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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 17.91%
Average: 16.42%
Pretty Bad: 10.45%
Total Crap: 1.49%

9 reviews, 80 user ratings

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One Hour Photo
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by Chris Parry

"Credit where it's due - it seems Robin Williams can act after all."
5 stars

Those people that call One Hour Photo the most disturbing work Robin Williams has ever shown don't know what they're talking about. I saw Patch Adams. I actually paid to see Bicentennial Man. Heck, I even sat through Jakob The Liar. No, One Hour Photo isn't nearly the most disturbing of Robin Williams' recent performances, but it certainly is one of the most accomplished. In fact, I'll go so far as to say it's a travesty that Williams wasn't nominated for a major award for this performance. But then, the film wasn't released by Miramax, so you can only hope for so much...

Williams plays 'SY The Photo Guy', a faceless employee of a large non-descript shopping warehouse. You know the type of joint; the Walmart-style megaplex facilities that sell one brand of everything and leave the entire local community eating off matching plates. Americans are continually told that these places are the epitome of the American way, though there'd be some people from the former Soviet Union that would laugh at that notion.

Sy is one of the minor cogs in this giant generic wheel, working at a low-wage job in a high-wage suburb, living vicariously through other peoples' happy snaps. He's particularly fond of the Yorkin family, a three person posse of wife, husband and kid, all of whom seem to be enjoying the perfect existence. On the other hand, Sy's reality is anything but perfect, sneaking of extra copies of the Yorkin's photos and adding them to his 'altar'. But the man at the photomat sees more than you know, and when he suspects all is not well in Perfect Town, he takes matters into his own disturbed hands.

Williams is perfect in this role, dulled down, deeply intraspective, with just the tiniest hint of tenderness that makes you sometimes wonder if he's even the bad guy. It's the silent moments that make the performance complete and writer/director Mark Romanek knows exactly how to let those moments play out. What is said in this film matters a lot, but it's what isn't said that really hits home. Romanek infuses the film with moments where you feel like saying 'ew', split seconds where you're sure things are going in a direction that will gross you out. His visual style perfectly compliments the scenes he's written and Williams is perfectly tuned to make full use of the canvas prepared by his director.

Co-stars Connie Nielsen and Michael Vartan are no slouches themselves, with Nielsen especially matching Williams in the 'unspoken word' department. Even Eriq La Salle, who I've generally accused of not knowing his ass from his elbow in the acting department, comes through with an understated performance that avoids cliche.

Which is not to say that the film is without a problem or two. The opening 'flash forward' scene which reveals that Sy is in trouble with the law takes away what could have been some nice build-up, and the final scene throws in a reason for Sy's behavior which seems to be an effort to leave us feeling he's not such a bad guy after all.

Ultimately, these issues aside, there's a ton to dig about this film. Following on from Williams' bravura turn in Insomnia (and his well intentioned misfire in Death To Smoochy), One Hour Photo is time and money well spent. See it, enjoy it, and start saving for a digital camera...

