Max Grieve gives a refreshingly honest review of Hitchcock, a film about a film.


One of life’s eternal truisms is that if there’s an idea, there’s a film. And because most ideas have already been thought of, most ideas for films have already been made into films.

Hitchcock is a film about a film being filmed. Actually, it’s a film about making a film called Psycho, which has already actually been made and released. That is to say that Hitchcock isn’t a film about a fictional film, but about a real film which was much better than the film I saw about that film.

The film starts with Hannibal Lecter, except he’s fatter, more like a filmmaker and less like Hannibal Lecter. He begins by talking right at the camera, which was very off-putting. The Queen from The Queen is there too. She’s a bit uptight, but I think that’s just called ‘good acting’. There’s also a pool, which adds absolutely nothing to the film, and then something else about a shower. Scarlett Johansson doesn’t have any clothes on in that bit, but you don’t see anything that belies the film’s moderate rating.

Every few minutes there is a joke – I knew this because there were lots of people laughing around me – and I laughed along with them at the appropriate moments because I didn’t want to look like I didn’t think Hitchcock was the greatest work in the history of cinema. This ‘Technique of Fitting In’ works well and doesn’t just apply to this film, or indeed the cinema experience as a whole. I recommend you try laughing at the same time as everybody else in any given situation if you don’t want to seem uptight.

Much of Hitchcock’s 98 minute running time is devoted to filming the other film – you know what, I’m repeating myself here. Watch Psycho, try to imagine it being made and you’ve got Hitchcock.

The film in the film gets made and then the film about it ends. The film in the film is a great success, although I doubt Hitchcock itself will win many awards.

Years later, but not in the film, Alfred Hitchcock dies of renal failure. He was 80 years old.