Alfred Hitchcock was a brilliant, unpredictable man, cold-brimming with signature style and nuance, much like any number of his films. Hitchcock was also a perfectionist, obsessed with endless layers of tedium. It is this latter element of the Hitchcock persona that has proven so enduring over the years. All of which might explain why the director’s work makes so much more sense when presented in the form of a documentary, or a textbook, or even a traveling exhibit, than it does as a major motion picture.
To that end, Sacha Gervasi’s Hitchcock feels wanton hollow on the inside. The film is entertaining, to a degree. And Helen Mirren certainly does do Alma Reville justice. But otherwise, there’s very little worth digging one’s claws into here, above and beyond what amounts to a fairly decent caricature by Anthony Hopkins.
Caricature, as we all know, is the bane of any well-meaning actor.
And it stands to reason that the real Alfred Hitchcock, if not such a slow-moving, corpulent fellow these days, might very well see fit to roll spinning in his grave, should he learn that his genius and legacy had been toyed with in this manner.
(Hitchcock arrives in limited release today with a national rollout to follow.)