One Fine Director's Debut I recently viewed "One Hour Photo" quite by accident, and was stunned to discover that it's a very different and far better movie than I expected. (When it was first released several years ago, the title alone was enough to make me dismiss it as probable sleaze.)
I have always respected Robin Williams' talent as a dramatic actor, as opposed to his comic/manic persona, which has never done anything but irritate me. Judging by other Amazon reviews, however, many people feel the opposite; hence, they too were misled by "One Hour Photo", but in a different way. I'm afraid this contributed to the less-than-sterling box office returns, and I sincerely hope that writer/director Mark Romanek is not discouraged by this as his full-length feature debut. The movie is not flawless (is anything?), but I am greatly impressed by the quality of it, and Mr. Romanek's demeanor and discussions featured as extras on the DVD confirm an intelligence, maturity, and professionalism far surpassing many other young directors. I do wish, however, that Mr. Williams had refrained from so much mania on the "Charlie Rose" segment, because it was too distracting and diminished Mr. Romanek's opportunity to shine. Fortunately though, throughout the "Commentary" portion of the DVD, Williams exercises the proper restraint and allows Mr. Romanek to lead the way.
Not to mention Robin Williams' stellar performance throughout the movie itself. Here he plays the role of Sy Parrish, a withdrawn and introverted photo clerk in a Walmart-type store. Over the years he has come to feel as though he's a part of the Yorkin family, since he has been conscientiously developing their family photos meanwhile. He has fueled this fantasy as "Uncle Sy" by keeping an extra copy of the Yorkin prints for himself and displaying them on one wall of his apartment. However, the boss's detection of missing prints leads to Sy's dismissal, and this combined with Sy's discovery that the Yorkin family do not live up to his ideals is enough to push his fragile psyche over the edge.
Don't expect me to provide any spoilers; what I will say is that "One Hour Photo" is something of a subjective experience which can lead to many interpretations and thought-provoking discussions. If you don't believe me, just read the review preceeding mine! ...more info
Gets "under the skin" The idea of this movie is not to scare the hell out of you with visions of gore, violence, or action. It's to scare the hell out of you with ideas of something that could easily happen to anyone. Little things that we take for granted could be something that brings the most harm.
In this case, the idea is that someone could be quietly "stalking" you without ever coming near you. Through a series of photos, a seemingly harmless man has come to know too much about a certain family. How did he get these photos? He develops them at the local photo lab. How many times have you given someone vacation photos or wedding photos? The idea that someone, through all of these photos, knows where you have been, where you live, even what the inside of your house looks like, is what makes this such a creepy film.
As far as casting, Robin Williams portrays the quickly-unravelling developer with perfection. He has just the right amount of madness to make it totally believable.
Overall, this is a movie that will get under your skin....more info
Better the first time you Watch I rate the movie a 4 the first time through. But it's just not a movie I can see people watching over and over. It does a good job of showing what being lonely can do to a person. I wasn't really fond of the ending....more info
good It's a really good psychological thriller. Unpredictable as hell. Robin Williams has been acting much better than usual lately. He's got that going for him, which is good. There's a guy named Yoshi in this movie too....more info
A bit too linear. The plot line is rather linear in its development with only a 'half' twist at the end. I was surprised how little introductory scene-setting occurred with the "this is a creepy guy" feeling being thrust on the audience immediately. His over familiarity with the child was unrealistic with mothers in today's world probably be immediately wary. (Certainly my wife would be).
The film is structured very much like "Taxi Driver" with it just pottering along at a steady pace with not much driving it. But whereas Taxi Driver just suddenly explodes, knocking you off your seat; One Hour Photo by comparison just makes you get up and go to the fridge. One Hour Photo even has a pseudo-Bernard Hermann sound track of Taxi Driver.
There is a sterility of the surroundings that connects all the locations. Be it the photoshop, the shopping centre, the home (both of them), the police interview room or the hotel room. They are all bare, sterile uninviting places. The trophy wall is the only bit of visual interest in the film.
So it was all a bit too contrived, stylized and desperately linear to be very engaging. Once you get the "photo shop guy as voyeur" image, there is not much else to it. That is a shame as you think it could have been made much creeper and suspenseful. (Think of Psycho and its development of a manager of a sleepy motel...) Robyn Williams is fine in the role but he didn't have a lot to work with.
It was OK, but I don't think it was as good as many think and few will remember it in 5 years time. If you want a suspenseful creepy film with a real blast watch Taxi Driver.
See it, but don't expect a slasher flick Robin Williams as a bad guy? Must be a joke, right?
No joke. Ever since I saw Robin play the angry dad, if only for a few seconds, at the end of Mrs. Doubtfire, I realized that he would make a really scary villain. And honestly, he's not even a villain in One Hour Photo (although the director really wants you to think just that). He's more of an anti-hero.
Williams' strength is that he's playing against type. We know he's a nut -- in a good way -- and expect him to burst out into showtunes at any moment. This just makes the bubbling cauldron of his emotions that much more compelling.
And oh yea, Williams supposedly playd Dungeons & Dragons once or twice. Which makes me like him even more.
One Hour Photo's plot is simple: a photo clerk (Sy Parrish, played by Williams) at the local Wal-mart (er, Sav-Mart) sees things. Lots of things. Things he isn't always meant to see. He becomes obsessed with a family and has pictures of them all over his wall. It could happen to anyone -- it could be happening right now. Do you REALLY know what happens to your photos when you bring them in?
Things take a turn for the worse when Sy discovers, through his job, that not all is at it seems in said happy family. When he discovers infidelity -- that the image he clung to is in fact horribly tainted and all too real, he snaps. And as he snaps, we descend from the heavenly glow of the Sav-Mart's white lights to a dizzying kaleidoscope of hell.
The lensing is a primary character in this film: Greens, yellows, and reds (the color separation of photos, get it?) are all carefully lensed to give a surreal edge to Sye's rage, his madness, his sorrow. Colors are dissonant even though Sye himself is nearly invisible in his pastel clothes. His home is a stark, barren wasteland of color. The only thing that bothered me about the lensing is that the colors often seemed randomly placed -- something I have been trained by other directors to look for as a hint to further meaning in the movie (thanks to Spielberg and the red coat in Schindler's List and Shamalayan's red everything in Sixth Sense). But that's on purpose too, as there IS no meaning to Sye's world beyond the pictures he takes.
