Alfred Hitchcock’s reign as the master of suspense is, to this day, uncontested. He is an icon to an industry comprised of icons. The films he created became a standard for which very few have been able to meet, in particular, Psycho stands out as his most gruesome and shocking picture; and it almost wasn’t made. No one was excited about the prospect of funding a film based on the events surrounding the infamous killer Ed Gein. So, he funded it himself. 2012s Hitchcock is the story of the iconic director and his crusade to make the film that no one wanted to watch. The progression of events leading up to the release of Psycho blossoms on screen with suspense, laughter and excellent production value.
Anthony Hopkins plays the titular director along with Helen Mirren who plays his long-suffering wife, Alma Reville. The movie starts just after the release of North by Northwest and Hitchcock is looking for a book on which to base his next picture. Once he settles on the book Psycho he sets himself up for storms of opposition. After convincing his wife that making Psycho is the right move, he begins the production process. There are numerous obstacles both with the production and his personal life that act as the driving force behind the drama of the film. In particular, Hitchcock’s relationship with his wife is what really makes the film compelling.
Alma is constantly putting up with her husband’s vises, namely his wandering eyes, alcohol problem and excessive eating. This drives her to spend more time with her author friend, Whitfield Cook. The film is foremost a love story between Alfred and Alma, albeit a broken love story. The two are incomplete without the other, and are both very broken people. Psycho acts as an allegory for their relationship, without both actively working on it, it is destined to fail, but when they work together it is a piece of true art.
The sets and costumes in the movie take the viewer back to 1959 in every way. The studio sound stages along with all the props, act as a visual time machine, impressive in it’s attention to detail. The costumes are fantastic in an all encompassing picture of the past, vibrant and conservative. It isn’t showy in it’s nature, but you can’t help but gawk at the authenticity of the film. There is a certain romanticism surrounding mid 20th century period pieces when they are done well; and Hitchcock, true to the director’s nature, sets the standard.
What the film manages to do is give fascinating incite into the creation of the most famous horror movie in history, while giving an excellent dramatic love story with compelling, convicting actors. The film is a testament to the power of love and the difficulties encompassed inside a love story with two broken individuals. The scares are effective, the laughs entertain us, but at the core of Hitchcock is a heartfelt, painful, beautiful love story between two people that were absolutely meant to be together, and meant to display horrific murders on screen to millions of people.
I’ve been writing this little blog for 1 year as of yesterday (4/21). I love to write about movies and I’m excited to keep writing in the coming year. I’m thankful to all of my friends and family that have encouraged me to keep writing, and everyone that takes the time to read my little reviews. So, since I’m celebrating 1 whole year, I’ve decided to give away the best movie of all time (at least according the the latest Sight & Sound list) to one lucky winner. That is to say: I’m giving away Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo on DVD. here are the rules in order to be eligible.
1. “Like” Popcorn and Peril on Facebook if you haven’t already done so.
2. Share this post (or any of my previous posts) on Facebook and let me know that you have done so.
3. Do all of the above before April 28th 4PM PST
That’s it! I’ll announce the winner on Monday, April 29, 2013. The prize can only be shipped within the US. Good luck and thanks for reading!