Vertigo - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Vertigo Reviews

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½ April 14, 2017
A Hitchcock film with a very Shyamalan-like 3rd act twist. It felt very soap operaesque in a way, until the very end with a shot that reminded me of a creepy character in the Conjuring 2. Pretty good, but I liked Rear Window more.
April 4, 2017
"Citizen Kane" held the #1 spot on Sight & Sounds' "Best films of all time" lists for 5 decades. On top of that, it and "The Godfather" tend to be the 2 go-to films that moviegoers usually pick for the greatest film ever made. In 2012, however, Sight & Sound made the controversial and infamous choice of finally giving another movie its throne. That movie was Alfred Hitchcock's classic, crime film, "Vertigo". I'm not sure if I would rank "Vertigo" that high. However, it's still a very good film and it deserves recognition for a lot of reasons.

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.
April 3, 2017
Vertigo's greatness comes from two virtuoso fake-outs. The first is convincing you it belongs to a genre it doesn't. The second I can't spoil here. Two fake-outs means two reveals and the first is a thunderbolt of clarity. In a flash, the unease of the first half washes away. The second dawns slowly, with visceral unease and horror. Vertigo was a slow burner for me. I was disappointed when the end title showed up, but I realized the next day I was profoundly troubled by the film and couldn't stop thinking about it.
½ March 25, 2017
I did my best to keep my expectations down because I literally knew nothing about this movie going in other than director and stars. It captivated me early because it has Hitchcock's amazing eye for shot selection and some superb music to keep things tense. Those things are what made Vertigo appealing throughout.

I struggled with Jimmy Stewart's character in this film. I thought he was set up as a fairly noble guy and I liked him. However as the movie progresses he gradually becomes more and more creepy. It was bad enough when he's undressing and making out with another man's wife, but that final act with the clothes and hair obsession had me squirming in my seat.

I also had difficulty with the romance in Vertigo. It's a problem I often have with movie love affairs, because I don't see enough build-up for these two people to claim they are in love. I was still trying to get over this guy kissing a friend's wife and the next thing I know he's confessing his love for her? It was tough for me to accept.

The softening of the romantic blow came through the plot. That's where Vertigo really shines. I was delighted by the mystery because I so desperately wanted to discover what was going on. I longed for a real explanation and yet I kept wondering if it was actually something mystical that was driving the story.

The first reveal of the truth was a true shocking moment for me and suddenly I was totally amazed how they fooled me. The fact that they had to insert a scene explaining it all in words right after the visual explanation felt a bit forced, but maybe they're just trying to cater to the people who can't put the pieces together on their own.

The third act was probably the weakest part of Vertigo. It felt like the movie was rambling after the reveal and dragging things out so long when I was just waiting for it all to finally hit the fan. Then the final moments were intense and uncomfortable. I was back on board and anxiously awaiting the dramatic conclusion. When it came it was so sudden, and odd that I wasn't ready for it and almost said "Wait, that's it?"