One Hour Photo is as much about the ideal American family that you see in department store catalogs as it is about Eleanor Rigbys of the world. For every American ideal, there is a flawed interior. For every pleasant, affable man, there is a demon waiting to be unleashed.
The ending is twisted and poignant, although some might feel it's a cop out. It explains Sye's history, why he so desperately needs a perfect family in his head, and why pictures hold so much affection for him. It also explains his subsequent violence and rage when said family cannot live up to his ideals. There's even a twist at the end -- something Maleficent picked up on but that I missed.
This is one of those movies that I didn't like nearly as much until thinking about it afterwards. It's a classic depiction of suburban hell, an intellectual horror. It reminded me a lot of Session 9, only without the insane asylum.
See it, but don't expect a slasher flick (despite the trailers)....more info
A powerful and enigmatic thriller! The particular and sick affective world of the primordial profile of the peeping Tom is to spy secretly behind windows, from the security boasted by the darkness. But the actual technology certainly allows to scrutinize with major intensity the particular spheres of other affective and emotional worlds. This serious affective disorder will constitute the dramatic axis around Robin Williams, an insipid and minuscule human being, filled of loneliness and hungry of affection willl fill his boring and non sense life. This is precisely what it happened with this original study around a isolated man who connects himself with the outer world , just because his work demands it. His personal fantasies fly in the wings of his febrile imagination. That is the way he gets inside into the particular universe of a middle class-family .
There will be interesting twists and turns in this thriller that could have been even better.
gripping story; slightly weak ending This film shows Robin Williams in a shocking and effective departure from his frequent comedic roles. As Sy the Photo Guy, he obsesses unhealthily about one family whose photos he has developed for ten years, keeping a set of prints for himself and his collection every time. He intrudes further into their lives, until things start to unravel as he discovers a secret about them and also loses his job.
In the last half hour, he tries to teach one of them a lesson, then ends up with a rather contrived scene which implies some shocking things about his own childhood and how he ended up so mentally unbalanced.
The photography and production design give a polished yet sterile feel to the environments in the film, showcasing Sy's lonely, pitiful existence.
This movie is for women only I recommend something like Survivor: Borneo on DVD....more info
Good movie but a few things killed it Didn't anyone notice Connie Nielsen's accent changed in this movie like three times. That is all it takes for me to hate a movie. It just shows to me that they didn't pay close enough attention when screening it. Overall Robin Williams gives a pretty good performace. My favorite goes to Gary Cole, who once again plays a boss, much like office space. But this time he isn't taking no garbage, he is the boss and you can take it or leave it. I also think his attitude towards management is great. Some people take their job too seriously, and he just decides to regulate and put them in their place....more info
Scary photo This is a fine film, which along with 'Insomnia' marked a sudden change in what we expect from Robin Williams. Unlike quite a few people I've always though he was a good actor. You really can't argue about his performances in 'Good Morning Vietnam' or 'The Fisher King'. However I'll concede he has made some some turkeys in his time!
'One Hour Photo' is something completely different. Williams plays Sy, a photo technician in a large store. He's a loner who leads a pretty sad life and who gradully becomes obessed with a family who he regularly develops photos for.
The film develops quickly and there isn't really a wasted minute. Its well scripted, and directed with some style by Mark Romanek. This is a great example to many Hollywood filmmakers of what can be acheived through character development, rather than the unneccessary use of CGI special effects.
At only 91 minutes in length this is film that in many ways stands up to comparison with Alfred Hitchcocks work. OK its not as good as his very best, but its not far off that standard.
Robin Williams was awesome in this movie... This movie was pretty good. Robin Williams couldn't have been any better in this role. He did awesome. I was spooked by him in just a couple minutes into the movie. What he did at the end was a bit too much for me but they pulled it together really great & it made a lot of sense. It's still a little too far out there but it's worth seeing at least once....more info
Profile of psychological damage One Hour Photo.
Many people have covered the film's plot. I won't bore you with restating what many have already covered well.
My take on this film is a little different. A persual of the reviews below I don't see this angle discussed. Its regarding Sy's damage.
The film's ending makes the most powerful statement. That statement is damage of children by their parents. Sy's whole rationale for his frightening acts in the hotel were simple: Mr. Yorkin wasn't a good husband and father. The emotional outburst about photos of children and things they shouldn't have to do said it all. Sy wasn't monster, but a person who is really scarred. The expierences of his childhood made him a mess and unable to interact normally with people.
At the end of the film I really felt for him. He became a wounded and damaged individual who had a normal life stripped away young. His obsession with the Yorkin's was based on the desire for a life he could never have.
The film and narrative are well done and paced. It feels sort of like a documentary. The creepy Mr. Rogers tone plays well.
There are the people who will see Sy's actions and place emphasis on them. Lost in those views is what the writers were really saying about one man. Specifically this one man. A man who is a abuse survivor and carries that deep damage.
I didn't much care for the final scenes. Instead of the Yorkin's home safely as the closer. Adding Sy being helped as the final scene would've been much more effective. Speaking for myself, I wanted to see Sy get some help. Then pay for his crimes....more info
Next time you call me out here, that thing better be belching fire One Hour Photo is a movie where Robin Williams goes from being a funny guy in his other movies to being a creep. He plays a very lonely guy, and you would almost feel sorry for him--if he weren't so unhinged and potentially dangerous. The robot in 'Lost in Space' is waving his robot arms and screaming "Danger, Will Robinson."
Let's take a brief retrospective of Robin's career:
He is a stand up comedian in San Francisco, and in 1977 that leads to a couple of spots on "The Richard Pryor Show," an appearance on "Laugh-In," and "Eight is Enough." Next year he gets on "America-2-Night" and then a couple of episodes of "Happy Days" as Mork, a character that is so popular that it spins off into "Mork and Mindy" and a star is born. "Mork and Mindy" runs for 94 episodes. By 1980 he plays Popeye in 'Popeye' for Robert Altman, with Shelly Duvall as Olive Oyl (brilliant casting, by the way). "Mork" continues until 1982.
It seems that Mr. Williams was very successful playing either likable, funny or funny AND likeable characters, but at some point, he wanted to explore his dark side. Thus we have 'One Hour Photo.' Also, 'Death to Smoochy,' 'License to Wed' and an episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" where he plays an enigmatic criminal named Merritt Rook.
