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Behind every Psycho is a great woman...

“Hitchcock” is a sly and witty drama that is more of a David vs. Goliath story than a biography. In this case, David carries the girth of Alfred Hitchcock, one of the greatest directors in movie history. The film is more of a tale of artistic expression vs. the 1950s’ status quo, with Hitch, portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, pushing the boundaries of what is considered — and mandated — as good taste by the industry’s powers-that-be. Those powers include the heads of Paramount Pictures as well as the industry’s puritanical censorship board. “Hitchcock” also is a love story focusing on two talented individuals: the director who built his reputation as the “master of suspense” and his equally gifted wife, Alma Reville, played by Helen Mirren, who subordinated her screenwriting and directing career to be his complete partner. It is Alma’s opinions, taste and expertise that Hitch relies upon when making decisions about his movies, including casting, writing and editing. The movie’s centerpiece revolves around the making of “Psycho,” the movie for which Hitchcock is best remembered. The studio opposed this project, wanting Hitch to continue directing films similar to “North by Northwest,” but the director was chafing and felt the need, at age 60, to do something totally unexpected to galvanize his career. He chose “Psycho,” a lurid book by Robert Bloch that was inspired by Ed Gein, a serial killer in Wisconsin in the 1950s. Hopkins is fascinating as Hitchcock. He avoids caricature, portraying a large man with large appetites for food and drink. He also displays Hitch’s dark side, including his obsession over the blonde leading ladies he cast in his movies. But most of all, the feature explores the relationship between Hitchcock and Alma. She copes with his fixations but resents that he seems to take her for granted. She simmers at her secret role in his life and yearns to stand again in the spotlight. She held “Psycho” in contempt, considering it trash. Yet, her casual barb to Hitch — that he should kill off the heroine in the first 30 minutes — inspired him on the movie. Mirren, once again, gives a splendid performance. She is understanding of her husband’s foibles, even as they infuriate her. Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh and Jessica Biel as Vera Miles also are solid. If “Hitchcock” has one misstep, it centers on the scenes in which the director imagines he is talking to Gein (Michael Wincott), especially in his darker moments. These simply do not mesh with the rest of the film. Otherwise, “Hitchcock” is an enjoyable re-enactment of a bygone era and of a filmmaker who had the gumption and initiative to walk his singular path in a manner that allowed him to confront his own inner demons. Courtesy: Bob Bloom, Lafayette Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN) Official Trailer
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Directed by: 
Sacha Gervasi
Running Time: 
Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston, Toni Collette, Jessica Biel, James D'Arcy
Screenplay by: 
John J. McLaughlin, Stephen Rebello

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