Saturday, March 9, 2013
"Lights, Camera, Scream"
After the success of North By Northwest Alfred Hitchcock begins the searching for what his next movie will be which leads him to Psycho.
Hitchcock opens like a scene out of an episode of Alfred Hitchcock presents with Ed Gein (Michael Wincott ) murdering his brother and Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) talking to the audience. In 1959 Hitchcock is leaving the successful premiere of his latest film North By Northwest along with his wife Alma (Helen Mirren) when he is asked about what is next for the aging Director who is 60 years old and why don't he just retire on top.
Hitchcock does his best to not take offense to the question comes back with a witty remark and leaves, some time later with the help of his assistant Peggy (Toni Collette) he begins searching for his next movie project, at the same time Hitchcock and Alma's mutual friend Whitfield "Whit" Cook (Danny Huston) has been working on a new project that he wants to make Hitchcock next project along with the help of Alma who is a respected writer in her own right presents Whit's story to Hitchcock, who isn't interested in doing anything that is like nor similar to what he has done in the past, he wants to do something brand new, fresh unlike anything he has done before.
One day Hitchcock comes across the book of Psycho written by Robert Bloch and based on famed serial killer Ed Gein who ended up being the bases for 3 different horror characters Norman Bates, Leatherface, and Buffalo Bill. Hitchcock finds himself so drawn into the book that he has Peggy get everyone that works for Hitchcock to go all over a buy every copy of the book, He has found his next project.
At first every one including Alma thinks that Hitchcock should not make this movie which at the time was very controversial because of the subject matter and the different themes that are brought up in the book, like hints of incest, crossdressing, violence and nudity.
Hitchcock finally gets Alma on his side about making the movie in which they have to finance themselves on a smaller budget then he wanted, with that he had to look for not so well known stars to make this movie, he comes across Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson) who Hitchcock has had his eyes on literally for sometime to be the lead Marion Crane, Fresh face Anthony Perkins(James D'arcy) as Norman Bates, Vera Miles(Jessica Biel) as Lila Crane.
As production begins on Psycho, Hitchcock's personal life begins to take a turn for the worst when Alma is somewhat pushed away from and drawn more to Whitfield who seems to have more then just business on his mind with her, but like always Hitchcock knows that something isn't right there but he can't seem to do anything about it, because he gets deeper and deeper into the mind of Ed Gein who he actually begins to see and talk too.
Somehow with the personal and professional issues that surround him, Hitchcock finds a way to make one of not only the best horror films but one of the best movies in cinema history.
Anthony Hopkins gives an award worthy performance as Alfred Hitchcock by getting his speech and mannerism down to a science, I don't understand how he didn't get nominated for any major awards for this role, I guess some people where to busy giving to much praise to Daniel Day Lewis for playing Lincoln which has been played countless times before.
Helen Mirren shows that age still is just a number even though she is old enough to be my Grandmother almost she still is a beautiful woman and shines in every scene she is in even with those old school glasses and has the toughest job of being Alfred Hitchcock's wife and also co filmmaker herself, but she is the only one who can reign in Hitchcock when he gets to close to the edge of destruction.
Scarlett Johansson is a joy as young Janet Leigh, probably one of her better acting roles, I repeat acting roles, I always believe its tougher for actors to play real people but when your playing a real person that is playing a character in the film with in the film I believe that is very tough to do, but she pulls it off with little to know effort.
Jessica Biel seems to be a little wooden at times, but I don't necessarily blame it all on her, Vera Myles is second fiddle to Janet Leigh in this movie and in the movie Psycho anyway and she really isn't given to much to do here, I believe any young actress could've played this role.
My favorite thing about this movie was the interactions between Hitchcock and Ed Gein who is played very well by one of my favorite underrated actors Michael Wincott, I believe if another movie about Ed Gein is made he should play him because just the little bit that we get of his Gein here needs its on story told.
Anthony Hopkins- Alfred Hitchcock
Helen Mirren- Alma Reville
Scarlett Johansson -Janet Leigh
Danny Huston- Whitfield Cook
Jessica Biel- Vera Miles
Toni Collette- Peggy Robertson
James D'arcy- Anthony Perkins
Michael Wincott- Ed Gein
All in All I was very pleased with this little film that didn't get any kind of notice during this past award season, with atleast 3 award worthy performances Anthony Hopkins(Best Actor), Helen Mirren and Scarlett Johansson (Best Supporting Actress).
If your a fan of the movie Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock and what it takes to actually make a movie, then Hitchcock is a must seem and I doubt you will be disappointed.
Rent It, Buy It, Stream it If you must but most importantly check it out.