- While not my favorite Hitchcock film, Vertigo is excellent intellectual filmmaking that covers up narrative flaws with symbolism and in-depth thematic analysis of obsession, victimization, romanticism and life and death.
- Vertigo’s themes, motifs and symbols are more complex than its characters and narrative, and for that reason repeat viewings are likely to increase most viewers’ appreciation. With successive viewings, audience members are likely to better understand Hitchcock’s use of tunnels, flowers, staircases and whatever other symbols he includes.
- Which is not to say Vertigo fails thematically on the initial viewing. Because we feel Scotty’s (James Stewart) pain at losing Madeleine (Kim Novak), Midge’s (Barbara Bel Geddes) loneliness, and Judy’s (Novak) determination to regain Scotty’s love, we immediately understand many of Hitchcock’s themes.
- Which is good, because Vertigo has narrative flaws aplenty. There are plot holes, unexplained character decisions and important events left unseen. Plus, Midge disappears for so much of the narrative that we almost forget she exists.
- It is these narrative flaws that make me like Vertigo less than some of Hitchcock’s other films.
- Vertigo is still very good, however, partially because the director delivers plenty of surprises. He also makes every plot twist feel natural, with or without much foreshadowing.
- Final Grade: B+