This week at MM’s favourite cinema, Hitchcock, the bio-pic that spills the beans on the making of Psycho, hits the screens.
Few bio-pics are successful ventures. Just look at the tedious bore that Speilberg’s Lincoln, also currently in cinemas, proved to be.
If the story of how America’s patron saint emancipated the slaves failed to inspire, the question must be asked: Does the story of the charismatic director’s trials and tribulations during the making of Psycho warrant a film in itself?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Hitchcock created one of the greatest horror films ever made with Psycho, but attempting to justify the making of the film as a narrative in itself was always going to be an uphill struggle.
Beyond an intriguing 30-minute first act, the film quickly descends into a fanboy-induced impersonation rather than performance, and indulgence rather than plot.
After introducing us to an early-60s Hitchcock at the top of his game, Anthony Hopkins portrays a director almost tired of success, and looking to take a risk.
However except for the initial financing of the making of Psycho, Hitchcock struggles to showcase any genuine tension or provoke any audience investment throughout.
This is because the breakdown of the relationship Hitchcock had with his wife is forwarded as the only genuine conflict in the story – and it’s a conflict that ultimately feels forced and shoehorned in.
Fans of the director’s incredible career will enjoy this rather disappointing outing simply in how it correlates with much of the myth that has been built around Alfred Hitchcock.
However this is an isolated pleasure in a film that quickly forfeits any cinematic quality in favour of a sensibility that almost feels like a made-for-TV documentary.
The great man himself wouldn’t be all too pleased.
Image courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures via YouTube, with thanks.