So, we all know that buses come along in threes. We also know that the movie industry has a similar trait where rival studios seem to try and bring out the same type of film sometimes only months apart from each other.
Spielberg's latest saw him focus on a (US) national treasure and rather than a full bio-pic, he concentrated the camera on just one chapter in the life of Lincoln. Well, here's your next bus pulling up!
Hitchcock, like the Berg's ode-to-the-stove, presents no back story nor events that preceded the focus of the cinematic story. You either know things that took place before the projector starts running or you don't need to know them to understand and appreciate what is about to be revealed.
And like Lincoln, what is revealed is, not unlike Hitch's Saul Bass' opening credit sequences on his films, strangely mesmerising.
Considered one of the industry's finest (or for those who wish to argue that point, then "most known") directors, Rebello and McLaughlin's screenplay focuses on the large man's struggle to deliver what would become his most greatest critical and financial success - Psycho. Aficionados of the man Hitchcock may find that this telling of the battles between him and the studio along with his more personal battles a tad "over simplified" but then for them there is the films source - the book Alfred Hitchcock And The Making Of Psycho. For the rest, Hitchcock the movie is an insightful, and like the persona that he presented in his many ditties direct-to-camera on his TV show and in his trailers, a somewhat playful observation on events infront of and behind the camera.
The playfulness comes from the films two heavy-weight (and in the case of Alfred himself, over-weight) leads that, whilst still delivering very powerful performances, appear to have some fun with their roles. Especially when sparring against each other over the jealousy's concerning their partners possible infatuations and infidelities. What you get, and what you so quickly begin to accept, is the dynamic between these two with Mirren's Alma easily guiding Hopkins' Alfred towards Psycho's greatest discoveries and moments - the casting of Perkins and Leigh; the death of the leading lady much quicker than half way through for increased shock value. When she argues that she's been there for him over three decades of his movie-making, you believe it.
Like day-Lewis' performance in Lincoln, Hopkins' helps carry the film on his capable shoulders with the rest of the cast bouncing off of him ever-so-easily. Johansson as Leigh nails the "Hitchcock blonde" trying to remain professional around the man who notoriously had a unrequited thing for them whilst Biel as the example of how cold the man could be if he felt abandoned by them has to float in the background, ignored by her once biggest fan.
First major motion picture director Gervasi (his only directing so far was the documentary Anvil!) has fun playing with the camera, allowing it to move as if Hitchcock were directing himself - the long pan down through the rain across a neon-lit cinema, the fast edits when Hitch shows how the shower scene stabbing should be - which helps add to the feel that this is not only about him but could be made by him.
Enlightening, entertaining and overall a fun reenactment of a serious part in Hitch's life story, it is a film worthy of watching, which if you do, you will surely have, as he used to introduce himself, a "good evening."
UK release date: 08.02.13