April 3, 2013
Recommendation: rent the 1960 film first
Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on April 2013
Good evening. In 1959, coming off the critical and financial success of North by Northwest, Alfred Hitchcock (a bejowled, spot-on Anthony Hopkins) wanted to try something different. Inspired by the macabre story of real-life serial killer Ed Gein, he decided to make a horror movie. The studio didn’t like the idea, nor did investors. So Hitch put his reputation as well as his personal fortune on the line and made Psycho anyway. This is the fascinating and fun story of his battles with moneymen, studio execs, censors and actors as he puts together the greatest horror flick of all time. But this narrative debut by Sacha Gervasi (Anvil: The Story of Anvil) is more fun than good, and it sags whenever it wanders off the set into mildly interesting but tangential subplot territory. One such deals with his long-suffering wife and scriptwriting partner Alma (another great perf by Helen Mirren), a second with his fascination for blonde actresses, and a third involves dreamlike visitations by Gein (a misstep). And a lot of stuff is just made up. Supporting cast includes Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, Toni Collette and James D’Arcy. Recommendation: rent the 1960 film first.