Jan 22, 2009


I consider myself generally fearless. Nothing sways my vulnerability like heights. Like Scottie in Vertigo, I too have a crippling fear of heights. Although it is one of the most daunting phobias in terms of actual legitimate danger, It is also the most common fear save for arachnophobia. I haven't experienced much of Hitchcock's filmography but I know this fact already; Vertigo is an absolute masterpiece in every possible department from the riveting suspense that Hitchcock is acclaimed for, to his precise spinning of a human psyche evident on screen. Over time, people finally begun to understand how important this film is to the idea of cinema as a whole.

Detective work is a honest days work for an honest dollar. When Scottie realizes his severe fear of heights, he becomes disabled in such a way that he leaves his line of work. When an ill-fated contract comes his way for a bit of private investigation, Scottie finds himself in a web of deceit, love, and a whole lot more headed your way. More so than you could ever begin to expect. For those knowledgeable of the films L'appartment and the American hipster remake Wicker Park, the generally philosophy of venomous and disguised love wears the same, following L'appartment more to the root whereas Wicker Park is a diluted version of both masterpieces.

Other than Scottie's celebrated acrophobia, he also avoids flirtatious advances with Marjorie, which leads to the idea that he is also advocates a mild Philophobia. This only further conflicts his love affair with the manipulative Madeleine and her tale of personal madness. From the characters to the sets, Vertigo isn't your common tale of film noir. Being wrapped around a Hitchcock tale of unrequited passion, he sets new mediums for film to surpass, leaving most other films lacking such vivid integrity. The only companion piece this film is lacking is this femme fatale armed with a gun.

The presentation of acrophobia is terminally flawless. Hitchcock employs suspended cameras in between gaps of stairwells while using a drop-zoom effect to create a suspended fear that beats with a pulse, much like the victim of a flawed psyche. Early on in the film after the traumatizing events, Scottie is in Midge's living room/study and demonstrates a method of progressive therapy by tackling heights early on. After reaching the third step, he begins to falter and seizes. Much can be said about Vertigo but words can only do so much when trying to explain the varietal impact that this film causes. Vertigo is surprisingly best with multiple viewings. This is so you can view each layer of Vertigo with as much appreciation and thought to detail that you give the straight-forward plot line. Each character deserves their own study. Hitchcock offers this to you quite generously with a dream-like experiment in fear.

Presently, Vertigo is Hitchcock's masterwork of his immortalized brand of suspense and a film noir amalgam of a terror that isn't physically manifested but lies dormant waiting for a key incident to spark within your cerebrum only to spark and spread like wild fire. Recently, the Coen brothers decided to "borrow" the very minimalistic, yet imaginative poster scheme for their film Burn After Reading. I would like to hope that Burn After Reading would be worthy of carrying a piece of Vertigo's torch but the truth points opposite. Vertigo is unmatched on all planes and is definitive of a classic.


1 comment:

the sneering (homo-phobic) snob said...

I have to disagree, i`ve always thought Vertigo was over-rated its a good film but not a great one, for instance its no-where near as good as Psycho or The Birds. By the way, i wish Hitchcock had been called Hitchcunt because i`m so murderously homo-phobic as my name would suggest, i also wish he`d been an american instead of the british scum that he was.