Monday, January 23, 2017

Film Review: One Hour Photo (2002)

One Hour Photo (Review)
United States/2002
Format Viewed For Review: HBO Now
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...a creepy and suspenseful film about obsession."

Sy Parrish (Robin Williams), an employee at a one-hour photo lab, develops an unhealthy obsession with a suburban family.

One Hour Photo starts off a bit slow. In fact, I'd say the first half of the film is too slow for its own good. It works in developing Sy's peculiar character, but it could have been fine-tuned. The second half of the film acts as a more traditional thriller as everything falls into its rightful place. The plot, with many compelling layers beyond its simple surface, follows Sy. Sy is a lonely photo technician who obsesses over his work – and also obsesses over his customers. In particular, Sy is fond of the Yorkin family: husband Will, wife Nina (Connie Nielsen), and son Jake. Since he regularly prints their photos, Sy feels like he's part of the family – often fantasizing about being with them. The plot takes a few twists and turns. It leads to a surprisingly poignant ending, too.


One Hour Photo is a great film. Although it's never excessive, it does leave an impression. It leaves you thinking, and that's something that a lot of films can't do nowadays. I felt like the pacing was off during the first half of the film. Although it ultimately works in developing character, it does often feel like nothing is going on. Fortunately, One Hour Photo eventually finds a decent and consistent pace while delivering one creepy scene after another. Thanks to its character and themes, the film really gets under your skin. Even in today's digital era, it makes you think about who's looking at your pictures. Hell, someone could have all of your Facebook pictures on his wall right now and you wouldn't know!

Robin Williams is stellar as the leading man in this film. He steals the show and practically makes the show. Although his character is considered the antagonist, he really makes you sympathize with him. Connie NIelsen is also great. The supporting cast was strong. The film was shot well. I liked the cinematography. The music was great, too. The film was written and directed by Mark Romanek. Although the pacing was inconsistent during the first half of the film, Romanek knows how to craft a psychological thriller through the use of deep character, clever plotting, and chilling visuals. The writing could have used some fine-tuning to create something a bit more consistent, but it ultimately works.

Overall, One Hour Photo is a great film. It's a creepy and suspenseful film about obsession. Thanks to its themes, it really hits home. There are some pacing issues, fifteen or so minutes could have been cut out, but it's still worth watching. If you're a fan of Robin Williams, I think you'll really appreciate his performance here, too.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Some nudity.

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