Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
The Making Of The West Wing
Subscribe To Empire Today
Save money and get 12 issues for only £25
London Film Festival 2014
Our round-up of the galas, films and interviews
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
Click poster to enlarge
More posters to select

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Scarlett Johansson
Jessica Biel
Anthony Hopkins
Helen Mirren
Ralph Macchio
Toni Collette
Danny Huston
James D'Arcy.
Directors
Sacha Gervasi.
Screenwriters
John J. McLaughlin
Stephen Rebello.
Running Time
98 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Overnighters, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Fury
3 Star Empire Rating
Way He Looks, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Serena
2 Star Empire Rating
Book Of Life, The
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Le Jour Se Lève
5 Star Empire Rating
Tony Benn: Will And Testament
5 Star Empire Rating
Nightcrawler
5 Star Empire Rating
Babadook, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating

Hitchcock
The trouble with Alfred


submit to reddit


Plot
Alfred Hitchcock (Hopkins) is in a quandary: he’s bet his house on Psycho, Hollywood is appalled, and he’s started hearing voices in his head. Most worryingly, tiring of her lack of credit, his wife and creative crutch Alma Reville (Mirren) is looking to go her own way.


Review
Hitchcock
Browse more images »
Hitchcock might perplex Hitchcock. Not so much the insinuation that he was wrestling with personal as well as creative demons as he attempted his most audacious masterpiece. Hitch made great and bloody hay out of his own anxieties. He might also appreciate the keen focus — rather than serenading his whole career, in adapting Stephen Rebello’s Alfred Hitchcock And The Making Of Psycho, Anvil director Sacha Gervasi sharpens his attention solely on the moment a vulnerable Hitch (Anthony Hopkins) banked his career on Robert Bloch’s brew of transvestism and serial murder (based itself on Ed Gein’s mother fixation). This is a cranky, ageing genius fretting that his finest murders are behind him and his artistic partnership and marriage with Alma Reville (Helen Mirren) is showing signs of wear.

But why, Hitch might grumble, the placid direction and winsome air of old Hollywood tittle-tattle? Well-intentioned but shallow, Gervasi’s film has the blanched, TV-movie complexion of a drama that has turned out a yarn. And given that he was cinema’s great provocateur, Hitch would surely fume, why the hackneyed diagnosis? Gervais seems caught in two minds: psychoanalysis and Psycho-analysis, falling back on cod-psychology. A dot-to-dot guide to Alfred’s obsessions: he had a thing about blondes (never!); he was dependent on Alma (you don’t say!); he was sensitive about his weight (really?), and he could be a bit of a bully on set (astonishing!).

At least when portraying the dare of Psycho, we get teasing, clever scenes on soundstages and in studio anterooms as the literally buttoned-down director manipulates ratings board, studio and vulnerable cast alike. Scarlett Johansson gives a terrifically judged performance as Janet Leigh, all tremulous professionalism as she holds the big man at bay. Jessica Biel adds a touching sensitivity as Vera Miles, the blonde cast aside, and an underused James D’Arcy amusingly skips Anthony Perkins to go straight for Norman Bates.

Here, surely, is the place to ‘discover’ Hitch, at the dark heart of his creativity. Not in the juvenile paraphernalia of having him spar with a surly Gein (Michael Wincott) in the recesses of his subconscious, not leering through a spyhole to Vera’s dressing room (how he loved to watch!), and not in the soapy psychodrama of an ornery marriage, even if Mirren relishes the chance to spruce up dowdy Alma with her eloquent furies and sexy perspicacity; the secret difference between a good director and a great one.

Hopkins might argue, entirely fairly, that his is an interpretation of the man, not mimicry. Just as his beetling Nixon or snide Picasso (fuse those livewires and you somehow get Hitch) sought only their spirit, he draws a familiar outline. But this portly, pouty director fashioned his unlikely frame and puppy-dog manner into a Hollywood brand, and if you know him, you can’t shake him. Comparisons keep welling to the surface: how Hopkins’ eyes are too probing, his presence too superior, and his speech too quick and agitated for Hitch’s dawdling delivery, paced to an afternoon stroll. Hopkins is wily and entertaining, but never convincing.

