Thursday, February 28, 2013

Movie Review: Hitchcock

Last night, after a productive day, I decided to order a film I've been wanting to see for quite some time:  Hitchcock, with Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren.  As someone who never had much use for cable TV and the On Demand feature when I lived in California, it has been nice--since moving to Washington-- to have the option of immediate rentals of films that didn't play in our area.

With a star studded cast and an intriguing subject, I had high hopes for this film. But even though the two leads are personal favorites, the film fell flat, and I think it was because of the way Hitchcock ("Hitch") was portrayed and a script that couldn't keep its focus.  Anthony Hopkins, who was virtually unrecognizable behind brown contacts and a fat suit, could not act his way through the layers of makeup.  And Helen Mirren was miscast as his dowdy, silently suffering wife.  (There is nothing dowdy about Helen Mirren.)  You don't know how much it pains me to say that, but they could not save this film.

The supporting characters in the story, which was a fictionalized telling of Hitchcock's making of Psycho, were good, but underused.  Scarlett Johansson was a gorgeous Janet Leigh, although not quite as demure as the original; Jessica Biel was a mature and understated Vera Miles, the actress who was supposed to play the lead until pregnancy had her relegated to a supporting role; and Toni Collette was great as Hitch's assistant.

The one who impressed me most, though, was James D'Arcy (Russell Crowe's first mate in Master and Commander, one of my all time favorite movies) as Anthony Perkins, Psycho's star who was forever typecast after taking this role.  He did what Anthony Hopkins could not do this time, which is inhabit the character.  His resemblance to Perkins is astonishing, and his portrayal was creepy in its subtlety, both as the actor Perkins and as Norman Bates.  

Peripheral references to Hitchcock's marriage problems felt whiny and out of place, as if they should've been the subject of a completely different movie.  Or not.

In all, a disappointment.


Anonymous said...

Hmm. I would have expected better from the great Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren. Thanks for a great review. You saved me some time!

Kristie said...

Me too. But in their defense, I don't think it was all their fault. It was just not a well-made film.