Sunday, 9 September 2012

Vertigo (re 2012)

On the back of being voted the greatest film of all time in the 2012 Sight and Sound poll, Vertigo has been doing the rounds again and I saw it today at Harbour Lights. I'm not sure it's the greatest film of all time. You can only make that call on objective data that can be quantified and measured to allow a comparison. Whilst technical stuff is vital and appreciated, it must surely be our affective response that might cause us to designate a film as being the greatest. I don't know about you, but my mood and my experiences mean that the way I respond to a film can be quite different on different viewings making it impossible to be definitive. All of that aside, I did enjoy the film and found it to be compelling viewing.

Hitchcock is an acknowledged master of suspense and the film noir genre. This is an excellent film that makes full use of the wonderful city of San Francisco as an expansive backdrop and it also delivers fine acting performances. James Stewart is captivating in the lead roll and Barbara Bel Geddes is simply wonderful.

The plot, to begin with, is straightforward but at the midway point it is almost as though the film experiences a second beginning where the hallmark Hitchcockian twist begins to unfold. Hitchcock's portrayal of someone descending into psychosis is masterful given what the 1950's technology made possible.

I can't say anything about the plot as any hint may blow it for those who haven't seen it. I imagine a couple of generations may not have experienced this film - go get it on disc or check out your local cinema - it's doing the rounds.

This is most certainly first class cinema. Whether or not it's the best film ever - I'll leave you to decide on that. I'm giving it 9/10.

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