His character: Seymour 'Sy' Parrish, though is probably his bleakest. There are few laughs (at least intentional ones) in 'One Hour Photo.' Robin Williams, who spews words in his stand up act, and in such tour de forces of improvisational 'genius' as the Genie in 'Aladdin,' is very subdued and understated in 'One Hour Photo.'
Just a few observations, mostly about the look of One Hour Photo, the art direction, symbols, metaphors, and so forth: Everything is bland in shopping mall land. Beige, beige, beige, as far as the eye can see. Also Seymour's apartment has a bland and antiseptic quality. Seymour is a good name for a stalker and voyeur, because he always wants to "see more." The shortened form of his moniker, "Sy," is even better, because it brings to mind the Cyclops: One Giant Eye looking right at you, like the lens of a camera. There are a lot of visual metaphors for pictures and photography. Sometimes windows and the framing of shots all conspire to bring to mind cameras and photography. The names of the characters are often names of famous photographers, an inside joke (just as one example, his associate is named Araki just like a famous Japanese photographer).
'One Hour Photo' is a very interesting film for its design ideas and its comments on loneliness and alienation in the modern world (or at least as modern as 2002) but it has a few holes in the plot and other flaws that prevent it from being more than an exercise to impress film school professors. For instance, would a couple who have just been humiliated and threatened with a knife just remain in stunned silence once their assailant had left them? Wouldn't they be on the phone in the blink of an eye, calling 911 about the maniac?
If you can suspend disbelief just a little bit, you might enjoy this film for its clever design, thrills and suspense, and a performance from Robin Williams that is very different from anything he's done up to this point.
"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" .... Merritt Rook (1 episode, 2008)
- Authority (2008) TV episode .... Merritt Rook
August Rush (2007) .... Maxwell 'Wizard' Wallace
License to Wed (2007) .... Reverend Frank
RV (2006) .... Bob Munro
Insomnia (2002/I) .... Walter Finch
Death to Smoochy (Widescreen Edition) (2002) .... Rainbow Randolph
... aka T?tet Smoochy (Germany)
One Hour Photo (2002) .... Seymour Parrish
Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001) (voice) .... Dr. Know
Patch Adams (1998) .... Hunter 'Patch' Adams
What Dreams May Come (1998) .... Chris Nielsen
Deconstructing Harry (1997) .... Mel/Harry's Character
To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar (1995) (uncredited) .... John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
Nine Months (1995) .... Dr. Kosevich
Mrs. Doubtfire (Behind-the-Seams Edition) (1993) .... Daniel Hillard / Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire
Being Human (1993) .... Hector
Toys (1992) .... Leslie Zevo
Aladdin (Disney Special Platinum Edition) (1992) (voice) .... Genie
Hook (1991) .... Peter Banning
The Fisher King (1991) .... Parry
Shakes the Clown (1991) (as Marty Fromage) .... Mime Class Instructor
Dead Again (1991) .... Doctor Cozy Carlisle
Awakenings (1990) .... Dr. Malcolm Sayer
Cadillac Man (1990) .... Joey O'Brien
Dead Poets Society (1989) .... John Keating
Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) .... Adrian Cronauer
Jonathan Winters: On the Ledge (1987) (TV) .... Various Characters
Seize the Day (1986) .... Tommy Wilhelm
Club Paradise (1986) .... Jack Moniker
The Best of Times (1986) .... Jack Dundee
"Pryor's Place" .... Gabby (1 episode, 1984)
Moscow on the Hudson (1984) .... Vladimir Ivanoff
The World According to Garp (1982) .... Garp
"Mork & Mindy" .... Mork (94 episodes, 1978-1982)
"The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour" (1 episode, 1982)
Popeye (1980) .... Popeye
Andy Kaufman Plays Carnegie Hall (1980) (V) (uncredited) .... Andy's Grandmother
"Happy Days" .... Mork (2 episodes, 1978-1979)
Larry - Repairman: Next time you call me out here, that thing better be belching fire.
All style and very little substance A thriller without a drop of blood. Some directors can do it such as the hugely under-rated New Zealand film 'Mr Wrong'. This film simply does not cut it. Robin Williams is credibly creepy but the family he stalks is just bland, the cops who chase him are bland, the shopping manager who fires him is bland.
They all cohabit this bland universe. Some good ideas with colour and placement of characters, do not replace good writing and suspense.
The ending of this film is routine and the premise appears to be an afterthought. Williams tremendous performance is wasted in a directorial style exercise.
And for those of you who like flaws in film look at the final scene where Williams leaves the hotel on the ground floor and then has to run down several levels of a car park. The director obviously loved the circular car park so that it did not matter that the scene did not make sense.
I'd also have a think about the sacking scene. Without a shred of evidence, the manager manages to sack a perfectionist worker after 11 years service without so much as a warning. it does not ring true. The whole film does not allow you to escape to this universe....more info
when reality and fantasy collide, it's not a pretty picture They say "a picture is worth a thousand words," and "One Hour Photo" definitely proves it. The movie takes an ordinary action -having photos developed- and twists it into a deeply disturbing ride which delves into the psyche of the man behind the counter who knows more about you than you think he does. With unbelievable agility, comedian Robin Williams molds himself into a dramatic actor in this psychological thriller. He plays Sy Parrish, a photo-developer at a Wal-Mart type place. He is lonely, depressed, and traumatized, and longs to be part of the ostensibly perfect Yorkin family. Sy believes that Will and Nina Yorkin are the perfect married couple and that they have the American dream. Sy has an entire wall of his apartment devoted to pictures of the Yorkins, but his obsession is at first harmless. Then he stalks the Yorkins, visits their house, and dreams about them. When he realizes that Will has had an affair he forces Will and his partner-in-crime to do degrading actions so he can take pictures of them. Sy has built up an image of the Yorkins that is so powerful that when Will breaks up this fantasy Sy goes over the edge. "One Hour Photo" is a brilliant, well-directed, well-acted suspense. The cinematography and score add to what is the "Psycho" of the 21st century....more info
his best performance,ever. i hated mork and mindy. i thought it was a waste of a buzz back in the day. i can't stand to watch him on the talk shows. he is always trying his hardest to be funny,but he is not. he is simply exhausting and i have to turn the channel. he,crystal and goldberg are hateful people. they love baseball,i loathe baseball. rv (the movie,sucked) should have been the end of williams. it proves that if you suck enough producer ball* you can continue your "carreer" no matter what. however,one hour photo puts williams in a different light. he has proven to me that he can actually act. he gives a friendly,yet very creepy performance. i can say that i whole heartily prefer this over anything he does comically. having said that,i found this dvd for 3.99 and i still passed....more info
Very deep, beyond initial perception I thought this was a very good movie, but I didn't realize much of what made it even better until I read Karalea's review. If you haven't read it, I suggest you do so. I've heard some people rant that this movie is "slow" and "boring" but it really isn't (if you share my movie preferences that is). The story is very gradual, but it ages well towards an interesting melancholic ending. It left me wanting to know more about what was to come. Maybe there will be a "sequel" in the "Hannibal" style? I hope......more info
It is said that an image is worth more than a thousand words. But in One Hour Photo, pictures are worth more than life to Sy Parrish.
