One of the reasons I eagerly want to watch a movie is to see good acting. I'm intrigued to see how the actors and actresses of a movie did a great transformation into somebody else or, particularly, a real-life person. That's why I listed "Hitchcock" in the last year's watchlist. I see Anthony Hopkins physically transformed into a guy known as a legendary director as well as the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, and taking an outlook of behind-the-scene of his masterpiece, "Psycho", as a premise may become a guarantee that "Hitchcock" is a movie that you just can't miss. But did it even help?
“Hitchcock” is about, of course, Alfred Hitchcock. After the success of “North by Northwest” in 1959, Alfred Hitchcock (played by Anthony Hopkins) wanted to make a new picture that could possibly recapture his credibility and excitement. Then, he decided to adapt a horror novel, “Psycho”, although everybody doubted that it would be a big success. Not exceptionally his wife, Alma Reville (played by Helen Mirren). She lost her temper seeing how Hitchcock seemed very obsessed with the actress he casted as the leading role, Janet Leigh (played by Scarlett Johansson). In the opposite way, Hitchcock himself was envious seeing his wife collaborating with Whitfield Cook (played by Danny Huston) in creating a screenplay for a movie.
In brief, "Hitchcock" is a slightly better version of "The Iron Lady". While in "The Iron Lady" Meryl Streep transformed into Margareth Thatcher, in "Hitchcock" Anthony Hopkins transformed into Alfred Hitchcock. But both just almost did the same thing: putting the masterpiece of those legendary figures aside and focusing on their personal life. The making of "Psycho" is a jumping point to scope more about the personal life of Hitchcock. In this case, it's about the relationship of him and his wife, Alma Reville. So, if you expect to see a detailed reconstruction of the making of "Psycho", you will be disappointed. "Psycho" is just a sample of the nearly indescribable and comprehensive life of Alfred Hitchcock, and while the behind-the-scene premise began to be interesting (there's a sense of film-inside-a-film in "Hitchcock"), "Hitchcock" changed its track to the emotional conflict between Hitchcock and Alma. Maybe that's what makes this movie a little bit exhausting, since neither the emotional conflict nor the behind-the-scene of "Psycho" was explored enough, but luckily Sacha Gervasi, the director, was able to put it back to its initial track so that "Hitchcock" looks finished and resolved in the ending. The way these two big premises intertwined may seems forced (I just didn't like seeing how Alfred hallucinated about the killer in “Psycho”; it was very staged), but seeing them wholly made me satisfied and, in a way, entertained. And “Hitchcock” is far less grandiose in taking a story of an amazing figure into a biopic, because it is light, somewhat comedic, and unambitious.
A thumbs-up of "Hitchcock" is, of course, for the cast. Well, I don't know how the real Alfred Hitchcock walked, talked, and behaved, but for me, Anthony Hopkins is pretty amazing in this movie. Becoming a totally different person, he just nailed it. The makeup team did such an amazing job in making him physically looks similar to the real Alfred, although—I don't know—I guess Hopkins made Hitchcock a little bit comedic and less expressive (or was the real Hitchcock like that?). In the other hand, Helen Mirren did a more emotional acting for her character. She maybe not as transformed as Hopkins, but she was more attention-stealing. Like the old saying told us, "Behind a great man, there's a great woman", that's what makes Alma more to be a key character rather than Hitchcock himself. Scarlett Johansson, still, was adorable and the rest of the cast succeeded portraying their characters in their own capacity.
Finally, "Hitchcock" is entertaining, but it still isn't as glamorous and remarkable as Alfred Hitchcock. I understand why Anthony Hopkins didn't get any buzz for his performance in this movie because, although he's amazing, the makeup department is the one that deserves accolades. While "Hitchcock" supposedly talks more about Alfred Hitchcock, not about "Psycho", it still has a better wrap-up than "The Iron Lady".
▲ Great job from the makeup department, Helen Mirren
▼ Unexpectedly dramatic instead of biographical
HITCHCOCK | COUNTRY USA YEAR 2012 RATING Rated PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content and thematic material RUNTIME 98 min GENRE Biography, Drama CAST Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston, Toni Collette WRITER John J. McLaughlin (screenplay), Stephen Rebello (book) DIRECTOR Sacha Gervasi IMDB RATING 7.0/10 METACRITIC 56/100 (Mixed or Average Reviews) ROTTEN TOMATOES 66% MORE INFO