

What She said:

She

Ever wonder what went on in Alfred Hitchcock’s unique mind?  Yeah, me neither, but honestly it was this or Lincoln and I just haven’t gotten myself motivated enough for that movie yet.  Frankly, I thought Hitchcock would be boring.  I like some of his movies, but seriously, who cares?  Well, apparently enough people care to actually have this movie made.

This is not a biopic of Hitchcock’s career; it’s merely a window into his being right around the time that Psycho was made.  Apparently, that movie was considered a risk, which I guess in retrospect it was, and Hitchcock had to fight hard with movies-makers just to have it made.  In the meantime, he was also passively fighting hard with his wife, Alma, as she got caught in projects of her own (and possibly another love interest).  That’s the basic plot of Hitchcock; nice and easy to spell out.

Anthony Hopkins plays the title role, and actually does a pretty good job of it.  I mean, you’ll know it’s him behind all the makeup, fake chin, and (hopefully) the fake belly.  But it’s the eyes…I still see those Hannibal Lecter eyes.  If Hopkins is portraying him correctly, then Hitchcock was an odd sort of man.  Always watching people, and I mean always.  Actually, there’s times when he’s just a big ‘ole creeper, watching women through peepholes and stuff.  It’s sort of unsettling.  Alma, played by Helen Mirren, is a woman ahead of her time.  She has her own involvement writing for the film industry and seems highly respected.  She’s also a bit of a ball-buster and can be somewhat gruff and unloving to her husband.  It’s no surprise that he becomes suspicious that she may be having covert liaisons.  As the movie swirls around the production of Psycho we’re also introduced to Scarlett Johansson playing the actress Janet Leigh.  She’s sort of inconsequential to the overall storyline, and so I don’t have much to say about her beyond that she looks pretty.

Hitchcock

Hitchcock is surprisingly light, even if it does deal with some drama with the Hitchcock marriage and the production of Psycho.  It feels somewhat underdeveloped, as we seem to just follow around the title character for an hour and a half rather than delve into deeper themes and whatnot.  Not exactly what I was expecting.  It’s not bad, because I still found it fairly entertaining.  I just wished for a little more.  There’s some decent comedy and you can tell some of the thought is there, but I would have liked to have seen it keyed up.  I loved seeing Toni Collette as Hitchcock’s assistant, Peggy, but I would have loved it if they would have done more with her.  She’s so fabulous when she’s funny. 

I guess I’m just not sure what they were getting at.  Comedy?  Drama?  The movie fell somewhere in between but without the better characteristics of either genre. 

Thumbs half up.

 

What he said:

He

Does the name Ed Gein ring a bell to you? If not, he was a serial killer and body snatcher during the 1940s and 50s. He collected all kinds of body parts and used them to make all kinds of wonderful things around the house. Lampshades, drawstrings for his shades, belts, and bedposts are just some of the things he’d make. Perhaps most disturbing of all was that he used to skin his victims because he wanted to use their skin to make a “suit” that he wore around the house. He even had a mask too, which was also made of human flesh. Seriously, I couldn’t make this up if I wanted to. His victims were women, because apparently wearing their skin made him feel like a woman, which is what he wanted to be deep down. That’s rather ironic considering his mother raised him to believe all women – except her of course – were prostitutes and therefore evil.

Why am I telling you this wonderful story? Well, that’s easy. Ed Gein served as inspiration for several books and movies over the years. The makers of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Silence of the Lambs, and Psycho all used his story as the basis for the killers in their films, and if you haven’t made the connect by now, Psycho was made by Alfred Hitchcock.

Hitchcock

Hitchcock is obviously about the late filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. It’s about a very specific time in his life though. He had just come off the success of North by Northwest, but despite that, some of the media questioned his future in the business. It really gets to him, so he’s determined to make a movie that will make headlines. He comes across the book Psycho and decides that he absolutely must adapt it as his next feature film.

This movie revolves around the problems he had making that movie. First, it was considered extremely graphic for its time. This was the squeaky clean 50s and a movie about a serial killer who dresses up like his mother and kills women was pretty edgy back then. He fought with the censors over almost every aspect of the movie. There was also the fact that he financed it. The movie studio did not want to finance such and edgy (and risky) project, so he decided to pay for it himself. He was also forced to work with actress Vera Miles (Jessica Biel), whom he had a contentious relationship with.

There were also some personal issues as well. If the movie is to be believed, Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) had an obsession with the female stars of his movies, and this movie was no different. Actress Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson) was the latest object of his affection/obsession. At this point, his wife just can’t seem to take it anymore, so she finds comfort in her work. She takes on a side project (she was also a writer/editor of a lot of his films) with a writer named Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston). Cook may or may not have the hots for Alma (Helen Mirren).  The infatuation that each has becomes an issue with the other.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this movie. It was a lot lighter than I expected at times, but did hint at some darker stuff, but only mildly. Does that make it a dark comedy? I know the She doesn’t like long movies, but I have to admit I would have liked to have seen a little more. I would have loved to explore the relationship between “Hitch” and Alama a little more. Plus, I found him to be an oddly fascinating man. He was obsessive in many aspects of his life. The poor relationship with Vera Miles seemed to stem from the fact she simply didn’t want to work non-stop. As someone who is anti-workaholic, good for her. Hitch also seemed to be a compulsive eater. Whenever something bothered him, he gorged. They showed it, but didn’t delve into it a whole lot. He also seemed obsessed with women. He might have even had peep holes to spy on them if this movie is even a little accurate. Creepy yes, but leaving me want to know a little more about this bizarre man. Overall though, while I wanted more, I was pleased with the movie. I thought it was a great looking movie, that was entertaining, and had some solid performances. I think I enjoyed it more than some of the Best Picture nominees I saw from last year.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on April 25, 2013.  

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