Fox Searchlight’s Hitchcock biopic starring (Sir) Anthony Hopkins as the Master of Suspense – and Helen Mirren as his better half, Alma Reville – got a poster and release date just three weeks ago. The trailer makes it abundantly clear why this flick is arriving in the middle of Oscar season. In essence, it’s the sort of star-studded good-natured trip through Hollywood’s history that comes pre-packaged with awards buzz on the grounds of its cast and subject matter alone (the actual film looks entertaining too).

Hitchcock is described as “a love story” about the titular filmmaker and his wife, as reflected through their collective experience making Psycho (drawing from Stephen Rebello’s written account of the events).

The trailer footage is cut together as an cheeky imitation of Hitchcock’s staccato editing style, assembling clips that tease the filmmaker’s constant sardonic sense of humor – be he pruning the roses with Alma at home or pretending to stab Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson) while shooting the iconic ‘shower scene’ from Psycho. That allows the promo to play out as a ‘greatest hit’ collection of famous anecdotes about Hitchcock’s picture (which established the modern slasher genre) that are part of your average film student’s curriculum; whether the actual movie feels that way, is another matter.

For my money, Hopkins appears to be having fun channeling Hitchcock’s well-documented droll mannerisms, while Mirren looks as engaging as ever as the feisty Alma. The scenes where the two banter back and forth over various topics (be it mortgaging the house to pay for production or killing Leigh’s character 30 minutes into Psycho) should justify the price of admission on their own.

hitchcock trailer Hitchcock Trailer: A Love Story About the Making of Psycho

Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins in ‘Hitchcock’

The Hitchcock ensemble includes Jessica Biel (Total Recall), James D’Arcy (Cloud Atlas), Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire), Toni Collette (United States of Tara), Danny Huston (Magic City) and Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid), but this is foremost Hopkins and Mirren’s show. Those two should bring enough emotional resonance to the proceedings in Hitchcock to elevate this cinematic history lesson above conventionality (and, let’s face it, once again prove that Oscar-baiting really does work).

Hitchcock was written for the screen by John J. McLaughlin (Black Swan) and directed by Sacha Gervasi (Anvil: The Story of Anvil). It opens in U.S. theaters on November 23rd, 2012.

Source: iTunes Movie Trailers

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