Anthony Hopkins is Hitchcock, Scarlett Johansson is Janet Leigh. But Will the Movie Be Good?

Slate's Culture Blog
Oct. 10 2012 1:48 PM

Trailer Critic: Hitchcock

hitchcocktrailer2
Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock in the trailer for Hitchcock

When it was announced recently that Hitchcock, previously slated for a 2013 release, would come out this November, Oscar-watchers immediately took note: The race, they said, has just been shaken up.

And not without reason: With Anthony Hopkins in the title role, Helen Mirren as his wife, and Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh—not to mention Michael Stuhlbarg, Toni Collette, and others (even Ralph Macchio!)—the film has Academy Award written all over it. (Though Hitchcock himself was notoriously snubbed by the Oscars throughout his career; he was nominated for Best Director five times but never won.)

Now the trailer’s arrived, and what it says to me is less “Academy Award” than “biopic” (granted those words are often interchangeable):

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The trailer itself is very well made. It moves quickly, it builds to that amazing scene of Hitchcock jabbing with the knife in the shower as Janet Leigh screams in seemingly genuine terror, it has Helen Mirren delivering icy cold one-liners. But there’s an awful lot here about the financial difficulty of getting Psycho made. Is that really the most dramatic story to tell?

I hope that the final film goes in more heavily for the psychological angle, rather than the financial one. But I will be there watching either way.

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

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