He works in the photo-laboratory of a local supermarket. He develops the images of the people who captures with their cameras the happiest and most special moments of their lives. Sy takes his job very seriously and makes every effort to make the pictures look perfect.
The problem is that Seymour Parrish has seen already too many photos of a particular family, the Yorkins. He becomes obsessed with Nina, Will and his son Jacob, until he considers himself a member of the family. So when something good happens, he is happy for them. But if something is bad, Sy is capable of doing whatever it takes to make things right.
And that's how Sy crosses the thin line between sanity and craziness.
One Hour Photo offers a darker side of Robin Williams. The comedian and sentimental hero of films like Dead Poets Society or Mrs. Doubtfire leaves behind his do-always-good image and opts for a more aggressive role.
Mark Romanek, the director, focus the store completely in Sy; with off narrations, he describes slowly the nature of Sy's personality. Like a photo, a portrait of a repressed, egotistic, neurotic and aggressive man is revealed before our yes, leaving us with a question mark: could our life be that vulnerable?
THE BEST CREEPY MOVIE! ONE HOUR PHOTO IS OF THE MOST CREEPY FILMS I HAVE EVER SEEN ROBIN WILLIAMS DOES AN EXCELLENT JOB IN THIS FLICK, BUT THERE IS ONE THING I DON'T UNDERSTAND, I DID NOT UNDERSTAND THE ENDING ALL I SEE IS PICTURE OF SY PARRISH WITH THE YORKINS I SEE WILL YORKIN HUGGING SY, DO THEY RELEASE HIM OR WAS THAT PICTURE FAKE OR REAL OR JUST SOMETHING TO CONFUSE THE AUDIENCE?...more info
Sy is my hero! Well over a year after having first watched this movie, I am still perplexed by it. The story is clearly an indictment of our pathological society, values and alienation, in which Sy Parrish is a hero of considerable stature - as well as a victim of the pathologies of others (and of society). That's the story. A classic Henrick Ibsen-style indictment of society, along the lines of A Doll's House or The Master Builder. But the treatment is something else entirely: it is an intentional villanization of this simple moral hero, in some perverse attempt to vindicate the insanity of our commericalized culture. And because of this treatment, most people don't even see the story. Some do, although Victoria Alexander, at [...], was the only reviewer I found who had the insight to understand that the villain of the piece was not Sy Parrish, but the cultural environment in which he lived (in which we all live). Most people are too much a part of that environment to see themselves.
It is so clear to me that Sy is a hero, that I wonder about writer/director Mark Romanek and actor Robin William's unstated motives in making it as they did. The backstory features on the dvd indicate that they were clearly making it as a horror picture in which Sy was the villain ... yet it is so masterfully done, I wonder if they were, perhaps, intentionally duplicitous - in order to get produced, distributed, and gain market share (and good reviews) by an entire society of producers, revieweres and consumers who are simply too witless to grasp that the joke's on them - and that their ability to be thus hoodwinked proves the thesis of the movie. If that's the case, it's likely we'll never know.
Sy Parrish is patently the odd-man-out, as would any sane person be, in what passes for human values in the uSA. There are, hopefully, many such sane people still in this country ... characters who would be right at home - and respected - in some such period as the Canadian tv series "Avalon" ... or, in general, society of 100 years past (or in the third world), yet who are too moral, too sane, and too internally healthy, to be able to cope very well in a SavMart spaceship/society, especially inasmuch as the majority of the inhabitants are seemly adjusted to their alienation, and think they possess and practice human values, rather than artificially contrived ones - leaving the hero alone and grasping at straws for "human" companionship, if only as fantasies.
Many of the Amazon.com reviewers say that they found the scenes with Sy and the young boy creepy and unsettling, and I can appreciate that any disruption of their artificial universe might be threatened by someone like Sy ... or someone from the third world for whom the commercial conventionalities of our world were seen-through, or seen as pathological. Of course, the other point is that, in regard to the technical devices of filmmaking, the makers of the film were intentionally manipulating these scenes to appear creepy to the average movie-goer by pushing all the stock Hitchcockian buttons - and doing it smoothly. Yet, if you know anything about filmmaking, you know that "creepiness" can be invoked by the camera without anything being amiss in the actual situation/dialogue/scene. And that's what is so amazing about this film - it is all a matter of perspective (except the basic story itself, which is, as mentioned, classic Ibsen, and, as such, reveals a whole different "backstory").
Sy, in doing the moral thing, after much gut-wrenching soul-searching - at the cost of his job and his freedom - is clearly a hero of rare dimensions in the modern world. So much so as to be unrecognizable by those who are used to more relativistic and amoral entertainment. True, his martyrdom was not a major thing to him - as living in our society was a form of ongoing dehumanizing martyrdom anyway for this "brother from another planet." One Hour Photo is possibly one of the greatest films of the past century, whether it was intended as such or not. And - whichever way you are able to view it - it is certainly one of the most disturbing!...more info
tight thriller This is an unusual thriller about an unusual character. robin williams plays the lonely photo developer at a wal mart type store. he ends up becoming a stalker of a family, but one that you can relate to. the filmakers somehow find a way to put everyone in the same boat of surburbian desolation. this movie does a spendid job of painting a modern kind of wasteland, dominated by materialism, consumerism and strip malls. photography serves as a kind of witness to the decay of modern living.
this movie moves to a slow boiling point, but the tension is palpable and gripping. ...more info
well paced thriller The plot is simple, but it works. Robin Williams as a photo developer who is obsessed with one of his customer's family photo's and the family itself. His obsession leads to strange turn of events. The film tackles one man's loneliness and how jealousy over what someone else appears to have can lead to problems. The film definitely showcases Robin Williams acting ability. It's the first thriller suspense film that I have seen in a long time which has been so absorbing.
