Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins don’t get reel deep in Hitchcock.
HITCHCOCK (Sacha Gervasi). 97 minutes. Opens Friday (November 23). See times. Rating: N
There are bad movies, and then there are abominations. Turning the making of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho into an all-star Hollywood pantomime is a daring idea, but only if you pull it off. And Sacha Gervasi's Hitchcock does not. Not even a little.
Instead, the misbegotten Hitchcock reduces one of cinema's most famously complicated and difficult artists - he once threatened to nail Billy Mumy's feet to the floor if the child actor didn't stop fidgeting - to a fussy gnome with a weight problem and the occasional moment of self-doubt.
Anthony Hopkins looks like he's struggling to breathe under several pounds of latex; Helen Mirren has an easier time as Hitchcock's endlessly indulgent wife, Alma, who the film posits not only co-wrote Psycho but also co-directed and produced it, too - all while considering banging a louche writer (Danny Huston) because she feels neglected at home.
There's artistic licence and Hollywood-awards-bait mythologizing, but this is just bullshit from beginning to end - from the dopey idea that Hitchcock was haunted by the spectre of mass murderer Ed Gein during the shoot to the insipid oversimplification of Hitchcock's obsession with his blond actresses. (Jessica Biel is surprisingly layered as Vera Miles; Scarlett Johansson, as Janet Leigh, is not.)
Someday, someone may make a great movie about Hitchcock. This ain't it. In fact, the only way this could have been worse was if it had been a musical.