Alfred Hitchcock remains one of the finest film directors ever and arguably, he is also the most well-known to audiences, even today. It is no secret that the man behind the camera was as complicated as some of his films' plots and as disturbed as some of his films' characters. Making a movie about such a persistent, yet enigmatic figure is no easy feat, especially considering his many particularities, both mental and physical. But, as it turns out, when you have extraordinarily talented people making it, the result can be quite excellent and Hitchcock is just that.
Having only seen bits and pieces of the real Hitchcock in action, it is hard to say just how accurate Hopkins portrayal really is. Suffice to say, based on what little video I have seen of the legendary director, Hopkins might not fully look the part, but he certainly acts it astoundingly well. One example is Hitchcock’s unique and distinctive posture, which Hopkins duplicates consistently with stark ease. He also enunciates his words to beautiful and often comical effect, as if he were the genuine article. It is a stunning performance.
Helen Mirren plays Alma Reville, Hitchcock’s wife of more than fifty years. Mirren’s chemistry with Hopkins is electric and it is this main ingredient that fills Hitchcock with such a popping energy. There is absolutely no trouble in accepting these two actors as two life-long partners, who have endured many highs and lows together, and are now entering their final act of life with Psycho, a controversial film which will either plummet them into financial hell or elevate Alfred Hitchcock’s big-screen status to a more secure position. As Alma, Mirren is exquisite in the part and very convincing as the smart, talented and hard-working, great woman behind the great man. Though, it is the scenes in which Alma must deal with or react to Hitchcock’s wild obsessions, his stubbornness, and the genius that made him difficult to live with sometimes, that Mirren truly absorbs every ounce of our attention.
It’s obvious from the first frame, much effort was made to try and duplicate the hellacious journey it took to get Robert Bloch’s book from page to screen. Not only does the movie document the many pieces that inform the filmmaking process, it also delves deeply into the psyche of one of the greatest storytellers of all time.
At its core, though, Hitchcock is a love story and a beautiful one at that, carried out by a dark, extremely funny and careful screenplay from John J. McLaughlin, making it easily one of the best “Hollywood on Hollywood” movies ever made. Plus, it boasts two great performances from Mirren and Hopkins, backed by an exceptional supporting cast. You only need one stout reason to see a movie, Hitchcock has several and it is a splendid compliment to the classic film it spotlights.