I used to be obsessed with ‘Vertigo’, but I’m alright now. I still love the film, and admire it deeply, but I no longer need to watch it five times a week at two in the morning, sometimes with the volume down, to soak up every nuance, every image, every location, and every directorial flourish. I don’t know quite why it struck such a chord, to be honest, but ‘Vertigo’ is a film that inspires devotion, dedication – it’s a film that haunts you, stalks you, until – one day – you find you’re stalking it.
‘Vertigo’ is Hitchcock’s most enigmatic and profound film: it’s confusing and confused, it’s unrealistic and surrealistic, and it has strong, dangerous emotions at its core. Hitchcock took great pleasure in promoting it as a film about ‘a man who wants to sleep with a dead girl’, but ‘Vertigo’ isn’t really about necrophilia, it’s about fear, obsession, love – obsessive love, and the various types of temporary madness and permanent psychosis it can bring.
An uncommon term commonly applied to the film is that it is hypnogogic, i.e. it has the feel of something taking place in the transitional period between dreaming and waking. It’s an accurate assessment of a film which, after you’ve seen it, will nag at the corners of your mind and memory, never quite revealing itself entirely. Whether you’ve seen it before or not you should watch it today. Just watch it. Films don’t get any better than this.