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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
[] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"Robin Williams: You are forgiven."
5 stars

Robin Williams has a deep, soothing voice that has too often been used in movies to quietly tell us how we can save ourselves. "Patch Adams," "Jakob the Liar," "Bicentennial Man," "Jack" -- all of these (and others) were sanctimonious pictures where Williams played the Wise Clown meant to show us the way.

It is wonderful, then, to see that sonorous voice used for evil, not good, in "One Hour Photo," which will surely be one of the most thrilling films of the year. For this time Williams is not a slightly off-beat fellow whose disarming but gentle humor guides the rest of humanity along the path to enlightenment. No, this time Williams is a psychotic man who buys a big knife and might kill someone with it.

Williams plays Sy Parrish, a loner and a perfectionist who works at the photo counter at a suburban Wal-Mart-type store. He has worked there for 11 years and in that time has come to know some of the regular customeres very well. In particular, he is attached to the Yorkins -- William (Michael Vartan) and Nina (Connie Nielsen) and their little boy, Jacob (Dylan Smith). He's been developing their photos ever since they were married. Why, he feels like he's part of the family himself!

Trouble is, the Yorkins think of Sy as "the photo guy," the fellow at the store whose name and face they know, and nothing more. Sy is experiencing unrequited love at its most heartbreaking -- and at its creepiest.

His obsession with the family becomes a threat when he learns a secret harbored by one of its members. That's when the awkward, uncomfortable moments between Sy and the Yorkins give way to more deliberate, unsettling behavior.

In a voice-over narration, Sy observes that we only take pictures of happy things. "Someone looking through our photo album would conclude we had led a joyous, happy existence." Clearly, this is not the case for Sy. We don't know what his photo album would include; indeed, we don't know much about him at all. In fact, the one revelation about his background is the one fault the movie has. It was creepier not knowing what made him this way than it is for the reason to be given, and for it to be such a trite one.

Writer/director Mark Romanek has done extensive work in music videos, and the more positive attributes of that medium -- a visual storytelling style, an eye for effective camera movement -- are brought to bear in this, his first feature film since something called "Static" in 1985. Together with cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, Romanek puts Sy in a lot of sterile, all-white environments, isolates him from the world, covers his eyes with a car's rearview mirror -- things that have been done before, yes, but all that means is that Romanek has learned from the masters. If he keeps this up, Romanek could join David Fincher and the Coen Brothers as one of the best visual directors working today.

Robin Williams is not the only one to suddenly display a gift for understatement. The film's musical score is by Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek, and it is perfect. Rather than forcing us to be scared by having the music lunge at us, the German musicians' industrial tones complement the film. One of the movie's most supremely creepy moments is at Sy's lonely apartment, when the camera pulls back to reveal a huge wall of 11 years' worth of Yorkin family photos, put up as a shrine to the family he desperately wants to be part of. It's a spine-tingling sight already, but the music sends it over the edge.

No acting career was ever in such need of, nor was able to achieve, a re-defining like "One Hour Photo" does for Robin Williams. We knew he could be a fantastic actor when he wanted to be, but we'd forgotten, what with all the syrupy family crap he's been doing lately. "One Hour Photo" is haunting and ominous, written, directed and acted nearly to perfection.

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originally posted: 02/08/02 09:20:24
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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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