Creepy, clever and engaging. Worth seeing....more info
Creepfest. One Hour Photo is a psychological thriller starring Robin Williams. Williams gives a creepy but brilliant performance as a photo shop worker who becomes obsessed with the "perfect" family. Michael Vartan and Connie Nielsen also star. The ending is a bit choppy but I liked this film, edgy and provocative. I highly recommend it!...more info
Superb Character Study One Hour Photo does not qualify as a horror film, but it certainly is creepy and engrossing.
Robin Williams gives an outstanding performance as Sy Parrish, one of those little people in life that everyone ignores. Parrish is photo developing technician for one of those value chain stores. His dress is impeccable, he lives in a drab and virtually empty apartment, and drives a sensible car. The guy really reeks of smallness and emptiness. Through the years he has insinuated himself into the Yorkin family from afar as he has developed their photos detailing virtually every aspect of their lives. His actions become a little more intrusive as he scouts their home and young son. Still, his actions seem harmless enough--until one sees the hundreds of family photos Sy has pasted on one of his apartment walls in some sort of giant collage. Only then do we suspect a sinister side of William's character.
A combination of Sy being fired from his job (his boss, played by Gary Cole, finds out about hundreds of unauthorized prints being made) and his discovering, by chance, Will Yorkin's infidelity sends him over the edge. He 'innocently' tries (and succeeds) to make Yorkin's wife aware of her husband's elicit affair but it doesn't generate the result he desires. He then tries a more aggressive approach in the climactic scene of the movie. Apparently, Will Yorkin shattered Sy's vision of the perfect family. Sy is a tamer version of the Terry O'Quinn character in the first two Stepfather movies--but no less creepy.
The movie is very compartmentalized, with most of its scenes either in the store where Sy works, his apartment, or the Yorkin home. It's the scenes in the apartment where we truly see the emptiness of the man's life. Again, Robin Williams's performance is startling.
Be Prepared!! It has been a while since I have seen a movie that made me feel uncomfortable while watching it. Having just watched One Hour Photo I can no longer make such a claim. Director/Writer Mark Romanek has brought out the very best in Robin Williams who, in my estimation, delivers his most significant performance to date. Williams subtley brings a creepiness to the screen in a character the likes of which one would not have though him capable of playing. The film keeps viewers on edge for its entire running time and manages to deliver a few honestly funny moments. I would recommend this film to anyone in the mood for darker than normal fare. ...more info
Creepfest. One Hour Photo is a psychological thriller starring Robin Williams. Williams gives a creepy but brilliant performance as a photo shop worker who becomes obsessed with the "perfect" family. Michael Vartan and Connie Nielsen also star. The ending is a bit choppy but I liked this film, edgy and provocative. I highly recommend it!...more info
3 stars out of 4 The Bottom Line:
Though the advent of digital photography may render the theme somewhat obsolete, this well-directed and acted horror film acts on the audience's fears convincingly for a majority of the film until the not-entirely successful ending....more info
worst movie ever this is one of the worst movies ive seen and i am a big robbin williams fan ive seen every thing he has done even the birdcage i thought thet insomia was ten times better then this garbege but thats just me im sure there are heeps of poeople out there who like it i thougt it was bouring...more info
"I just took pictures" This is a very, very impressive film. Robin Williams, whose comedies are nothing short of loathsome, takes us into dark territory very believably. Mark Romanek wrote and directed, and obviously knew what he was doing in every shot and with every angle. The writing is superb.
Creepy is a word that is easily brought to mind, almost too easily, by this movie. This is partly do to the movie's understated style. We nod our heads, because we've encountered people like this. Sy "the photo guy" is not an ogre, is not unintelligent, and has his own peculiar compassion for people. This makes it easy to empathize with Sy, and pity him, even as he concocts his despicable and pathetic strategies to insinuate himself into the lives of the Yorkins. When we watch him methodically eating and watching the Simpsons, just barely existing, there's something of an accusation directed at us watchers as well. Sy's obvious alienation from society, and his inner sterility, seem even more genuine with his dutiful participation in and obedience to the bankrupted, valueless and commodified civilization embodied by the SAVEMart, and maintained by the petty and bureaucratic manager (Gary Cole). Romaneck almost takes the manager character towards stereotype, by with Cole even it rises above two-dimensionality.
Sy casts himself in the role of protector, as a sort of unbidden defender of human value and values, transcending his own mediocrity by--I suppose--denying it. The delusional grandiosity of this role is even more sad if we have to believe that Sy's dysfunctionality is the only reason he gives a damn. What does that say?
The melodrama of a Hitchcock is absent here. The aesthetic violence of Scorcese's ritualistic TAXI DRIVER also isn't to be found. ONE HOUR PHOTO is most poignant in a main character who is everywhere today in our society. He's easy to understand because we've encountered people like this. The alienated and socially dysfunctional, who are unable to form relationships, respect boundaries, and understand intimacy are all too frequent. The near sympathy with which he's treated in the movie, and protrayed by it, may help us to be able to recognize and maybe address it somewhat in our lives.
A movie that is a clear forerunner, and I think influenced Romaneck, is Coppola's 1974 THE CONVERSATION, starring Gene Hackman, a sort of commentary on the Watergate era. It most closely compares to ONE HOUR PHOTO. Hackman is superb as Harry Caul, whose inner world is a contentless vacuum, yet guarded with obsessive paranoia (Kafka's allegorical story, "The Burrow," explores this kind of existence). Isolation and paranoia morally hamstring the protaganist, yet guides his obsession when he suddenly decides to act as a moral agent. The conclusion of that movie is extraordinary....more info
The Mind's Eye Snapped My wife and I had just watched this film on German television last night and we were, to use a cliche, glued to the edge of our seats. Robin Williams was great as lonely photo developer Sy Parrish, and great performances by Gary Cole (who I haven't seen on TV since "Midnight Caller"), "ER"'s Eriq La Salle as Detective Van Der Zee was equally great. The main issue I wanted to bring across in my review, which seems to have either escaped the 40 others I've read or you are not all photography aficionados, but I noticed that the names of most of the characters in the movie are named after famous photographers (kudos to the scriptwriter for staying in theme with the movie) -
Yoshi Araki, Sy's young assistant (= Nobuyoshi Araki, Japanese erotic photographer), Detective Van Der Zee (= James Van der Zee, Harlem Renaissance photographer), and VdZ's colleague Outerbridge (= Paul Outerbridge). ...more info
Beautiful When it all comes down to it
all you have is family.
