One Hour Photo

One Hour Photo

3.4 18
Director: Mark Romanek

Cast: Mark Romanek, Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen, Michael Vartan

     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Funnyman Robin Williams steps out of character in this tense, low-key thriller that marked the feature-film directorial debut of music video veteran Mark Romanek. Semour "Sy" Parrish (Williams) runs the photo processing department at a large discount store; Sy is dedicated to his job, and takes great pride in his work. Sy's favorite customers are Nina and Will Yorkin

Overview

Funnyman Robin Williams steps out of character in this tense, low-key thriller that marked the feature-film directorial debut of music video veteran Mark Romanek. Semour "Sy" Parrish (Williams) runs the photo processing department at a large discount store; Sy is dedicated to his job, and takes great pride in his work. Sy's favorite customers are Nina and Will Yorkin (Connie Nielsen and Michael Vartan), an attractive and cheerful young couple with a nine-year-old boy, Jake (Dylan Smith). Sy dotes on the Yorkins and their son whenever they drop off film to be processed -- something they've been doing quite often ever since Jake was born -- and Nina and Will are indulgent of Sy's attentions, regarding his as a harmless eccentric. What the Yorkins don't know is Sy is a desperately lonely man with no real life of his own, and he's been obsessively making copies of their photos, for years, imagining himself to be "Uncle Sy", a member of the family. Sy's tenuous hold on reality begins to collapse when he develops a roll of film brought in by a new customer that suggests Will has been unfaithful to Nina; the notion that his ideal family may be falling apart is troubling enough for Sy, and when he loses his job, Sy reaches the breaking point. One Hour Photo was screened in competition at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Robin Williams, essaying the latest in a series of dark characterizations, delivers his most bone-chilling performance to date in this superior thriller, a minor masterpiece of eerie mood and rising suspense. Williams portrays a lonely, obsessive one-hour photo clerk who has spent years living vicariously through an attractive suburban family whose pictures adorn his living-room wall. To him, the mother (Connie Neilson), father (Michael Vartan), and young son (newcomer Dylan Walsh), whose lives he monitors through the photos he processes for them, has always represented familial perfection. When sordid real-life events blur the idyllic images he has fixed in his mind, this unassuming but unbalanced man finally snaps. Writer-director Mark Romanek, previously known for his music videos, displays a strong Stanley Kubrick influence, not only in the emotional restraint and pacing of his sequences but also in the cinematography and production design. One Hour Photo has a dreamlike quality, particularly in those scenes taking place in the department store where Williams’s character works. But Romanek’s virtuoso visuals would have gone for naught had his star not invested his role with such creepy conviction: Williams pulls off a nearly impossible trick by making his dangerously psychotic photo clerk a reasonably sympathetic character. That, ultimately, is why the film succeeds -- and it's why you’ll be drawn back to the movie again and again. Romanek and Williams provide a feature-length commentary for the DVD, which also sports several "making-of" featurettes.
All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
One Hour Photo is a meticulously crafted fluorescent nightmare. Robin Williams, in one of the strongest performances of his checkered career, plays Sy (short for Seymour, as in "see more," one of several "cleverly" named characters in the film), the robotically repressed photo processor at a huge, immaculate department store, SavMart. Writer/director Mark Romanek, whose little-seen 1985 debut feature, Static, was also about an obsessive loner, does an excellent job of getting inside Sy's troubled head. He trusts the audience enough to take his time with the story, and Williams' close-to-the-vest performance draws the audience into Sy's precisely demented perspective. Cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth (Fight Club) and production designer Tom Foden (The Cell) help Romanek capture every obsessive detail of Sy's world. The objects of Sy's unwanted attention, the Yorkin family, aren't as richly drawn as Sy, despite fine performances from Connie Nielsen as Nina and newcomer Dylan Smith as her little boy, Jakob. They're shown from Sy's point-of-view, as blandly beautiful ciphers. His perception of them as the perfect, happy family is just as flawed as their perception of him as the harmless, overly solicitous service industry nobody who develops their pictures. The film ends on an odd, unresolved note. While Romanek invokes the ending of Psycho with a ludicrous attempt to "explain" Sy's mental problems, he doesn't spell out how much of what the audience has seen occurred only in Sy's mind. Sy is a desperate loner whose warped view of the world comes from the idealized family snapshots he takes such care in processing, and when the picture-perfect family fails to live up to Sy's impossible standards, there's hell to pay. One Hour Photo is a creepily effective genre piece, unsettling in its assault on the presumptions people often make about others on the periphery of their lives.
Chicago Sun-Times
1/2
Williams plays Sy, another of his open-faced, smiling madmen, like the killer in Insomnia. He does this so well you don't have the slightest difficulty accepting him in the role. Roger Ebert
Hollywood Reporter
An absorbing and unsettling psychological drama. Duane Byrge

