Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sacha Gervasi: Hitchcock

Hitting select cinemas with the sickening thud of the corpse of a master director's career against the collective conscious windshield, Sacha Gervasi's narrative debut Hitchcock is a travesty in every sense of the word. Desecrating a legend, sullying a name and family, and tarnishing the synthesis of one of his great masterpieces, this dramatization of Alfred Hitchcock's definitive moments leading up to one of the greatest films ever made, Psycho, is tasteless and offensive.

John J. McLaughlin's screenplay is all sound and no fury, as he focuses on the most lurid and debateable aspects of Stephen Rebello's hotly contested book on the making of one of the master's great works. Gervasi paints in sledgehammer blows, directing much of his cast to a state of hysteria that is wretchedly campy and intermittently nauseating.

Anthony Hopkins, under pounds of eyesore make-up and prosthetics, is truly bad, his incantation of Sir Alfred all surface, and what an unpleasant surface that is. Helen Mirren is soarly miscast as his devoted wife Alma; her subplot involving adultery with a wasted Danny Huston is ludicrous to say the least. What's most enraging is the team's portrayal of Hitch as sociopathic, creepy, and psycho himself. The entire affair goes from bad to worse, until even the most clueless viewer would have to be a masochist (or sadist) to stay through the end credits.

This lousy picture's only saving graces are the uncanny turns of James D'Arcy and Scarlett Johansson, both superb as Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh, respectively, and master Danny Elfman's wonderful score, so deserving of a better movie to contain it.

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