The Batman director Matt Reeves reveals that the films opening scene was inspired by iconic director Alfred Hitchcock. The Batman serves as the latest interpretation of DCs Caped Crusader and is also the first iteration of the character to exist outside of the DCEU since Christopher Nolans Dark Knight trilogy ended in 2012. The movie sees Batman as portrayed by Robert Pattinson in only his second year of crime fighting as he works to track down a mysterious new serial killer known as The Riddler Paul Dano. Since the release of The Batman the film has seen very high praise from fans and critics alike with some moviegoers even claiming that it may be the best Batman film to date.
Over the years there have been many interpretations of the world of Batman. This meant of course that director Reeves certainly had his work cut out for him to make something that would stand apart from other directors interpretations especially given that The Batman was released alongside the ongoing DCEU. One of the most prominent ways that Reeves film differs from previous Batman projects is in its genre. While Batman has often been described as The Worlds Greatest Detective most adaptations of the comic book character have focused more on the action of his crime fighting. In somewhat of a turn Reeves film comes across as more of a noir detective story which some have likened to David Finchers Seven.
In a recent interview with CNET director Reeves has revealed that one of his major influences for this style of movie particularly for The Batmans opening scene was Hollywoods master of suspense Hitchcock. Many Batman films open with an exciting action scene. However Reeves has revealed that he deliberately did not want to start The Batman this way. The Batman famously starts from the perspective of the Riddler as he is looking through a pair of binoculars at his first victim. Reeves has stated that this was inspired by Hitchcocks belief that cinema going is voyeurism. The audience is getting a sneak peek into the lives of the people on the screen and so Reeves decided to make the most of this by literally having the audience spy with the Riddler. See his full quote below
Reeves has actively attempted to make one of the most suspenseful Batman films to date so its no wonder he turned to the master himself for inspiration. Hitchcocks films are full of sinister characters spying upon one another to dark ends. Psycho sees Norman Bates spy on Marion through a hole in the wall before the infamous shower scene. Vertigo features an entire sequence lasting nearly six minutes in which a private investigator follows a woman through San Francisco with no dialogue. Of course most famously the plot of Rear Window centers entirely around a man who follows the lives of his neighbors from his apartment through his binoculars.
Reeves certainly made a useful choice to start The Batman out in this unique way. The film runs for nearly three hours and from the first scene onward there is hardly a moment in the film where the audience doesnt feel like the characters on screen are being watched by a sinister presence. Of course by the end of the film it is clear that this is true making Reeves film an incredibly well crafted piece in both story and tone. Reeves set out to make a new kind of Batman film and it seems thats exactly what he did. Perhaps if he were still alive even Hitchcock would be a fan of The Batman.