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One Hour Photo /

Rated: R

Starring: Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen, Michael Vartan, Dylan Smith, Andrew A Rolfes 

Directed by: Mark Romanek 

Produced by: Christine Vachon, Pam Koffler, Stan Wlodkowski, Stanley J. Wlodkowski, Pamela Koffler 

Written by: Mark Romanek 

Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures


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Movie Image
Movie Image

     Mark Romanek is one of the most talented writer/directors out there, and its amazing that I am able to say this after only his first film.  In his debut effort, One Hour Photo, he is able to create one of the most visually haunting movies of the year. Offering just about everything a perfect flick should, Romanek and his cast starring Robin Williams and Connie Nielson lay a perfect foundation and execute this wonderfully crafted tale, the film is a good candidate for the best pick of the year.

     The intelligent story stars an employee at the local SavMart (similar to Target in the real world), Sy Parrish (Robin Williams). Sy has been developing film at the one hour photo counter for a long time running. Though a friendly and helpful guy on the outside, Mr. Parrish is as insane as one can get on the inside. Due to his high level social absence, he is forced to interact with people only through photos. He secretly makes doubles of one families pictures, who have been long-time customers of the SavMart. His entire apartment wall is full of photos of the family, in which he has pasted on. Sy is the Yorkins’ secret stalker.

     Robin Williams created just about the most frightening character of all time. By the end of the film you are not only convinced that Sy Parrish is mentally insane, but that he is a foul-brained psychotic. With Insomnia and this under his belt, he has discovered the one genre that fits him as an actor; his enormous talent just works in this film. He is able to fully encompass the mind of a man who is ten times that of your normal crazy person. I smiled while watching him light up the set, it’s an excellent feeling when you see an actor just flat out nail a role.

     In Roger Ebert’s review for the movie Signs he quotes “Silence has never been so scary.” I think that that quote adequately fits One Hour Photo as well. When no one is speaking, and the room is blank, your mind soars into a land of deep thought. What are my feelings on this Sy Parrish? How do I feel about the two-timing Yorkin husband? What do these people really need and want? This flick made me think, not to say that I was confused; but that the way the material is done leaves you very observant.

     I found the original score used for the movie very interesting. At the beginning of the film I felt like taking off half of a bucket rating because of its mismatching with the images on the screen, though it grew on me when havoc began to take, and was ultimately the right choice of usage. Its off-beat tempo worked to make everything more chaotic, sending your brain through a mindless tailspin that dramatically effects your position on Parrish.

     With elements that are terrifying, shocking, and even almost heartfelt, One Hour Photo succeeds in making a realistic and unique mystery. Romaneck has a wonderful future ahead of him in the movie business and his inspirational writing and directing really pushed this one over the edge. Williams yet again delivers a fascinating performance as the emotionally-stirred “Sy the Photo Guy”. This is a movie that is meant to be seen and has the best film of two-thousand-and-two written all over it.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


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