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Sight and Sound (2013) - Hitchcock




Kemp reviews Hitchcock directed by Sacha Gervasi and starring Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren.



"It sits there refusing to come to life," laments Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) about the initial cut of Psycho - and regrettably, the same could be said of Sacha Gervasi's movie. The plot is partly based on [[Stephen Rebello's non-fiction book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, on to which has been grafted a tale of rifts within Hitchcock's long-term marriage to Alma Reville (Helen Mirren). While Hitch is paying cumbersome attentions to his latest fetishised blonde, Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson), Alma, according to this account, is engaged on a flirtatious relationship with a younger writer, Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston), who worked on the scripts of Stage Fright and Strangers on a Train. There may be some truth in this: Patrick McGilligan's biography Alfred Hitchcock A Life in Darkness and Light suggests as much. But these two elements, the factual and the possibly fictional, never mesh properly and all too often trip each other up.

The physically commanding Mirren, in any case, makes anomalous casting for Alma, generally described as small and birdlike. (Imelda Staunton, who plays her in this year's other Hitch biopic, Julian Jarrold's The Girl, would seem a better fit both physically and temperamentally.) Hopkins, lavishly padded, sticks out his lower lip and makes a fair shot at the orotund, lugubrious diction, although at moments of passion he speeds up, loses the mock-cock...

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