A Review of Hitchcock – Starring Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins

**I attended a special early screening of Hitchcock by the OC Film Society. A non-profit membership club that pre-screens dozens of top flight movies – recent selections include Lincoln, Argo, & Brave.** 

It was supposed to be a film about Alfred Hitchcock, the famous director played by Oscar-winner Sir Anthony Hopkins, but it was Helen Mirren who stole the show as Alma Reville – Hitchcock’s wife.

Her performance is so powerful it draws you into the plot, which is equally about her and about Hitchcock. A dualism that collides during one climactic scene – a husband and wife argument. And while both raise their voices and gesticulate angrily, Ms. Mirren terrifies. She is so moving that I felt like a scolded toddler when she finished, but the women in the theater were whooping with delight and cackling smartly at such a telling off.

And that tells the story of this movie, an applause-worthy performance by Ms. Mirren and a comical performance by Sir Hopkins. I couldn’t accept his portrayal of Alfred Hitchcock, unless the man was really like that. With a belly so large, you could rest a drink on it. A cantankerous attitude only lightened by his protruding lips and zany mannerisms.

Despite that, the film moves along at a good pace as the story of Hitchcock’s most famous movie unfolds — Psycho. Based on a novel about the serial killer Ed Gein – whose insane exploits were in Silence of the Lambs – and one of his victims, a woman on the run after having stolen money from her employer.

For a rating, I would give it a “must-see” as an entertaining movie raised up by Mirren’s superior performance. And a bonus if you enjoy historical pieces – the film, set in the 1960s, offers a glimpse of the famous Alfred Hitchcock. The man passed away the day before I was born and received a Lifetime Achievement award the year before. It’s safe to say I never met him, but heard great things, and this film helps to explain why he is known as the “master of suspense.”

About Steven Mandzik:
I'm a geek at large who blogs at http://1x57.com
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