Video of the Day: Hitchcock Gets the Film Treatment
|Helen Mirren as Alma Reville and Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock on the set of Hitchcock.|
By Karina Longworth
Early in Hitchcock, Alfred Hitchcock (played by Sir Anthony Hopkins with a sack of fat connecting chin to neck) walks the red carpet at the premiere of his 1959 chase film, North by Northwest. "You're 60 years old!" shouts a reporter. The scene is an announcement that Hitchcock will be the kind of Hollywood movie in which veterans on the verge of obsolescence figure out how to beat the industry's system of cycling out the old in favor of the new. For Hitchcock's Hitchcock, this means breaking away from starry "baubles" like North by Northwest, and exploring riskier territory. "What if someone really good made a horror picture?" he wonders.
Hopkins' imitation of Hitchcock's distinctive vocal cadence is initially disarming, but the performance seems less convincingly human as the film wears on, failing to build on its first impression. Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh looks distractingly like Scarlett Johansson. More painful are the attempts to transform Helen Mirren into a dowdy woman-behind-the-man; her wig could not be shittier. Unfortunately, Hitchcock is a movie about bygone Hollywood that's distinctly a product of Hollywood circa now. It bears the influence of the kind of reality TV in which the subject's career is the excuse for the show, but in terms of screen time what they actually do for a living is relevant only in that it puts them in glamorous locales and in contact with potential catalysts for stock, soapy side-drama.
Hitchock opens Nov. 23 at Sundance Kabuki Cinema, 1881 Post (at Fillmore), S.F. Admission is $10-$11.50; call 346-3243 or visit sundancecinemas.com. Also screens at AMC Metreon, 135 Fourth St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is $9-$12.