Reviewed by Movie Moxie’s Alicia Glass
Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG 13
Director: Sacha Gervasi
Review Rating: 8
The story of the trials, tragedies, and triumphs of legendary director Alfred Hitchcock’s magnum opus, Psycho.
Our story opens with that crazed little mama’s boy, Ed Gein, getting hauled off by the police and his works being the inspiration for a now-infamous book, Psycho by Robert Bloch, which in turn becomes the inspiration for the creativity-blocked movie maker Alfred Hitchcock for his next film. Just coming off his huge success of North by Northwest, Hitch as he’s called by friends (“Call me Hitch, hold the cock” yes he does actually say that) decides to make Psycho into a movie and won’t be swayed by anyone telling him no. Not the film companies, not the actors, not the Press, nope, he delights in antagonizing every last one of them with his indisputable genius at movie making. The only support he gets throughout this entire struggle is from his beloved wife, Alma Reville, who comforts him when he needs it, helps him write the script, and even takes over directing when Hitch collapses from the strain. To take off some of her own tension, Alma spends time with her friend Whitfield Cook, which of course leads Hitch to suspect an affair. Then again, Alfred is a tad infamous by now for his “Hitchcock blondes”, which is leading to strain and suspicion on Alma’s part; everyone is stressing the hell out now. Time and money are running out, and combined with the strain everyone is under, Hitch despairs of saving himself from himself. What we need is a guardian angel, to combine her practicality and faith with Hitch’s vision to turn Psycho into something spectacular, never seen it’s equal before or since!
Yes, it’s the story of the making of Psycho. It’s also a story of enduring love between Alma and Alfred Hitchcock, one that lasted through suspicion and grief, stress and drinking and overeating, fading youth and beauty, to reveal a love that is rare in this world, especially in the often terrible world of filmmaking. Astoundingly acted by Sir Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock himself, the accent and the mannerisms are brought to the fore in a completely believable way. Helen Mirren gives us Alma, and her performance brings to mind tempered steel, as strong and graceful as she is, the perfect choice to be the equal of Hopkins own performance. Scarlette Johanssen is Janet Leigh, the female lead of Psycho, and she does a good job of the kind starlet stressed from that damnable shower scene. Michael Wincott, of the gravelly voice and rugged good looks, is the vision of Ed Gein that plagues Hitch throughout his work on the film. Danny Huston is womanizer Whitfield Cook, I often questioned his desire to be “helpful” to Alma throughout the process. And James D’Arcy is Anthony Perkins, he who made Norman Bates to be a name forever recognized in the Horror genre world; D’Arcy gave the unenviable task of acting as another legendary actor a grand and admirable life all its’ own.
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