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originally posted: 02/21/03 18:40:02
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell creepy but overdone 3 stars
11/04/14 action movie fan eerie compelling psychological drama- held my interest 4 stars
12/05/12 Delbert Unforgettable. Frightening and Sad. 5 stars
8/19/11 RLan Robin Williams creepy performance is the highlight of this film. 3 stars
5/10/11 Stephanie One of the creepiest movies I've seen. Changes Robin Williams for ya forever! 4 stars
8/30/08 Shaun Wallner The storyline is well made! 5 stars
7/26/07 Quigley Very creepy. Sex was off-putting. Has the scariest dream sequence ever. Williams is superb 5 stars
12/03/06 David Pollastrini williams plays a psycho pretty well 4 stars
4/13/06 chris f the most touching yet sad film ive ever watched - a masterpeice 5 stars
9/02/05 ES Better than Insomnia, Willams always had the creepy weirdo thing going on 3 stars
7/20/05 Chris Worth look, quite scary (photo stalking anyone?) 4 stars
7/15/05 Indrid Cold Good acting and direction, but not particularly interesting or suspenseful. 3 stars
11/15/04 DM Jack Sommersby was dropped on his head when he was little. 4 stars
5/10/04 scott wolstencroft it was a very good movie it was really enjoyable 4 stars
3/30/04 KGB Why not, it was very disturbing, not original but thought provoking 5 stars
3/06/04 Vinny Why not? 5 stars
1/03/04 A F Why? 2 stars
1/02/04 R.W. Welch Williams nails his role as lonely weirdo. 4 stars
12/25/03 Mike If you're involved in such technicalities, well worth a look. The whole concept of voyeurs. 3 stars
12/10/03 Samuel A great thriller!! 3 stars
10/29/03 Artist Freak Well crafted in some senses technically but ultimately dull and trite 3 stars
10/17/03 Josh Standlee More like a freaking made-for-t.v. movie. Hated it! 1 stars
9/29/03 Honolulu Tur As noted, creepy, but that doesn't mean it was good, just creep 3 stars
9/24/03 DM Creepy and well-acted; ending leaves something to be desired 4 stars
9/23/03 Alice Good Acting, liked it ! 5 stars
9/14/03 Jim Creepy 5 stars
8/29/03 Grenadine Homer RW was excellent. Did wonder about 1hr photos & now wonder about Pharmacists! 4 stars
7/29/03 chris that my neighbor?? 5 stars
4/08/03 Mystique great thriller 5 stars
3/29/03 BoB Best movie ive ever seen! 5 stars
3/11/03 Matthew Smith a nervewracking experience, Robin Williams really bought that sense of unease to his role 5 stars
2/27/03 brentley Robin Williams' Sy Parrish is sad, yet very creeeeeeeepy.... 4 stars
2/26/03 Andrew Carden Eerie and Disturbing Thriller... 5 stars
2/26/03 Ken Creepy and disturbing. The ending was to subtle for most, apparently. 4 stars
2/22/03 scott A OKAY FIM 3 stars
2/22/03 Paul W. "no real subtext," you say? I say, EXACTLY! 5 stars
2/17/03 Phillip Williams is totally captivating. A gripping film. 5 stars
2/14/03 Ant A great film. Williams gives one of the best performances of 2002. 5 stars
2/12/03 alien assassin Robin Williams is creepy !!!! 4 stars
1/31/03 caitlin doyle lots of suspense 5 stars
11/05/02 Michael Buehler Rosita at Walgreens knows what you got for Christmas. Go Digital for Crying Out Loud! 5 stars
10/29/02 Unanon Forced in parts, Tidy wrap-up attempt at end failed utterly. 4 stars
10/10/02 Hawaiiantomboy07 Great Movie with an awful ending. What happens to anyone???????? 4 stars
10/10/02 Georgeous A refreshing change from teen "comedies" and rip-offs 5 stars
9/30/02 STEVE wow!hollywood trying to make a movie with thats scary! 4 stars
9/27/02 Mark G. The scariest movie ever produced by hollywood in the last 4 years. Incredible. 5 stars
9/26/02 Morally Sound Darkly delicious and creepy. 5 stars
9/25/02 snowconehead This is the first time one single actor has successfully carried an extremely slow movie 5 stars
9/21/02 Nicole Successfully creepy but the ending leaves you wanting something more 4 stars
9/19/02 jashuay the scene where the blood gushes from his eyes fucking rocks! and master w. is gay. the end 5 stars
9/18/02 Dave Grant I thought this movie sucked, and I wished I had of left half-way through. Not worth a dime 1 stars
9/18/02 .Choadushouse. Beautiful direction. Worth seeing just for that. I'm so glad Romanek is doing movies now! 5 stars
9/16/02 Etherealcelt The day after seeing ONE HOUR PHOTO I went to Wallmart and got scared. Great movie! 4 stars
9/16/02 malcolm this is the same guy who played Mork from Ork?! 5 stars
9/16/02 mrchar awesome performance and good camera work 5 stars
9/15/02 Steve Too damn slow! 2 stars
9/15/02 rue the whirl IT ROCKED. SEE IT. 4 stars
9/14/02 Kisuta Great movie. Visually exellent. 5 stars
9/14/02 Tooltime Taylor Smile for the camera!! **crack!**YOU'RE NOT SMILING, THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN!!! HA HA HA 5 stars
9/13/02 Heather C-r-e-e-p-y Stellar performance from Robin Williams 5 stars
9/11/02 ajay the sex was hot---oh wrong movie. Yeah, it's really good. 5 stars
9/10/02 puckfreak Robin Williams blah, blah, blah... the rest of the movie is barely above average. 4 stars
9/06/02 Butterbean The ending saves this from becoming a cliched stalker flick. 4 stars
9/05/02 Zach The music fit the movie so well.I never knew an orchastra could scare me.GaveMeChills!!!!!! 5 stars
9/02/02 Film Dude Deserves a wider release. 5 stars
9/02/02 Film Guy Good movie. a little slow at times but still good 4 stars
8/26/02 bonnie blue Surprisingly pure of Hollywood! Deeply sensitive, frightening rendering of human loneliness 5 stars
8/26/02 Obi Wan Movie is worth a look, moved kinda slow and where the hell are the final pictures? 4 stars
8/25/02 ray wow, haven't seen better all year. 5 stars
8/25/02 K-ronik Blown away. Never seen Wiliams better. 5 stars
8/07/02 Stan Wonderful movie..Robin Williams deserves a Best Actor for this one... 5 stars
8/06/02 Scouse Fuckin Very Good Robin At His Best Showing What A Great Actor He Is So Versatile 5 stars
5/20/02 Travis Eddings Mesmerizing, tremendously creepy 5 stars
5/14/02 BaitedSoul Great job by Williams, but the movie was a little too twisted for me 3 stars
4/22/02 Mikey Williams is amazing. The man has tons of talent. I saw the film on a smuggled screener.., 5 stars
4/11/02 Keith Brilliant. This will be huge. 5 stars
4/09/02 spikeme all the time Robin FINALLY GOT GAME with this and Death to Smoochy 5 stars
3/28/02 :: c0ry ::(c0d3 1989) Mark Romanek has crafted one of the most important and visionary films in a long time 5 stars
3/17/02 me good stuff...feels like an american beauty kinda 4 stars
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  21-Aug-2002 (R)



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