EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


November 22, 2012

Hitchcock movie disappointing

It is often said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. This may be true generally but not in the case of “Hitchcock,” where imitation is less than complimentary and more something that will have the late “master of suspense” rolling in his grave.

First we have Anthony Hopkins, donning a terrible make-up and enacting a scenery-chewing impression of the classic filmmaker. Then, to push the knife in further, “Hitchcock” relies solely on references to the famous filmmaker’s work to drive its narrative (and attempted sense of humor) forward.

So, in other words, if you recently visited the Alfred Hitchcock Wikipedia page you will likely understand most of “Hitchcock’s” jokes — but that does not mean you will find them funny.

The entire film is exhaustively crammed with rib nudges and winks at the audience — none of them really that clever — and assumes that because the present audience understands the jokes while the characters don’t, this makes the jokes witty.

So when Hopkins’s shadow appears against the wall to mimic the classic Hitchcock silhouette (multiple times, mind you), this speaks for the entire movie’s style of humor.

People unaware of Hitchcock’s history may find some of the central premise interesting — which follows the production of Hitchcock’s hit “Psycho”—but anybody who has ever read about it, heard about, or even remotely aware of it will enter a movie experience of painful reiteration.

The Wikipedia page I mentioned earlier would be a lot less painful, and one would probably find it far more interesting.

It would probably be a more comfortable experience too, as “Hitchcock” unwisely tries to balance its poor humor with poor taste — attempting to dive headfirst into the director’s psyche and easily drowning in the process. It has been understood that Hitchcock was a bit of a creep and a bit of a “psycho” himself, but the movie turns his perversions into parody.

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