By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Three Beers) –
In the late 50’s-early 1960’s Alfred Hitchcock was at the top of the world. Coming off the immensely successful spy-flick North by Northwest, and with the new and wildly successful TV suspense series to his name, he is the first filmmaker to cross over into celebrity status. In spite of this success, Hitchcock realizes that he is facing his biggest career challenge: repeating the success of his biggest film ever (up to that point). After some searching, he settles on adapting the recently published book loosely based on the story of Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein. As he fights with the studios to get the financing, he also struggles with keeping his marriage with wife Alma (Hellen Mirren) together.
Anthony Hopkins hasn’t had a real meaty role in years
Did somebody say meat?
Not that he hasn’t been working, he’s had some small supporting roles and many are admirable. However, it has been nearly a decade since he’s had the chance to give a lead performance in a big film. And in Hitchcock he manages a solid and complex performance, depicting the aforementioned director as embattled, ostentatious, slightly crazy, and yet sympathetic.
There are really three sides to this film; the first being the fairly straightforward scenes chronicling the making of Psycho, and the challenges of making an edgy movie in an industry used to censorship. The second aspect covers Hitchcock’s rocky marriage, and how both Hitchcock and wife Alma, while working well together professionally, were in danger of growing apart as soul-mates. Finally, there are sequences in which Hitchcock daydreams of meeting with Ed Gein, which serve as a sort of psychoanalysis of the filmmaker.
His therapy includes a shovel and a bag of lime
Entertaining as the film is, it does have some flaws. The subplot involving Hitchcock’s rocky marriage is far less interesting than the other parts. Thankfully Helen Mirren is a strong enough actress to carry the drama through, forced that it might be. And the story itself never strays too far from the standard biopic formula, casting a decidedly rosy image of its characters, and avoiding any real controversies.
The first scene in which Ed Gein appears is supposed to take place in Wisconsin, and is clearly shot in southern California. Pro-Tip, Hollywood: Wisconsin has exactly zero deserts.
Pictured above: Not Wisconsin
This is the third film in recent memory to make this mistake, the others being Atlas Shrugged Parts 1 and 2… You don’t want to be compared with those films, ever…
It won’t win Oscars, but it’s solid entertainment.
Take a Drink: when Hitchcock drinks.
Take a Drink: for each Ed Gein hallucination.
Holy shit, Ralph Macchio is still around? Drink a Shot.