Alphabetical Movie – Lightning Strikes Twice
Lightning Strikes Twice is a film that wants to be a Hitchcock movie*. I say that because it is about a man who is wrongly accused and a woman who loves him but also fears he wasn’t so wrongly accused after all. Thing is, it isn’t a Hitchcock movie. It wants really badly to be Rebecca but that movie was directed by Hitchcock and this one wasn’t.
There are plenty of films out there that are described as “Hitchcockian” and I would think any director would like their movie to be thought of in that way. Hell, M Night Shyamalan wanted to be thought of that way so badly, he even did cameos in each of his films. He wanted to be Hitchcock so bad, he started spending all of his time trying to be Hitchcock and none of his time making good movies.
Well, he’s been trying. He just hasn’t been succeeding.
Dead Again tries to be a Hitchcock movie too. It hasn’t aged well but still enjoy it. Maybe I’m just nostalgic but to me it is certainly a decent modern film that fits the Hitchcockian mold.
Of course, when Gus Van Sandt wanted to make a movie like Hitchcock, he just made a shot for shot remake of Psycho. The movie is amazing because it is literally a shot-for-shot remake of a great movie and it is awful. You take away whatever it was that Hitchcock had and you are left with something that resembles the original film in everything but the ways that matter.
We’re already seeing the modern equivalent as well. How many filmmakers are trying to make a Tarantino movie? Or a Scorsese movie? Or an Altman movie?
Great directors inspire copy cats. Some of those copy cats are pretty good and eventually find their own style. Others never do.
Studios don’t care. They figure they can make a lot of money off of a lame Hitchcock (or Tarantino) style rip-off and they are right. You need look no further than a film like Twisted to find filmmakers trying to make the same kind of movie and utterly failing.
Ashley Judd, actually, has made a fairly decent living playing the lead in films that aspire to remind us of the master. Double Jeopardy, anyone?
The thing about Hitchcock (and other truly great filmmakers) is that he had a unique cinematic voice. Other filmmakers like that voice so much, they want to emulate it.
When it works, it works because they manage to combine their voice with Hitchcock’s in a way that creates something new. I think Bound is a great example of a film that combines the classic Hitchcock style with the unique voice of the filmmakers (The Wachoski Brothers).
And I’m pretty sure we’d all like to see what Tarantino would do if he made a Hitchcock film.
Actually, he probably did when he made Jackie Brown, didn’t he? I think I need a ruling on that one…
I guess what I’m getting at is that emulating what the best directors are doing (or have done) is nothing new. It isn’t stealing. It’s just imitating. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?
Unless we are talking about Twisted. That movie flattered no-one.
*Apologies for two posts about Alfred Hitchcock in a row. I just go where the muse takes me…