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Vertigo

Alfred Hitchcock





I'm going through some Hitchcock. I was really impressed with the simplicity of Dial M For Murder, now I've seen to go to the opposite side and taken a look at Hitchcock's most ambitious project, Vertigo.

Using different lighting and colour schemes along with inventive camera techniques, Vertigo is highly regarded as one of, if not the, best Hitchcock film. Which is weird to me because if you were to ask anyone what they think his best film is, you'll get a variety of different answers. My takeaway is a little difficult. I'm still wrestling with this film because I was so utterly bored with the first half that I was seriously questioning why this film is so highly regarded. Then the halfway point hits and it instantly got me hooked. It demands you to look at the film in a different light and repeat a viewing. So how do I feel about that? I still don't know. What I do know is that this is NOT my favourite Hitchcock film.

John Ferguson, a retired detective, is asked by an old friend to follow his wife. He suspects her of being 'possessed' by her great great grandmother, who committed suicide at the young age of 26. The man's wife is 26 and is afraid she might do the same. While following her, John becomes obsessed and will do anything to make sure she stays safe...from herself.

I knew nothing about this film, so this supernatural element threw me for a loop. As I said before, the first half is slow and mundane to the point of insanity. I appreciated the creative techniques Hitchcock was implying in certain scenes, but I just couldn't force myself to care about anything. Then the surprise element is introduced and I thought the film was wrapping up soon...wrong. It goes on for an entirely different third act, which in reality, reflects Hitchcock's own persona. Roger Ebert expertly points out how Ferguson is actually Hitchcock with his controlling obsessiveness over his blonde actors. This is glaringly obvious and serves as another layer to this already rich film.

Vertigo is something I need to revisit in the near future. Maybe the second time around I can see the brilliance and throw it higher on my list, as of right now Rear Window still stands near the top.