The filming of Psycho is the focus of Sacha Gervasi’s muddled but endearing biopic of/homage to The Master of Suspense. Flitting uneasily between comedy and psychoanalytical study of a troubled genius, parallels between the filmmaker and his deranged mummy’s boy protagonist are evoked; their shared mistrust of and obsession with the women in their lives being central to Hitchcock’s unravelling on and off set.
Anthony Hopkins offers a decidedly Lector-inflected Hitch – the measured delivery and menacing stillness immediately calling to mind the Welshman's most famous role – with Helen Mirren imperious as wife Alma Reville. While her is she/isn’t she dalliance with screenwriter Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston) lacks oomph, the depiction of the influence Reville exerted over hubby and his work does not. A device of Hitchcock’s hallucinatory conversations with real-life Psycho inspiration Ed Gein (Michael Wincott), at odds with an overarching frivolity marked by sassy lines and a garish aesthetic, is less compelling. An interesting, if slight, portrayal of a cinematic legend and his myriad foibles. [Chris Fyvie]