Film | North By Northwest – Review

North By Northwest
North by Northwest (1959)

Plot – A New York City advertising executive goes on the run after being mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies – North By Northwest.

Director – Alfred Hitchcock

Starring – Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason

Genre – Adventure | Mystery | Thriller

Released – 1959

North by Northwest remains one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most fun and enjoyable movies. Shedding the usual ominous overtones and embracing a more vivid action-thriller feeling that went on to influence generations of spy franchises like James Bond and Mission Impossible, whilst also perfecting the ‘wrong man’ genre of filmmaking. Something we have seen many times over the years, but rarely of this quality.

North by Northwest succeeds on numerous levels. The story is light-hearted yet twisted, mysterious and filled with drama. Keeping you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The movie is also packed with many iconic action sequences, including the crop-duster chase scene and a shootout on the heads of Mount Rushmore.

Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest (1959)

This is still a breath-taking watch that transports you all over ’50s USA. But it’s not just the numinous set pieces and extravagant locations that make this such an enjoyable romp, Hitchcock’s direction and camera work is stellar, once again embracing new technology’s and filmmaking styles to provide a unique look and feel. On top of this, the acting by Cary Grant is charismatic and electric, drawing you into the story and hugely enjoyable.

There are only a couple of elements that need to be criticised. The first being Hitchcock’s inability to develop a female character to more than just eye-candy, with Eva Marie Saint’s character Eve Kendall almost instantly falling in love with Grant’s character, despite her being revealed to be playing both sides.

Another thing that bothered me was how undeveloped the antagonists were in the film. Still, North by Northwest is not only one of my favourite Hitchcock films but one of my favourite crime-thrillers of all time. A movie you need to watch at least once in your lifetime.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

If you liked: Enemy of the State, Eagle Eye, Snake Eyes


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