And when you don't have family
you dont have anything.
A very deep, and symbolisim strewn debut. A man is as fragile as a cracking windshield who returns home in the same rinse, lather, repeat he does everyday, like a hamster in a wheel.
"It's probably the person you least expect!" Says Homer Simpson on Sy's (Robin Willams) television.
"No one ever takes a photograph of something they wish to forget."
a bravura performance by robin williams the Williams character creepy? I am not so sure. If there was anything creepy in this idiosyncratic movie it was the bland anonymity of the American Wal-Mart (the "Sav-mart") with its enforced fake smiles with which the employees (the "associates") are exhorted to meet the shopping clients and the sublimated brutality which underlies the ruthless corporate machine that dehumanizes both the buyer and the seller. I am convinced part of the unease with which the average American meets this movie originates in the guilt he/she/we feel acknowledging the treatment we give these faceless "associates" in our shopping complexes. Romanek provides us with an insightful visual vignette commentary which suggests that whenever we overlook another human being we become less human ourselves.
My dominant response to Sy "the photo guy" was that of sadness. Sadness over the loneliness of a man who was never allowed to grow and unfold, who has been forced to suppress his rage so that all that remained was a bland, sterile facade with no inner life; someone who has found meaning only in other people's (perceived) happiness. Do we see here any parallels with latter day obsession of the masses with celebrity and status? Is your regular B. Spears or NASCAR afficionado just another version of "the photo guy"?
This movie is about Sy's yearning for simple things - family life, love, connectedness. He believes, like so many of us, that other people could bring us happiness... if only..... The detective understands this, in the end, with a mixture of sadness, pity and even affection. Romanek did a great job with little money. And Robbins' performance was simply stunning - it was nuanced, forceful and sophisticated. This may not be a movie to entertain friends with ... but it certainly is a movie that made me think, feel and investigate. I recommend it....more info
Robin Williams at his best....but something was missing I have to admit Robin Williams is one of the most talented actors out there. he can play so many different roles. In this movie he plays a very lonely and depressed man named Sy who just wants a family. He works at a 1-hour photo store and stalks a family with a young son who are long time customers. The intensity is very good. you can really see how scary Robin Williams can be and i thought that was impossible. but some how the suspense dies off, and the ending left me disatisfied. I won't spoil the ending you have to see it for yourself. Good performance by Robin Williams!...more info
And who could that be stalking us now? Along with the nanny, the stepdad, the cable guy, the 14-year-old girl with a crush... we now have the PHOTO PROCESSING CLERK to fear! Yes, everyone is out to get us.. or at least that's what Hollywood would have us believe.
I am getting sick of films like this that constantly contort normal healthy human interaction and community relations into perverse horrors that are far from reality. No wonder we live in a culture of such exagerrated suspicion, mistrust, fear (and the resulting isolation) when we have films like this constantly stoking these fears of people around us.
Yes, films like these have their place. However, I think Hollywood has taken it a bit too far and needs to pull itself back into reality.
SMILE and say CHEESE? NO! SMILE and say BLOOD!!!!!! Robin Williams gives a CREEPY performance in this SCARY
suspense thriller. Robin plays Sy Parrish a very lonely
man who wants nothing more than to be part of a perfect
family. ENTER THE YORKINS! The husband and wife have
that perfect smile and have a son who does no wrong.
Sy has developed their pic. since the birth of their son.
11yrs. total,but when the husband cheats on his wife that
is when this movie kicks into SCARY gear! For Sy does not
like that and what Sy does not like.........
This is a very good movie and easily one of Robin's best
performances(I prefer Robin controlled in his movies like
this and the brilliant World According to Garp as oppose
to the yelling obnoxious Good Morning Vietnam roles) There
are very SPOOKY moments for me in this movie. And for GORE
hounds where else can you see Robin's eyes popping out
with tons of blood I'll tell ya! In this movie. One
Hour Photo is Scary because unlike Frankenstein and
the Wolf Man there are Sy's out there. I really
enjoyed this movie and thought the supporting cast especially
the actor who plays Robin's Boss did a fine job. The most
SCARIEST part for me was not shown in the film. But I could
not help but keep asking myself during the movie WHAT HAPPENED
TO SY TO BE LIKE THIS? I mean he had to have had a mother
what happened to her? A father? It is never explained
and I feel that is a good thing. I'm one who loves
guts and arteries thrown in my face. But I can also appreciate
the not seeing and not knowing as well. One Hour Photo
I am proud to own and have in my HAUNTING coll. of DVD'S.
Williams is Outstanding in a Great Looking Movie One Hour Photo is a film about a lonely man who develops film at "SavMart". His name is Sy Parrish (Robin Williams) and his job is really all he has. There are social ingredients missing in Sy's mind, and as we get to closer to him we begin to put the pieces together. He has nothing to live for outside of his job and the family that are his favorite customers. The Yorkins; Nina (Connie Nielsen), Will (Michael Vartan), and their only child Jake are the customers Sy most enjoys producing prints for. He sees them as the ideal family and he loves them so much that he creates copies of their prints for himself and he calls himself "uncle" Sy. Unfortunately for Sy, the Yorkins are not aware of any of this. Sy is awkward and socially inept. He walks through life without the ability to relate appropriately with others and it begins to weigh in on him. So what happens if Will Yorkin's friend Maya shows up with a roll of film of her own, and the pictures show her being intimate with Will? What will Uncle Sy do?
