Words By Jack Jones
To steal a line from the great Alfred Hitchcock; “Some films are slices of life. Mine are slices of cake”, Sacha Gervasi’s slice on the master of suspense is all very sweet and sugary. Focused on the production of Hitchcock’s most iconic picture Psycho, Gervasi explores the tumultuous but loving relationship between the director and his wife Alma Reville. Reville was also
a long-standing, and much underappreciated, collaborator, editor, scriptwriter and confidante on much of Hitchcock’s movies. Never one to enter the spotlight, Reville was greatly overshadowed by the public persona that was Alfred Hitchcock. Though at times the film sways uncontrollably between the complex relationship of Alfred and Alma and the tortured production of Psycho, there is something valuable to be had from Hitchcock. Served as more a tasting menu than a main course for Hitchcock connoisseurs, if this film achieves anything it’s that it may inspire
Hitchcock novices to discover his films. As a Hitchcock aficionado it’s unlikely you’ll find much that stimulates or expands that already existing knowledge. Inaccuracies and exaggerations will surely irk some. But if even one person takes an interest in one of cinema’s greatest minds and the career of Alma Reville, the film will have succeeded.
If the film paints Hitchcock with a broad brush in terms of his insecurities and obsessions it’s because they were not just evident during this time. Even recently, a BBC/HBO production focused on the twisted relationship between Hitch and Tippi Hedren in the making of The Birds, his next film after Psycho. Clearly Hitchcock had certain ticks and tendencies, but what is
evident is that genius often comes with a high price. As someone who took the brunt, no doubt, of all of Hitchcock’s eccentricities, Helen Mirren bullishly plays that great woman who’s behind every great man. And Anthony Hopkins finds the perfect balance of getting the impersonation out of the way and allowing for a performance to breath. As two of
Britain’s most iconic thespians, it seems somewhat fitting that they star in a film about an icon. And even Though Hitchcock may take a saccharine approach to the man behind the icon, there’s enough of the iconic Hitch wit and and humour to keep you entertained. How much credit goes to the filmmakers exactly, however, is another matter.