Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Hopkins' entertaining performance fuels larky 'Hitchcock'

It takes a certain amount of gutsiness for an actor to try to transform himself onscreen into one of the most famous and recognizable icons in the history of film. But Anthony Hopkins has guts to spare—as it were—in Hitchcock, stepping into the familiar persona and famed portly silhouette of the movies' grand master of the macabre, Alfred Hitchcock.

Well, it's not exactly a transformation; from the lugubrious voice and eccentric diction to the baleful bloodhound gaze, there's not a second when we're not watching Hopkins play Hitch.

But the entertaining spectacle of Hopkins' performance is its own reward in a film that never takes itself too seriously. Although the film is inspired by Stephen Rebello's non-fiction book, "Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho," don't expect a doc-like piece of investigative research, or even a typical showbiz bio.

The real Hitch on the "Psycho" set
Instead, director Sacha Gervasi adopts a larky approach in this pastiche of backstage Hollywood maneuvering built around the peculiar personal dynamic between the mercurial Hitch and his long-suffering, but briskly loyal wife and longtime creative partner, Alma Reville, played with sense and sensibility by the ever-wonderful Helen Mirren.

Scripted by John J. McLaughlin, Hitchcock begins and ends like an episode of the old Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV series, with the maestro appearing onscreen to deliver a wry introduction and epilogue directly to the audience. (A reference that might be lost on viewers unfamiliar with the show.)

Then the story kicks in. In 1960, searching for a new property to fulfill his contract with Paramount, Hitch discovers the novel, "Psycho," by Robert Bloch. Inspired by the crime spree of notorious real-life Wisconsin serial killer, Ed Gein, the book has everything Hitch's prurient soul delights in—deviant and/or illicit sexuality, voyeurism, unhealthy obsessions, a blonde in jeopardy, and, of course, murder. (Read more)

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