Alfred Hitchcock - Vertigo (1958), 6/10

The story presented in Vertigo seems like it was built for the page perhaps even more than the screen. The slant through which we experience Ferguson and Madeleine’s romance is wonderfully unsettling but there seem to be missed opportunities laden within its progression and pacing, vital in Hitchcock’s mode of story. Still, particularly the second half of the film is practically flawless any way it is analyzed which merits praise even for such a master. Perhaps it is because there are far stranger and more daring films available to us now but Vertigo fails to bring proper excitement in the same way that Psycho, for example, accomplishes so effortlessly. The density within the visual presentation is also worthy of praise but there is again unrealized potential within its story, or rather the way it is visualized as a narrative, that makes it almost frustrating to watch. The aspects that make the story so interesting are polished and skillfully unveiled, especially in moments that peel back Ferguson’s psyche, revealing tortured aspects of the mind that are surprisingly universal. While I once held Vertigo in the highest esteem for its presentation, it now feels like more of a technical success than a pleasantly assembled one, making it strong in unnecessary characteristics while weak in its important ones, which is reinforced by the story’s ending and its infuriatingly dissatisfying close. This is not due to its narrative, again, but how it is portrayed. It is an unfortunately sad close to a wonderfully paced and laid out second half. While an overly dramatic reaching story like this could have amazing potential on the page, it is unfortunately not complemented gracefully by Hitchcock’s form of filmmaking. Perhaps some of the initial criticism of the film has more merit than modern scholars are willing to admit, of course acknowledging that a lot of it was rubbish as well. Where it shines is in its revisionist take on traditional romance, especially in the world of film this was a necessary commentary that made it an indispensable undertaking, so worthy of its accolades, but still an overly glorified project.