A very strange yet smart and unpredictable film that also is visually stunning.
During the first 30 minutes or so the movie just drags, and the pacing is so slow. It shows what we already know. Scottie has vertigo and is asked to follow his friend's wife who thinks she is a reincarnation or something. It is almost like nothing is happening and Scottie is just doing his job. It was during this time I asked myself that why was I watching this.
The character development is very poor excluding Scottie. His ex girlfriend had no role in this movie. She is just there. Nothing is told as to whh they broke up. We dont need a full background story but a simple explanation whould have done it. Many parts of the movie could have been edited.
Then we come near the 3rd act of the movie. 5 minutes into it the suspense is revealed like wtf. It didn't work for me. Again the pacing is somewhat slow until the end. The ending is very abrupt and it is just thrown at us. In some cases it works only if the overall movie is excellent and makes sense. I will be honest I wasn't expecting the ending but it doesn't work for me. Somethings are not even well explained.
I can't go into more details because it will give out spoilers. So overall you may or may not like this movie. But if your having a boring day, go for it.
I went in knowing nothing about the film aside from its outstanding reputation and its spiralling poster. Perhaps it was the hype surrounding a movie considered one of the best of all time, but upon watching the final few minutes with horror and confusion, I was left ultimately dissatisfied. I understand the thematic values of the film and the introduction of the dolly zoom, as well as James Stewart's turn to the dark side, but it was a very odd movie.
The first half is a slow affair of watching a former detective do his former job quite horribly. I guess in retrospect it's good to know he was being played a fool the entire time or else I'd still wonder if the person he was tailing had no awareness that the same car and man was twenty feet behind her the entire time barely making any attempt to conceal his actions, especially at the cemetery. Following him romancing another man's wife, which again absolves her of worse judgement for she isn't actually wed, it just goes off the rails and becomes a dark look at obsession.
Take away the twist "revelation," which was explained right away leaving no mystery to follow, and it remains just as horrifying watching this man obsess over a dead loved one and change a stranger, make her dress like her, and take her to where she died. He knew because of a necklace. What if that wasn't truly the case? This man acts like a monster. Remove the letter and confession and he still remains a monster; the only difference is that he's no longer right. How far would it have gone if it was a different girl he tried to change for himself? Would it still have come to the bell tower down the road if there was no necklace? He went down a deep dark path, and the movie abruptly ends with a terrible fate.
The fact that I'm thinking so much about the movie gives it some points, but there's quite a bit of this movie that just moves so slowly.
After a police detective named John Ferguson causes the death of a police officer due to his acrophobia during a rooftop chase, he retires from that job. He is soon hired by a former college acquaintance of his to keep an eye on his wife, because he fears that she might commit suicide as she believes that she is possessed.
Around the 80 minute mark, it seemed like the movie was about to end. It seemed as if the climax came to be, and the viewer thought that they knew what kind of film it was going to be. However, the viewer becomes shocked to find out that the film is continuing on. The viewer wonders: "What else do they have left to do?". At first, I thought that the movie was going to lose steam as the final third is, admittedly, a little bit slower than the rest of the film. However, the dream sequence gave me a feeling that I was not wasting my time. It interested me a lot, and I was curious to find out how the movie was going to end. This all led up to a shocking and unexpected ending which left a strong impact on me. The plot twist at the end made the film a lot better, and it encouraged me to watch the film again as I wondered how the movie was going to feel on a 2nd viewing.
Looking back at the movie, I noticed how John's acrophobia wasn't present in that many scenes. It was only present a few times in the movie. At first, I thought that it was a bit underutilized. However, after I thought more about how the plot twist at the end effected the film before it, I came to a conclusion that it did not have to be used more than it was. John did not have acrophobia, because Hitchcock simply wanted to add it in for suspense. It was put in the movie as it was essential for the movie's ending to work. If it were to be used any more times in the film, it would've started to feel redundant. Hitchcock did all of the primary tasks with that element without overdoing it.
The acting in this film was really good. James Stewart as John Ferguson did a good job as the lead performance. His performance was pretty solid all around. He provided all the emotions and reactions which were required for his role. Nothing more and nothing less. Kim Novak gave a really great performance as well. She played 2 characters who each had different personalities. When she was Madeleine Elster, she played a woman who looked hopeless and terrified. She was able to do it without sounding annoying or over-the-top. When she played Judy Barton, her role seemed more meaty and strong. She did a good job transitioning between both of these characters. As the movie continued on, I started to notice some subtlety in her performance. She clearly stole the show. They were great as the 2 main leads. I had no particular issues with any of the other actors and actresses.
The film is also pretty to look at. Views of the city and the streets are gorgeous. Some of the shots show dozens upon dozens of buildings. Those shots are overwhelming. Also, some of the other shots in different places around the city look nice as well such as the art museum and the graveyard. Also, it's hard to forget the opening scene where 3 of the characters were running across the rooftops with the evening sky in the background. Also, there's the haunting camerawork in the dream sequence which gives out an unsettling presence. Out of all of Hitchcock's films that I've seen so far, I like the cinematography in this film the most.
In conclusion, this was a well-acted and well-shot crime film which had a very memorable storyline and ending. Is it the best film of all time though? I wouldn't say so. There are deeper films than this one. "Citizen Kane" also has more layers to it and it's a more influential and important film. Also, I enjoyed "Rear Window" a little more than this one. However, this is still a really great film. I can understand why a lot of people like it. It's one of the best Hitchcock films that I've seen so far.