Tim Burton gave us a gothic Batman. Joel Schumacher gave us a campy Batman. Christopher Nolan gave us a tragic Batman. And now, it seems, The Batman director #MattReeves plans to give us a Hitchcockian Batman, telling CNET:
"I want to make sure you are experiencing something from the perspective of the main character in the story. I'm a huge Hitchcock fan — I like the idea of being immersed in that perspective."
This is perfect! Batman is fundamentally an embodiment of the themes in Hitchcock’s movies — a brooding loner close to the darkness. Just look at the multiple identity crises in Psycho, the mourning wealthy recluse in Rebecca, and the thin line between hero and vigilante in The 39 Steps. I can go on!
Here are Hitchcock films and themes that scream Bruce Wayne's name — and which could especially inspire Matt Reeves's #TheBatman.
1. The Trust Issues From Suspicion
Not many people have Batman's trust, and he won't give it easily. Suspicion is about a young woman named Lina (Joan Fontaine) who suspects her husband Johnnie (Cary Grant) of being a murderer. The film focuses on the silent struggle between the Lina and her paranoia.
Batman may learn trust as he works alongside the Justice League, but his solo outing could give us the full vision of his paranoia, suspicions and insecurities — as we go back into his dark world of mystery.
2. The Meditation On Insanity From Spellbound
We’ve never seen Batman break down in film, although The Dark Knight Rises comes real close. Although we enjoy the badassness of Batman, what's great about the current DCEU version is that he's fragile. Spellbound focuses on insanity, and what it would mean to rid oneself of it. Batman's internal struggle (and his external struggle with the Joker) has always raised questions about who’s "crazy" and who isn’t.
The dream sequence in Spellbound is visually stunning, letting us look inside the mind of Gregory Peck’s Byllantyne. Although fans criticized Batman's visions in Batman vs. Superman, it's possible that this motif could be salvaged in The Batman and provide a trippy window into his internal state of mind.
3. The Brooding, Mourning Rich Guy From Rebecca
Bruce Wayne is the archetypal brooding loner billionaire. It's who he is. Likewise, in Rebecca, Maxim (Laurence Oliver) tells the story of a tragic loss in the past, obsessing over his dead wife. It's about coming to terms with tragedy in order move forward.
Bruce Wayne's obsession with the past — losing his parents, losing Robin — could affect his relationship with others, especially Alfred, which would continue their dynamic from Dawn of Justice.
4. The Detective Work From Rear Window
What makes Batman so fascinating is his perceptiveness and knowledge. As the world's greatest detective, he always has a keen eye on things. And yet, this aspect of him is relatively unexplored in the movies, which tend to focus on action. The Batman could, like the BBC series Sherlock, let us see what Batman sees — it might be downright exhausting, yet fascinating.
Rear Window was the Hitchcock film that "played the audience like a piano." The director turns us from ordinary audiences into lurking creeps, as we watch (along with Jimmy Stewart's Jeff) every detail of other people's lives, which poses lots of moral questions. Batman fits right in as the voyeur, waiting for a crime to happen. Batman is basically Stewart here.
It's thematic territory that Nolan explored in The Dark Knight. (As Lucius Fox tells Bruce, "With half the city feeding you sonar, you can image all of Gotham. This. Is. Wrong.") But if Matt Reeves gives us a true detective story with The Batman, in which Bruce would have to rely on his wits,that would be a very welcome approach.
I’m excited to see what Reeves has in store for his Hitchcockian take on Batman. The themes that Hitchcock expressed organically fit with Batman. Hitchcock's metaphors, milieus and character obsessions are the same essential elements that glue Bruce Wayne together. Reeves seems to understand Batman very well, and a truly Hitchcock-inspired director can likely do no wrong here.
Do you agree that Hitchcock is the right influence for The Batman? Sound off in the comments below!