I didn't love Vertigo. There are other Hitchcock films that are much more effective for me. However, there were elements of genius that I connected with in this film. The mystery gripped me, the visuals were stunning, the score was intense, and the acting was great. I doubt I'll revisit Vertigo, unlike my preferred Hitchcock movies, but I can recognize it's a very well-made film.
March 9, 2017
Phenomenal. As a kid this movie frightened and entertained me like no other. Love it
February 27, 2017
This is THE most overrated movie of all time. The ending is a huge middle finger and one of the worst of all time.
½ February 25, 2017
It's pretty amazing. I'm not in love with the twist, but it's still quite a film.
February 21, 2017
Vertigo is a massive disappointment
January 31, 2017
An unpredictable, pulse-pounding, and stylish mystery about the very serious themes of love, loss and life. An absolute masterpiece coming from one of the best directors of all time, Alfred Hitchcock
10/10
January 26, 2017
One of the best mystery films, that only Alfred can pull out, ever made. If you have the opportunity to watch in a big screen, go for it, you really feel the heights better. I will never forget the Vertigo tree scene, that inspired "La Jetée". I remember when I saw it for the first time, I was probably 13-14, and how it made me wonder about life. Amazing. A must see, on my top 20 best films, and on my top 10 mystery flicks.
½ January 25, 2017
What is there left to say about this movie? It's a masterpiece!
January 25, 2017
'Vertigo' has now been considered by many to be the best picture of all time. No surprises here.
January 23, 2017
Jimmy Stewart's fourth and final collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock, starring as John Ferguson, a detective whose life unravels when he develops acrophobia amidst a rooftop foot chase. A troubling picture in many ways, from its complex, effectively unsettling filmmaking to the distressing changes undertaken by Ferguson in the third act. Hitchcock is, of course, a master of the craft and there's much to be learned from his efforts behind the camera (the now-infamous dolly zoom, tricks with lighting and foreshadowing, a casual pace that somehow never seems to grow stale) but also plenty to wonder about the man himself from the actions of his on-screen counterpart. In a Hitchcock film, it's nothing new for a visibly older gentleman to effortlessly draw the affections of a young blonde. Stewart's no exception in this film, pulling buxom Kim Novak (twenty-five years his junior), but his particular brand of obsession quickly grows dark and insistent, leading to some very squeamish scenes as he draws close to unraveling the conspiracy that's ensnared them both. Of course, Ferguson ultimately pays a price for this turn, but his greater judgment is never laid out on the screen. Rather, it's abruptly left to the scrutiny of the viewing audience, with more than a nudge to suggest he may not be completely without alibi. Expertly concocted and tragic from a bird's-eye perspective, but worrying from a more introspective one.
January 15, 2017
To love is to kill. Love is vertigo.
January 14, 2017
A confusing, unpredictable, yet beautiful film to watch, with a dark hidden message behind it. One of Hitchcock's best work and one of the best films of the 20th century.
January 11, 2017
Alfred Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' is the final product of excellent writing, captivating visual effects, and a story so uniquely unpredictable it will impress the viewer greatly. 5/5
January 10, 2017
OK it probably shouldn't have taken me 40 years to watch this. Never realised that it was actually about obsession. JS is excellently creepy.
January 8, 2017
Disorienting, dizzying, and quite unsettling at times... All the workings of a Hitchcock masterpiece, and this film rightfully can be considered a definitive example of that. It's not structured the way a thriller so often is, both nowadays and in the era when it was released, in that the pacing can be considered particularly slow at times. However, if viewers can get over that stigma, they'll find a highly captivating story of a traumatized detective hired for one more case, a case he is woefully unprepared for. Jimmy Stewart is brilliant as usual as the lead, Scottie Ferguson, bringing his every-man, sympathetic persona to a character that could have easily come across as a completely unsympathetic, unstable and unlikable individual had a lesser actor taken the role. Instead, as the case unravels and his fears and obsessions begin to take hold, Stewart's portrayal brings mixed feelings of pity and disturbance, an intriguing train-wreck that is a broken man trying desperately to keep himself together, and failing. Co-star Kim Novak is similarly brilliant as the mysterious woman that Scottie is asked to investigate, a woman he finds himself falling for, only to find he's fallen for what is quickly proven to be a deceptive performance, and not entirely a willing one on the deceiver's behalf. The mystery, as many will claim, is one that quickly solves itself before the film's climax, but this isn't meant to be a mystery film, it's a character study, one that shows just what past traumas, obsession, and fabrication can do to a person, and the ensuing consequences that can result from their attempts to deal with such things. It all plays out like a massive car pile up, a horrid sight, but one you can't take your eyes off of, and I mean that in the best possible way. Hitchcock at his prime was a master at pulling off this sort of thing, and Vertigo may well be the prime example of this mastery.
January 7, 2017
10 out of 10:

A very strange yet smart and unpredictable film that also is visually stunning.
January 3, 2017
A strange Alfred Hitchcock film that miscasts James Stewart in an aggressive role. Visually it is an interesting film, but I found it somewhat boring. (First and only full viewing - 9/27/2010)
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