Much the same could be said for Hitchcock the movie. There are cursory comic pleasures in the skirmishes between studio and quarrelsome filmmaker, wife and defiant husband, blonde and lascivious director, but Gervasi only succeeds in revealing the surface.


Verdict
Hitchcock for dummies: brisk, jolly, well-played but oversimplified.


Reviewed by Ian Nathan

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Hitchcock
Empire Star Rating

"Why do they do it, I wonder... why do they always betray me?"

Quirky and fast-paced, Hitchcock (the film, not the man) maintains too impersonal a distance from its subject matter to be very engaging and, consequently, amounts to little more than a diluted retrospective of its central figure. The man was a legend. The movie is something else entirely... a mindless mishmash of mirth and melodrama. Still worth a look though. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by movienut707 at 23:54, 06 October 2013 | Report This Post


Watched tonight: tp://www.imdb.com/title/tt0975645/?ref_=fn_ al_tt_1]Hitchcockhe story behind the making of Hitch`s biggest succes, Psycho. How does he find the story, how does he handle with stubborn studio execs and what effect does the production have on his personal life? Let`s start with the positives: I really enjoyed seeing all those famous elements from Psycho again, this time from another angle. That was a party of recognition, with a great eye for detail. Anthony Hopkins is fant... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 22:31, 22 May 2013 | Report This Post


RE: too... meh

In 1959, Alfred Hitchcock opens his latest film North By Northwest to considerable success, but is troubled by a reporter’s insinuation that it is time to retire. Seeking to reclaim the artistic daring of his youth, Alfred turns down various film proposals in favour of an adaptation of a lurid horror novel called Psycho by Robert Bloch, which is based on the crimes of the a serial killer named Ed Gein. Alfred’s wife and artistic collaborator, Alma, is initially against the idea but warms to it ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 12:18, 16 February 2013 | Report This Post


too... meh

I found the Ed Gein parts to be the most interesting pieces, would have liked to see a far darker and sexier version of this. Hopkins is ok, but doesn't really sound like Hitch and occasionally he drops the accent/voice all together! It's a bit of a missed opportunity, but it makes me want to visit Hitchcock films again, so it's not all bad. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 17:15, 10 February 2013 | Report This Post


Good Stuff, Hold the Cock...

I really enjoyed Hitchcock. It was pulpy and fun and never boring. I'd like a proper biopic, but this was good for a Saturday evening Cineworld trip :-) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by HulkySmashSmash at 22:32, 09 February 2013 | Report This Post


Moments of brilliance, moments of mundanity. I felt that the performances really carried this film as the threadbare and 'Hitchcock for Dummies' script mainly let the film down. Upsettingly mediocre ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by danfacey711 at 19:18, 08 February 2013 | Report This Post


DECENT STUFF....

AGREE WITH EMPIRE ON THE THREE STARS. THE DIRECTION IS ODD, AS HIGHLIGHTED.... MIRREN THE STAR OF THE SHOW FOR ME.... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by chrisdagnall at 19:07, 08 February 2013 | Report This Post


Very pleasantly surprised by this.

Hopkins is, for the most part, on good form balancing the light and dark sides of Hitchcock. As an audience, you're not persuaded to love or hate him, just be intrigued and observe. A great exercise in filmmaking. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheMightyBlackout at 23:12, 04 February 2013 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Empire Podcast: David Ayer Talks Fury
Plus Steve Carell talks Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Avengers: Age Of Ultron Trailer Reaction
We dive under the hood of Whedon's sequel teaser

10 Of The Most Impressive In-Universe Movie Tie-In Websites
From Blair Witch to Days Of Future Past, expand your cinematic horizons online

The 12 Apps Every Film Fan Needs On Their Smartphone
The handheld essentials to enhance your movie life

Empire Meets Jason Bateman And Tina Fey
The stars of This Is Where I Leave You hang out

The Scariest Film Of The Year? Jennifer Kent On The Babadook
The director talks us through her terrifying new film

10 Horror Spin-Offs We Want To See
After Annabelle, what other supporting characters deserve their own film?

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)