The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 98 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Toni Collette, Danny Huston, Jessica Biel, Michael Stuhlbarg, James D’Arcy
Directed by: Sacha Gervasi
Music by: Danny Elfman
Written by: John J. McLaughlin based on the book “Alfred Hitchcock and the making of Psycho” by Stephen Rebello
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 12, 2013
Oscar® winners Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren* are spellbinding in this provocative story about the making of one of cinema’s most iconic films. Plagued by both a reckless ego and nagging self-doubt, Hollywood legend Alfred Hitchcock (Hopkins) becomes obsessed with a grisly murder story that the studios won’t back. Determined, he risks his reputation, his home and even the love of his wife Alma (Mirren), as he sets out to make the film. Ultimately, Hitch wins Alma over, and the two collaborate to create an enduring masterpiece – Psycho.
Alfred Hitchcock, a name synonymous with masterful filmmaking is recognized the world over for some of the best movies to come out of Hollywood. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres via a distinctive and recognizable directorial style developed over a career spanning more than 50 years. I am most decidedly a fan and was intrigued when I saw the trailer for Hitchcock. Based on the book “Alfred Hitchcock and the making of Psycho” by Stephen Rebello this autobiographical drama takes a snapshot of Hitch’s life later in his career while he was at the pinnacle of success having just finished “North by northwest”.
He is looking for a new project but is desirous of a new direction, something unlike his previous works. He comes across the book “Psycho” which is based on the crimes of the serial killer, Ed Gein. The film’s plot focuses on centers on the relationship between Hitchcock and his wife Alma during the development and making of Psycho. The depiction of their collaborative partnership as well as some of the intimate details regarding their marriage is a bit melodramatic but interestingly informative. Seeing the process that brought Psycho, a controversial horror thriller that became one of Hitchcock’s most acclaimed and influential works, to life proves to be the highlight. What I didn’t care for was the decision to include an odd interplay between Hitchcock and his conjured vision of serial killer Ed Gein. I found it unnecessary, a little silly and a distraction.
In reality Hitchcock is more or less a love story where the making of Psycho serves as the backdrop. It does a good job establishing the primary characters while effectively underpinning the tumultuous ins/outs associated with Hitchcock’s quest to reinvigorate the genre he helped make popular. In addition to Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren who are both equally good in their portrayals the cast is loaded with talent including the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, Toni Collette, Michael Stuhbarg and James D’Arcy. If I am being honest Hitchcock wasn’t really what I was expecting. At first glance it would seem to be a biopic, and it is, however its focus is quite narrow and leaves so much about his life/works out. Be that as it may, it aptly supports its 98 minute runtime thanks to solid performances and the interest found in the subject matter.
The rating is for some violent images, sexual content and thematic material.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Hitchcock comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 30 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.
This is a high quality video presentation that seems a perfect match for the source material. Colors are deeply saturated with eye pleasing vitality and delineated depth. Images are resolute, with stable sharpness, crisp detail and appreciable subtle refinement. Certain scenes appeared better resolved than others although I suspect this is related to the photography and not the encoding. Contrast is dynamic without being overpowering and blacks are respectable in depth with discernible detail in low lighting and shadows. I didn’t see any signs of video related artifacts and thought that in general video quality was excellent.
The lossless soundtrack competently renders the elements present in the recording. Dialogue is well intonated with crystal clarity and discerning room penetration. The presentation delivers an open soundstage across the front with definitive channel separation and ample dynamic range. Surround use is limited to spatial cues and occasional panning effects that enhance dimension. There aren’t any sub bass frequencies contained in the mix however the subwoofer is used to provide low bass emphasis that extends the low range content associated with the soundtrack.
- (HD) Deleted scene
- (HD) Becoming the master: From Hopkins to Hitchcock – 12 minute featurette
- (HD) Obsessed with Hitchcock – 29 minute featurette
- Sacha Gervasi’s behind the scenes cell phone footage – 13 minutes
- (HD) Hitchcock cell phone PSA
- (HD) The story – 4 minute production featurette
- (HD) The cast – 4 minute production featurette
- (HD) Danny Elfman maestro – 2 minutes
- (HD) Hitch and Alma – 3 minute production featurette
- (HD) Remembering Hitchcock – 4 minutes
- Audio commentary with director Sacha Gervasi and author Stephen Rebello
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- Bonus DVD
- Digital Copy
Based on the book “Alfred Hitchcock and the making of Psycho” by Stephen Rebello this autobiographical drama takes a snapshot of Hitch’s life chronicling aspects of his marriage to Alma as well as detailing the making of arguably his most acclaimed and influential work, Psycho. Hitchcock isn’t a perfect film however director Sacha Gervasi’s passion for the subject coupled with solid casting/strong performances from leads Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren more than make up for its shortcomings resulting in a decent drama/love story. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring rewarding high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound and a complimentary supplemental offering. This is well worth a rental for Hitchcock fans.
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