In 2012, Vertigo dethroned Citizen Kane in a Sight and Sound poll of the 100/250 greatest films of all time. It soon garnered headlines across film twitter and articles alike. Citizen Kane often lands as the greatest film of all time but for some film that's only started to gain praise to dethrone it is outstanding. But many critics, including me, have made a fair connection between Vertigo and Citizen Kane. Both films, besides the obvious differences respectively, are quite the same culturally speaking. Both films took years to gain critical praise, revolutionized American film making, and both didn't win best picture. They both slowly climbed the ladder on annual best films lists, as well as critical attention.
The plot of Vertigo remains, to this day, fairly convoluted. Many critics and even filmmakers struggle to put it into words. The basis of the film revolves around John Ferguson (Jimmy Stewart), an ex-police officer who suffers from agoraphobia, as he's assigned to follow an old friend's wife, Judy Barton (Kim Novak). John soon comes to learn that Judy carries the soul of a long-dead woman, and she's trying to commit suicide. Martin Scorsese phrases the plot perfectly by describing it as "a line you can just hang things on." The film's plot more or less acts as flooring to help keep intact the dream like story to come.
Vertigo tackles a multitude of themes, ranging from long-lost love, to mental illness. You can watch it again and again and still come back with new ideas and themes you feel from the film, truly one of the best parts of the film as a whole. Hitchcock broke down conventional film making techniques, and indefinitely helped pioneer American New Wave cinema. It's unlike any other Hitchcock film, maybe except for Marnie (an underrated classic).
Truly one of the best film of all time, Vertigo lands perfectly everywhere on the map. Amazing all around, in an all around exceptional catalog of films. The film tells its story perfectly, amazing considering it was the first film that used cinematic techniques and visuals to tell a compelling story. A perfect performance from Jimmy Stewart, as Scottie. Kim Novak gives a career defining performance as Judy (my pick as one of the best female performances of all time). Bernard Herrmann composes an ominous and notable score, that stands as the greatest score in any film. There's a multitude of notable shots in the film that incorporates the beauty of Northern California. If you have yet to see Vertigo a second or first time, then you are really missing out on one of the best films of all time.
Time Stamp: May 1, 2020