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Saturday, March 30, 2013

"Hitchcock", zero suspense, dull biopic

Hitchcock

Biopics can be a real torture or, when memorable, a fantastic excuse to discover or re-connect with the film's subject. But there's a third "category", which is usually the most common: a movie that leaves you completely indifferent. Not annoying, but really insipid. "Hitchcock" could be the perfect example. Reminded me to "My Week with Marilyn". Take a cultural myth/icon and put it on an unsubstantial movie.

In this sort of films, it doesn't really matter if you are a fan or a hater, because there's not a real attempt of offering any insight of the biopic's character. That is the case of "Hitchcock". Worse, this film doesn't want to talk about the way Sir Alfred Hitchcock approached cinema, being labelled as the "Master of Suspense" (not me). Doesn't aim to show his peculiar relations with her cast (particularly women), wife, or studios. Doesn't pretend to offer any real tension or obsessions. It's just a expensive tv movie, suitable to anyone. Entertaining enough to keep you going, but nothing else.

"Hitchcock" biggest failure is the lame plot. The whole movie is focused on the director's battle to make "Psycho". Yep, director Sacha Gervasi probably believed that having such a movie classic (not for me) as the plot's subject he didn't have to care about the screenplay. Wrong. From the very beginning we are in front of a game of incoherencies, plotholes. Gervasi chooses a supposedly very dramatic scene that should justify why Hictchcock needed to do "Psycho"... forgetting that before that moment all we had was a triumphant director presuming of their latest success, "North by Northwest". Gervasi gives Vera Miles a shot, on which we assume there was a very "special" issue regarding her relation with the director, then her character gets almost abandoned. I could go on. And the nightmarish scenes on which Alfred "lives" inside the novel that inspired the film are ridiculous.  

With such an empty script, what keeps the movie alive is the marital/work tension between Alfred and his wife Alma. Not because it has any particular strength, but at least it does have coherency and a very solid actress, Helen Mirren, carrying the weight of the film on her reliable shoulders. The rest of the impressive cast does what they can. Good actors on secondary roles like Toni Collette or Michael Wincott have very unrewarding lines. Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh and Jessica Biel as Vera Miles have barely no space to be more than mannequins. On a side note, its a crime that two of the most beautiful actresses look that unattractive on screen. 

And of course, Anthony Hopkins as the "great man himself". Well, he looks like a perfect caricature of the man. You can put all the prosthetics you can, gain weight, and perfect voice and mannerisms as much as you can. That will only mean a fantastic recreation of the person's aesthetics. But you still need a direction, a purpose, a turmoil to get the character alive. Hopkins tries, and as the gifted actor he is, he saves dozens of scenes... but it's still an artifice. He is the epitome of the whole movie, pointless, weak, lifeless. Doesn't harm, but save it just for killing time.  

SCORE: 5/10

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