There is a genuine creepiness to Director Mark Romanek's One Hour Photo. Romanek's ability to organize images to appropriately translate in the music video medium is evidently a solid carryover to his work as a feature filmmaker. This movie has a remarkably unique feel to it and where most films of this genre would focus on the Yorkins as the protagonists, One Hour Photo has us staring directly at the empty and profoundly sad Sy Parrish. Jeff Cronenweth, the film's cinematographer, also deserves immense praise for his blinding white SavMart shots and overall crisp photography. The setting becomes Sy's element effortlessly, which is convenient because SavMart is Sy. He has nothing to go home to. The most praise though should land squarely upon Robin Williams. His role is a completely unrecognizable transformation and even though he received praise and a Saturn Award, he may have received more if this performance was in a different genre.
There is something about the way One Hour Photo unfolds that is appropriate but invariably predictable. The ending doesn't hit as hard as the effective (and credit-less) opening scenes. It's hard to say whether that is a criticism of the second half of One Hour Photo or a gigantic compliment to the first half. I can't imagine a better ending that wouldn't come off as overly contrived or too psychological but all of this is very much just nitpicking. One Hour Photo is a very good movie carried primarily by its lead performance and its original atmosphere. ...more info
One Photo Geek Who Could Use Some Therapy And Medication!!! This is a very tiring overrated Suspense / Thriller . Robin Williams plays a guy named Sy who works at a One Hour Photo stand. By processing his customer's photos he feels as if he has gotten to know one family in particular and sees them as his "Ideal' Family Unit.Sy takes 90 minute lunchbreaks, daydreams about this family, gives away free cameras and is distressed when he is fired from his job!!! Is this guy a loser or what? Then predicatably his vision of his "perfect family" begins to crumble and he then has what psychiatrists refer to as a "Psychotic Episode" just like his name suggests!!!I give this movie 5 stars because the nice guy at the photo shop where I get my films developed is nothing like this geek. I think so. Gee, I hope so!!!...more info
Be VERY sure you want to watch this movie... ... BEFORE you watch it. I saw it just because Robin Williams' genius in comedy tends to not net him many dramatic roles, despite the fact that he was dramatically trained while in school and is equally brilliant in playing dramatic parts.
One Hour Photo shows the life of a very lonely man who fantasizes about being a part of the "perfect" family... who he later finds out is not so perfect! This movie runs the gamut from a little tedious to incredibly dramatic to highly disturbing. (I will not go into details about Williams' character's little psychotic break which came THIS close to giving me nightmares--and I am NOT the sort of person who freaks out easily.)
While this movie totally proves that comedy is not the only home for the talent of Robin Williams.... still, I think it is too creepy for me to ever watch again. Sorry!...more info
Pictures are forever "Everyone always takes pictures of happy times. No one ever takes a picture of something they want to forget." Those are the words of "Sy the photo guy" , expertly played by Robin Williams. That's exactly what happens to Nina Younkin at the begining of the film. "It's a shame to waste this one exposure", Sy says as he takes a photo of himself using the Younkin's camera. Nina cringes a little, but as in all really good movies the early warning signs are missed.
Sy is a lonley man who dosen't realize he's lonely. His world is filmed in stark whites, and most of what we learn about Sy is told in spoken monolauge while we watch his bland and uneventful daily activities. In contrast, everything about he Younkin family has color and expression. We see early on that the marrage is troubled, but even those scenes are given a depth that Sy's life dosen't seem to have. Sy realizes this, and has filled his pale home with pictures of Will, Nina and Jake Younkin. For the past ten years or so, he prints an extra set every time the Younkins bring film in to the Sav-Mart where Sy runs the one hour photo lab.
Throughout the movie, we see Sy as wierd and a little frightening. The Younkins see a man who is a little eccentric, and harmless. Sy begins to "accedently" run into different members of the family as his desire to be part of thier happiness grows. All people have faults, and eventually Will's becomes known to Sy. This is his breaking piont. Robin Williams is wonderful to watch as he portrays Sy's struggle with himself and with the blemish that Will Younkin etched upon Sy's personal ideals.
Nobody dies, but people are destroyed. Watch this a second time after you know all that Sy tells the dective. There are clues, but Sy is a picture of something we want to forget. We look past the cause and just look at the effect. The movie isn't horror, or even an edge of you seat thriller. It's just really creepy. It stays with you longer than an action filled adventure would. Watch it, and be prepared to start developing your own film. Pictures can riun lives, and in this all to real story they do....more info
Portrait of isolation and delusion
One Hour Photo is a deeply troubling movie and does not resort to the usual cliches of stalker movies. The Robin Williams character is not a killer, a rapist or a pedophile. He is someone intensely lonely, so isolated from everyone else that he has resorted to fantasy in order to make his life more bearable. He develops photos for a living and latches onto one family - and their photos - as an inspiration for his fantasies. This particular family makes him happy because they seem to be perfect; in his fantasies he pretends that he's the beloved uncle of the family, and that they love him and invite him to their house.
Personally when I was watching the movie I felt such a gut-wrenching sadness for the Williams character, especially when his world falls apart and he sees into the supposed perfection of his fantasy family. His performance is subdued and tortured. To others he tries to appear normal; he tries to please and be helpful, and always comes across as overly eager or even creepy. Then when he breaks down it's tragic. The psychological drama is so powerful....more info
a very solid thriller So Robin Williams can also be in thrillers, I now know that for sure. He was terrifying in this highly realistic and believable thriller. But, you can sympathize also with the vilain and the crazy person. Robin Williams plays a man that develops film for a living. While doing this, the person that watches this movie realizes that the developpers can know EVERYTHING about you. This made me feel uncomftorbable at times because even though I already knew this, I just never really had thought about it. But, William's character then becomes obsessed with one family and makes copies of all of their film and puts in on his walls. When you first see this, it's very disturbing.
But, he still loves this family and dreams of being part of the family. He's always very nice to them but when one of the members of the family is "insincere" and has a secret that only William's character knows about while developping film, he goes absolutely insane. But, even after what he does, which I won't give away, you still sympathize with his character, feeling very sorry for him. You actually at a lot of moments disslike the member of the family that has commited this "bad deed" way more than you do Robin William's character. This vilain is very different and unlike most vilains which you hate, you sympathize with him and feel very sorry for this lonely person that has been driven to insanity. William's performance is absolutely brilliant....more info
Where are my pictures? A nice sunrise opening is never explained, but it would make a good postcard. We are told that 'family photos are almost always of the happy moments and show smiling faces.' We don't take pictures of something we want to forget.
