Review: My Name is Alfred Hitchcock

Written and directed by Mark Cousins, re-examines the vast filmography and legacy of one of the 20th century’s greatest filmmakers, Alfred Hitchcock, through a new lens: through the auteur’s own voice. Narrated by Alistair McGowan.

Even without watching My Name is Alfred Hitchcock, there’s a huge irony in the fact it’s described as in his own voice, when that voice is provided by Alistair McGowan. He is the narrator but at the same time, his voice work is a performance as Hitchcock and it’s a choice that if you don’t click with it straight away, it’s going to be a long two hours. The problem is that it’s unusual and interesting, yes but it can also be parody-esque and grating. At a certain point you do get used to it but by then, it also feels entirely unnecessary. Although none of that means that McGowan’s performance isn’t great, his impression of Hitchcock is extremely accurate.

The actual content of the documentary does have something to say. It creates a hugely playful atmosphere as it dives into the different elements and small details to Hitchcock’s work. For anyone not overly familiar or too big of a fan, it will hold plenty for you to learn. Though for anyone who’s seen enough of his work and knows his style, there won’t be a lot to gain, especially when it’s quite drawn out. It is all done in a sincere homage which is always great to see but spending so long on a filmmaker who audiences can so easily find out about on their own, it begs the question of whether the time and effort wouldn’t have been better spent giving a platform to underserved filmmakers.

Visually, it’s for the most part exactly what you’d expect, a combination of different clips of Hitchcock’s work which is always enjoyable to delve into. However, there’s also a number of sporadically modern shots that don’t have any part to play and feel unfinished. Placing them next to such iconic pieces of film feels cheap. Ultimately making it feel like it doesn’t really have anything new to add to the conversation, it’s a love letter to a man who’s already so famous and beloved, that it doesn’t need to be written.

My Name is Alfred Hitchcock is a playful, lighthearted homage to the incomparable skills of Hitchcock. To the immense detail and thought that go into creating one of his films. Although, at the end of the day, it isn’t revealing anything new or exploring anything your typical fan doesn’t know already. Using Alistair McGowan’s Hitchcock impression as the narration is a nice gimmick but it gets old extremely fast and especially when the film is longer than it needed to be.

Verdict: ✯✯✯ | 6/10

Reviewed as part of Glasgow Film Festival 2023

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