Hitchcock is a film aimed firmly at the fans. Those who do not know much about the legendary director, and those who have not even heard the name Alfred Hitchcock, will not find a lot to interest or engage them. Anthony Hopkins plays the renowned master of suspense and Helen Mirren his wife, Alma Reville. The film focuses on their close, yet tempestuous, relationship – specifically during the conception and production of Psycho, arguably his most famous film.

Careful attention is paid to the casting in order to match the current actors to their 1960s counterparts. The thought and care placed into the hair, make-up and costumes helps render the past authentically; while the supporting cast do a good job of portraying the actors beyond the characters they played on screen to such acclaim. It is still somewhat strange to watch Jessica Biel doing a period piece, but she passes convincingly as Vera Miles, developing her performance with unexpected gentleness. Toni Collette’s performance as Hitchcock’s personal assistant Peggy Robertson is meticulous and unassuming; while Hopkins and Mirren have great chemistry and pull off the roles of Hitchcock and Reville respectively. A lot of credit, however, is due to the script, which is witty, impish and charming.

Bernard Herrman’s famous score is lovingly re-created and punctuates the film, further honouring the celebrated slasher and its director, as well as the composer he worked with so often. Although, again, this is probably something which will be noted and appreciated only by those familiar with it. The film serves as a glimpse behind the scenes of film production and the layering of a film-within-a-film adds an interesting dimension. A noble effort is made to portray the director as the world knew him – a bold genius, who was difficult to work with, yet everyone wanted to – while giving overdue credit to the support and influence his wife continually gave him, which Hitchcock himself always acknowledged.

Originally published on Fortress of Solitude.

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