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Alfred Hitchcock, Hitch or The Master of Suspense was and is a cultural icon. Described as "genius" and regarded as one of the most influential film directors of all-time, but to say the man was not without fault is an understatement. In Hitchcock, based on the book, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, we're given a behind-the-scenes tour of Hitch's life when he conceived and executed his most famous movie, Psycho.

The film is focused on the complex personal and professional relationship between Hitchcock and his wife, Alma Reville. She was his rock, an inspiration for Hitchcock, and the film explores a chapter in their relationship with the making of Psycho as a backdrop. We're exposed to an uncompromising, pig-headed and determined man, intent on proving to studios and naysayers that he's still got it.

Although he's not the hero, it's his wife. The romantic treatment of Reville and her influence on Hitchcock's work, almost derails the film about a tempestuous, yet brilliant director. It's as if this focus on their relationship is a ploy to realign public opinion on film history.

Anthony Hopkins stars as Hitchcock. A lifelong fan, who was lucky enough to have met the man, Hopkins delivers a solid performance with the help of excellent make-up and prosthetic. Hopkins brings his own murderous film history to the performance and gives the role great fire and wit. It's a cleaned up biography, portraying the flip side of a man also described as lecherous, a megalomaniac.

Helen Mirren co-stars with Hopkins as Alma Reville. She's brought remarkable warmth and heart to the character, after having very little footage and media to go on. While not nearly a look-a-like, Mirren plays the unsung hero with great verve.

Hitchcock benefits from solid supporting performances from Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh and Danny Huston as Whitfield Cook. The rest of the ensemble have secondary supporting parts, but deliver the reliability we've come to expect from Toni Collette, James D'Arcy and Jessica Biel.

While not a detailed account of the making of Psycho, we're given a fly-on-the-wall experience, complete with excellent production values and back room politics. Hitch's struggle for creative control, appeasing censure boards and studio executives, while nursing an infatuation for his leading ladies... at the behest of his wife, Hitchcock has it all. While the script's razor sharp wit and rich psychological insights hold our attention.

While clean-cut, Hitchcock presents a portrait of a headstrong, fascinating, flawed and deeply troubled yet extraordinary man and the woman who stood by him. While there's certainly scope for a much broader biography, this incisive recollection picks at the seams of the Master of Suspense, turning the voyeuristic camera eye on the director and composing a solid piece of entertainment, which is witty, compelling and marked by solid co-lead performances.

The bottom line: Compelling

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