In the case of a fire, after pets, people usually save their family photos. In the early '60s, I lived in an apartment building in the historic West Hill area of Pulaski, TN, where a fire started in the walls between the floors. A neighbor sat down placidly to look at her photo albums, which I thought strange at the time. I was busy getting my baby and cat and run down the stairs to deposit them on another neighbor's sofa.
Sy has worked in a photo developing department of a store for 20 years and it is his life. He gives special treatment to customers he likes, sometimes a free disposable camers as a birthday gift.
He is a loner who "adopts" the Yorkin family. Similarly, Miss Barnes, a spinster librarian at the college where we were, had considered me and mine as her surrogate family. It is so sad when you have no one in your life, no one who really cares.
He lives vicariously through the photos he personally handled (sometimes making a copy for himself) for nine years. He tells the waitress at a seedy restaurant where he eats alone that the child is his nephew. He collects all kinds of old photographs of people he doesn't know. One was a Senior High picture of a girl taken in the '50s which he pretended was of his mother.
His narration at intervals throughout the movie was most informative, such as, "I was here; I existed. Someone cared enough about me to take my picture."
In fact, he took one of himself at the end of one of the Yorkins' roll so they would see it. He explained that a snapshot is a hurried shot taken without deliberate aim; a hunting term. When I take photos, I always aim with an eye for a good background and sometimes abandon the shot if the background is not what I want.
Sy gets a little too personal in his comments about their lovely home when he encounters the husband in the store one day. A fantastic tree (such as the large one which grows outside my window) is shown at the Yorkin's front door. He "visits" when they are not at home and makes himself 'at home' with a beer watching t.v. and even using the bathroom. One day they catch him there and pretend he was expected.
He observes a family coming apart emotionally with lots of interpersonal and financial problems, while Sy sits alone watching the Simpsons on t.v. and looking at his wall covered with snapshots of this young family. He shadows the family wherever they go, even sits in the bar reading Deepak Chopra's THE PATHS TO LOVE as he knows that Ms. Yorkin is also reading this book. He quotes a passage of Chopra's Eastern philosophy: "The things we fear the most have already happened to us."
From his voyeurism (looking through a set of intimate photos a young girl left to be developed), he discovers the adulterous behavior of Jake's father. As a result, he inserts them into the envelope for some rather silly snaps the child took with his 'free' camera.
He has made hundreds of copies of other photos without paying and, as a result, gets fired. I liked the scene where he sits dejectedly on a bed in the store with a Kitty pillow. Pathologically, he withdraws and his personality changes. He sits in a corner on the floor and smiles at the atrocious assortment of snaps Jake took which Sy developed as his last 'job.'
As he leaves on his final day of work, he steals a long butcher knife. He follows as the Yorkins retrieved the photos to observe the wife's hurt and torment when she sees the evidence of her husband's infidelity. He even goes so far as to hide and take pictures of the family through a large picture window as they go through the normality of a meal. The purloined revealing, sexy photos didn't have the lasting effect he'd hoped for.
He is clever in his demented state as he sets out to make things right for his beloved "adopted" family. He tracks the philandering husband with his mistress to a hotel and maneuvers to get a room on the same floor. He tortures the nude couple as he photographs them in sordid situations.
He has committed a criminal act previously, by taking photos of his manager's young daughter. Gary Cole was good as the manager who had to fire him. He was marvelous in the t.v. series AMERICAN GOTHIC. He has invated their existence and subsequently indirectly threatened the child's life. The police are called and discover the wall of photographs which Sy has defaced by scratching the face of the husband in each one.
He is able to delude them by intervening through a conference on 'retinal implants' at the hotel and escapes through the kitchen. He runs like the athlete he never was, down the garage ramps. But gets caught nevertheless. He'd left the unused knife behind in room 519 and says, "I just took pictures."
On the surface, Jake's dad looks the same but nothing will ever be the same. Is this man smart enough to appreciate the good he has? Or will he continue to cheat on his wife and neglect his son. No one will ever be the same.
Sy was harmed emotionallly by some of the content of photographs he'd developed for fifteen years. Seeing some of the things people did to their children had left lasting damage to his psyche. He ended up with stupid photos of inanimate objects that only a crazy person would take. The scene where his nightmare showed blood gushing from his eyes had set him on a trail of depravity.
Did this move have any redeeming quality? I didn't see any, but this is one film it will take me a long time to forget. Sorta like PSYCHO. I guess that stands for something in the long run of things; perhaps a lesson was learned after all....more info
The Eye in the Sky As in Christopher Nolan's "Insomnia" Robin Williams demonstrates new aspects of his talent in this multilateral thriller, making it a disturbing character sketch rather than a vehicle for cheap thrills. He's the friendly photo-tech in the local mart, especially fond of a particular family, the Yorkins. When they hand over their rolls he prints an extra set for himself, literally covering his walls at home with their pictures, gradually feeling that he's one of them (uncle Sy). Apart from being an exciting character in his own right, the production design makes him blend in with his surroundings, being a part of them on an allegorical level. He's not just a Peeping Tom, but a guardian of morals, related to Orwell's surveillance. When the husband violates the moral principles of a wholesome nuclear family by having an affair, he acts as an angel of vengeance - not a biblical one, but rather an incarnation of the social Ordnung, the flame-sword replaced with a hunting knife and his cyclops eye, the camera. The movie should also be praised for its restrained pace and closing, not relying on the usual hysterical tricks of this genre....more info
It's Always the Quiet Guys "One Hour Photo" is one of those rare gems of a thriller that is driven mostly by character development instead of plot. Robin Williams gives one of his finest performances as a lonely photo finisher whose obsession with a family eventually drives him over the edge.
Some reviewers compare this film with "Taxi Driver," but I don't think it's much like it at all. While Taxi Driver's third act turns into an over-the-top gore fest of violence and insanity, One Hour Photo lets its protagonist gradually slip into a mental state of rage, and without a tacked-on happy ending like we saw in Taxi Driver.
One Hour Photo is kind of slow in spots, but it's also a very compelling, dark, and harrowing chiller. And Robin Williams's character is more frightening to watch than any violent blood-and-guts slasher flick because we don't know when this lonely, quiet guy is going to snap....more info