Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Stabbing pain, beating hearts

Parts reverential biopic and probing art analysis, “Hitchcock” is an endearing look at inimitable filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock’s marital blues and temperaments while making the 1960 shocker “Psycho.”

The “Master of Suspense” is played by Anthony Hopkins, made more rotund but not really unrecognizable. The impersonation amazes; his gait and speech patterns mostly resemble the director’s. His simple but heartwarming story is enhanced by the focus on his unsung heroine and wife Alma, impressively portrayed by Helen Mirren.

Itching to make new art, Hitchcock (or “Hitch” to his wife and close friends) is inexplicably drawn to the book “Psycho.” Funding the movie adaptation himself, he finds the process liberating, despite facing constraints such as strict censors and skeptical members of the press.

Through it all, Alma is the unwavering partner seeking to carve her own path by collaborating with her close friend Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston), who wishes her husband would translate his script for the big screen.

“Hitchcock” breezes through its intended points of focus with nary a hitch. From the director’s obsession with the gruesome tale to his unrequited attraction to his blonde bombshell leads, the mingling of self-doubt and purpose in dream sequences is artfully and humorously done. His conflicted real-life bonds with his actresses (played by Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Biel) are likewise interesting, further enhancing the central relationship angle with his long-overshadowed spouse.

“Hitchcock” will be screened exclusively at Ayala Cinemas starting Feb.6.

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