Behind every great man is an even greater woman. Auteur, filmmaking idol and Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock is no exception to this rule.
In 1959, after 33 years of marriage, it seems the Alfred (Anthony Hopkins) and his wife Alma Reville (Helen Mirren) are still learning things about one another. They also aren’t immune to paranoia, suspicion and jealousy. Searching for his next project after ‘North By Northwest’, Hitchcock becomes deeply drawn to the story of Ed Gein (Michael Wincott), a man later portrayed as Norman Bates. With studios refusing to fund the film due to its dark and disturbing subject matter, Hitchcock battles with studio executives, movie sensors, actors, industry politics and his own mental stability to make what is arguably his greatest work. All this is merely the backdrop to what is happening behind the behind the scenes, as Hitch and his wife struggle with their finances, self-worth and deep suspicions of infidelity on both sides.
This is a fascinating look at the making of one of the most famous films in history, and the tales and people at the root of it all. The trials, the tribulations and the human element behind it just goes to show that between then and now, as much as things change, they also stay the same.
The film itself takes an interesting approach by using Hitchcock-isms to tell the story, such as starting and ending the film by the man himself addressing the audience. It also takes creative license by depicting Hitchcock as a haunted man, suffering from dreams and visions of his current creative muse, Mr Gein. Turning Hitchcock into a compulsive eating loon with a creepy perverted side might not go down well with fans and filmgoers in general. Depicting a hero as flawed is one thing, but making him out to be downright unlikable is a gamble that rarely pays off.
This is a fascinating look at the making of one of the most famous films in history, and the tales and people at the root of it all.
Helen Mirren is mesmerising as Hitchock’s wife. Overlooked and under-appreciated by many, she’s actually the brains behind the genius man and the one that keeps him going. As the woman behind the man she struggles to find her place and value in the life of a man surrounded by beautiful women who become his temporary infatuations. Hopkins doesn’t quite nail the roll of the multifaceted filmmaker, relying a little to heavily on the body suit and makeup to do the job for him.
An interesting piece for industry members and film aficionados, but Hitchcock fans and others in search of a brillant movie in honour of the great man are going to be left wanting.