Psycho killer

Sir Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchock.
Sir Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchock.

Hitchcock (12A)

Director: Sacha Gervasi.

Undated Film Still Handout from Hitchcock. Pictured: Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/20th Century Fox. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

Undated Film Still Handout from Hitchcock. Pictured: Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/20th Century Fox. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston, and Jessica Biel.

Running time: 1hr 38mins.

IN a career spanning more than 50 years, Hitchcock redefined the cinematic landscape with his diabolical and twisted thrillers.

Hitchcock focuses on the fractious relationship between the filmmaker (Hopkins) and his screenwriter wife Alma Reville (Mirren) during the turbulent period when the couple risked everything to self-finance Psycho.

When principal photography eventually begins, Hitchcock nurtures an obsession with his blonde leading lady, Janet Leigh (Johansson).

This devotion to Leigh comes at the expense of his relationship with fellow actress Vera Miles (Biel), who was once the apple of his twinkling eye.

In response, Alma entertains flattering overtures from fellow writer Whitfield Cook (Huston), which fans the flames of her husband’s jealousy.

Pressures on and off the set take their toll and Hitchcock is haunted by the spirit of Ed Gein (Michael Wincott) — the notorious serial killer who was the inspiration for Norman Bates.

He falls ill and Alma is forced to step in behind the cameras, galvanising the cast and crew as studio bosses circle the project like vultures.

Hitchcock is a handsomely crafted portrait of tortured genius, distinguished by scintillating performances.

Mirren oozes determination and steely resolve as a trailblazer in an industry dominated by men, while Hopkins disappears beneath Oscar-nominated prosthetics.

His mannerisms perfectly capture the awkwardness and insecurities of a visionary who struggled with his weight.

Gervasi’s picture is almost as delicious and elegant.

Rating: 4/5