The story of iconic horror film ‘Psycho’ is brought to the big screen, with mixed results and a surprisingly average performance by Sir Anthony Hopkins.
Hopkins portrays director Alfred Hitchcock and while he has clearly put a tremendous amount of effort into the part, it all just seems a bit comical. His accent feels forced and some of the shapes his mouth makes when creating this are almost a caricature.
Set in 1959, Hitchcock has just unveiled his latest feature, ‘North by Northwest‘, to great critical acclaim. Yet, when a reporter tells him it may be time to retire from directing, he sets out to prove him wrong by creating ‘Psycho‘, a controversial horror film like nothing anyone has seen before.
Cast packed with stars
While the story is interesting, it is nice to see the trials and tribulations that Hitchcock went through to get the film into the cinema. However, it just does not develop any of the characters enough. It could almost be compared to a BBC or ITV drama, which it would be far more suited for.
Along with Hopkins, the cast is packed with big names. Helen Mirren gives a good performance as Hitchcock’s wife Alma, a strong woman who aids her husband in everything from watching his weight, to choosing the right music for Psycho’s well known shower scene. The relationship between these two is the highlight of the film, even though their slight issues in the middle are ironed out far too quickly.
Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers), Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense) and Jessica Biel (Total Recall) may seem like a great supporting cast, but none of them shine and it seems they are trying to sell this film simply on its cast. None of these characters are developed at all; they just play their roles and are then forgotten.
Sacha Gervasi (Anvil) had a tough task of directing a film based on a man who was labeled the ‘best director in Britain.’ He does not include any of Hitchcock’s unique or inventive techniques, instead settling on an un-ambitious style, which hardly holds any interest.
Should have been so much more
It is only when the film enters its final stages that things become enjoyable. One scene in particular when Hitchcock has a look at ‘Psycho’ during its opening night and then dances around, performing stabbing movements in time with the music is actually great.
Too many let downs really detract from the appeal of this film and it could and probably should have been so much more.
Hitchcock is released nationwide on Friday (8 February)