That shower scene!
Psycho, shot completely in black and white. She stands there. Naked. Scarlett Majojo as Janet Leigh. The music rises. The shower curtain is drawn back by a silhouetted figure. Brandishing a knife. “Janet” screams. The knife comes at her.
“No, No. No!” the director yells.
He grabs the knife from the extra and viscously commences stabbing at (but not really of course) poor Janet with vigor – now she’s really screaming, Alfred Hitchock is coming at her with a knife. I do enjoy movies about movies – the making of, the inspiration behind the scenes, the process and personalities… I even admit to enjoying “making of” documentaries and audio commentaries.
So, to the likes of Ed Wood, The Aviator and Chaplin, comes Hitchcock.
Psycho is arguably Hitchcock’s finest work and this movie introduces us to a version of Alfred Hitchcock, or “Hitch”, as he commences the journey to make the film that would usher in a new age of cinema (and now a pretty impressive age in television with The Bates Motel).
This biopic of sorts is a tongue in cheek characterization of the real life character we have come to know as the well caricatured portly, stern and gruff Alfred Hitchcock, a representation portrayed by the equally brilliant Sir Anthony Hopkins (Huh – A.H portraying/portrayed by A.H). But there’s a lot more to enjoy here than the brilliance of Hopkins, in this movie there is a stellar cast to match the lead actor:
- Helen Mirren as Alma Reville, Hitch’s beloved and equally matched wife who grapples with his penchant for his blonde leading ladies.
- Scarlett Majojo (Johansson) as Janet Leigh. Scarlett Majojo, yet again surprising me at just how good she actually is, not just as eye-candy, I am surprised that I am consistently surprised.
- Jessica Biels as Vera Miles, contractually obliged to perform for Hitch, and living up to her have-to-casting by him, the thorn in his side.
- Toni Colette as Peggy Robertson, Hitch’s secretary, a small role, but a role completely owned by Toni.
- James D’Arcy as Anthony Perkins, and there his is on screen (if not enough), Anthony Perkins.
- Kurtwood Smith (or is it Red Forman) as Geoffrey Shurlock.
Aside from Dame Helen Mirren’s character which is central to Hitch’s character development in this movie, the ying to his yang as it were; all others are slight characters who while playing in Hitch’s movie (and the movie within the movie) are all but aspects to the passion project and journey Hitch is on.
I love Psycho, so a movie about Psycho and Hitchcock is just entertaining for me, and the fact that the movie does not take itself too seriously, while absolutely honouring the subject, well that’s just good fun. It’s not the perfect movie, it definitely left me with a feeling of wanting more…