Directed By: Sacha Gervasi
Written By: John J. McLaughlin
Based On The Book “ALFRED HITCHCOCK AND THE MAKING OF PSYCHO”: Stephen Rebello
Cinematography By: Jeff Cronenweth
Editor: Pamela Martin
Music By: Danny Elfman
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Jessica Biel, Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston, Toni Colette, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Wincott, James D’Arcy, Richard Portnow, Kurtwood Smith, Wallace Langham, Ralph Macchio
In 1959, Alfred Hitchcock and his wife, Alma, are at the top of their creative game as filmmakers amid disquieting insinuations about it being time to retire. To recapture his youth’s artistic daring, Alfred decides his next film will adapt the lurid horror novel, Psycho, over everyone’s misgivings. Unfortunately, as Alfred self-finances and labors on this film, Alma finally loses patience with his roving eye and controlling habits with his actresses. When an ambitious friend lures her to collaborate on a work of their own, the resulting marital tension colors Alfred’s work even as the novel’s inspiration haunts his dreams.
This film might have been ineffectual for me because I already knew most of the stories behind the making of psycho. So watching this film is really only a dramatization of what I already knew and it might be the same for most for hard film fans. I can only really see this film as being enjoyed for being informative for those not in the know and also amazed by a honey Hopkins impersonation of Alfred Hitchcock.
Among the actors who were considered or interviewed for the role of Alfred Hitchcock during the long preproduction were Oliver Platt, Richard Griffiths, Alfred Molina, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Murray and Johnny Depp.
Among actors considered/auditioned to play Anthony Perkins were Ben Barnes, Jack Huston, Jackson Rathbone, Tom Felton, Ryan Merriman and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
Andrew Garfield’s rehearsal schedule and Broadway run in “Death of a Salesman” made him unavailable for the role of Anthony Perkins.
During the lengthy development process, actresses considered or seen for the roles of Janet Leigh and Vera Miles included Reese Witherspoon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Evan Rachel Wood, Abbie Cornish, January Jones, Chloë Sevigny, Kate Mara, Brit Marling, Ashley Greene, Emilie de Ravin, Camilla Belle, Natalie Dormer, Dianna Agron, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Sarah Gadon. In the end, Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Biel were cast.
This is a hard film to describe as who is the films intended market film aficionados? Too lazy to read the book it’s based upon? Going for the age old example of waiting for the book to come out and got lucky? As the film really doesn’t have a conventional narrative that leaves a modern audience embroiled in the story. As we know how it ends and the stakes aren’t that high. While it’s a interesting behind the scenes journey learning more about the infamous director and his decisions. Making the film as well as is learning about certain stars.
Yet it leaves it’s actors adrift as they seem. Not to be creating or inhabiting characters as much as impersonating them. Which maybe die to the nature of this project. They are sideline support like how Hitchcock seemed to feel about actors as a means to an end. Here Hitchcock is front and center. As is Helen Mirren as his wife. The revised screenplay contained a large number of scenes for the characters of Janet Leigh, Vera Miles and Anthony Perkins. They were never filmed
The melodramatic scenes between them and the problematic marriage. Which coincide with the troubling production is nice and serves to more help fill out the story. Which seems necessary for the film, but also seems to be added. Such as the scenes where Hitchcock imagines talking to Ed Gein. The serial killer psycho is loosely based on. Which seems useless except to display his darkest thoughts and serves to only further the story in one scene.
The film seems like a good idea, but like the similar. Behind the scenes HBO Hitchcock project/movie THE GIRL about production on the film THE BIRDS. This seems like perfect material more for the small screen as a Tv-movie maybe on show time. It could have been an interesting rival between the two projects. For a big screen story. It take a lot which with this film feels very thin. It moves along and is More comedic at times.
The film just feels more like a reference guide then an actual moving story.
For film fans it might be a light look at the making of a classic, bit I would suggest, just reading the book which lays out the facts and information. So that it doesn’t have to necessarily fill in things to make it more interesting. It’s an original take on the film. It just doesn’t seem to work satisfyingly.
Anthony Hopkins gives a good performance in his impersonation. Helen Mirren is excellent and enchanting as always. Everyone else is on though I must say Jessica Biel really surprised me as her part was written for dramatic and she makes it work for both her and her character. Showing a depth I have never seen in any of her performances before. This film made her a full-fledged actress of talent in my eyes.
The film says it stars Anthony Hopkins and Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Biel. The two actresses play more small supporting roles in the film. It is really Hopkins and Mirren’s show.