HITCHCOCK (M) (98 min)
Directed by Sacha Gervasi. Starring Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins, Scarlett Johansson.
If you like your history neatly packaged, re-written for narrative convenience, and bearing only the faintest relation to reality, then you probably liked A Beautiful Mind a great deal more than I did. You'll also probably like Hitchcock.
Hitchcock purports to tell the story of how Psycho came to be made. North by Northwest was a hit, but Alfred Hitchcock was feeling his age. Overweight, over drinking, and completely over himself, he turned to the most shocking and controversial book in the shops, and set about making a film full of violence, incest, dismemberment, and misogyny.
We know that he succeeded, but Hitchcock the film determinedly dumbs down the story, and buffoon-ises its central character to an insulting degree.
Anthony Hopkins does everything he can with the writing. But Hitchcock the man was an immensely complex and tormented individual. Hitchcock the film settles for somewhere between lecherous and avuncular, and plays everything else for laughs.
It's a competent film, full of craft and professionalism, but I found it irritating and utterly shallow. Feel free to disagree.
- The Dominion Post