Product Details

Release Date:
02/18/2003
UPC:
0024543062066
Original Release:
2002
Rating:
R
Source:
20th Century Fox

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Robin Williams Seymour "Sy" Parrish
Connie Nielsen Nina Yorkin
Michael Vartan Will Yorkin
Gary Cole Bill Owens
Dylan Smith Jake Yorkin
Eriq La Salle Detective Van Der Zee
Erin Daniels Maya Burson

Technical Credits
Mark Romanek Director,Screenwriter
Jeremy Barber Executive Producer
Jeff Cronenweth Cinematographer
Chris Douridas Musical Direction/Supervision
Tom Foden Production Designer
Jeffrey Ford Editor
Reinhold Heil Score Composer
Johnny Klimek Score Composer
Pamela Koffler Producer
Arianne Phillips Costumes/Costume Designer
Robert A. Storm Executive Producer
Christine Vachon Producer
John Wells Executive Producer
John Wells Executive Producer
Stan Wlodkowski Producer

Videos

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

One Hour Photo 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was very weird. It will make you not want to talk to any strange guy with big glasses. I was glued to my seat.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is incredibly deep and disturbing, but is INCREDIBLY well filmed, well written, and well acted. If you didn't think that Robin Williams was one of the best actors ever to the grace the screen, you will after you see this movie. It's not a movie that will inspire you so much as it will haunt you. You'll never look at the film processing guy at your local Wal-Mart the same ever again, I promise you...they see everything.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was ok. Robin WIlliams did a good job in the role but overall there seems no real pull to the plot. From my point of view it keeps you interested but leaves you wondering what was the point?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw it twice and both times, it made no sense. robin williams was good but the plot was stupid and unelievable. i didnt like it
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is intelligent. Also liked very much Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting, Awakenings, Patch Adams.....
Guest More than 1 year ago
Seymour ''Sy, The Photo Guy'' Parrish (Robin Williams - ''Dead Poets Society'', ''Mrs. Doubtfire'' & ''Insomnia'') has been the photo caretaker and developer for the Yorkin family since their son was just a baby. Not having any kind of a life of his own, Sy has allowed himself over the years to become part of their world, imagining himself to be ''Uncle Sy''...to the point of obsession. Oblivious to all of this, the Yorkins continue to drop off all of their undeveloped photos in the care of Sy, and view him as the quaintly nice photo man. Their son, Jake, even feels sorry for the lonely man. But on the other side of the counter, in Sy's mind, it is much more personal and troubling. Sy discovers ultimately that Will Yorkin (Michael Vartan - ''To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar'', ''The Myth Of Fingerprints'' & ''Never Been Kissed'') has been cheating on his unknowing wife, Nina (Connie Nielsen - ''Soldier'', ''Mission To Mars'' & ''Gladiator''). Driven by his own painful past, Sy decides to take matters into his own hands, playing a sick, twisted game for what he views as recompense. *The movie was a well filmed movie with what for some people could be a very disturbing thought...that of invasion of their privacy through photos. However, about half way through the movie, I began to become bored with the whole thing, and I realized that the only reason I continued to watch it is because I am a Robin Williams fan. This movie turned out to be more of a morality tale rather than the psycho thriller that the trailers suggested. Had Robin Williams not been in this one, I would have scratched this one off as being pointless and ultimately absurd. But Robin Williams brought great affection to his character and kept your eyes glued to the screen, not so much to see what was going to happen next...but rather to enjoy the character study you are now involved with when it comes to Sy, the photo guy. Perhaps this is one of Robin Williams better acted parts...but in the end, One Hour Photo will be written off as one of his ''lesser'' films. I still have to say that overall, ''Fisher King'' was his best film and portrayal to date.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I cant say I have ever seen a Robin William film I liked so much. Its a nice change for Mr. Williams.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Robin Will. did a great job as Sy the photo guy. He made you think twice about going to your very own photo guy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Still hard seeing Robin Williams in a serious role. I keep expecting him to make jokes or become upkey. I've wanted to see this movie since it came out, and am glad I finally did. Sy makes you think, and you get a whole new realization of what pictures mean to someone like him, and what they're really about.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was terrified it was really scary!!! It made me scared to go to my uncle Roberts house...who looks a lot like Sy!! (I'm dead serious!!!).So watch it,It's a great movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although many elements of the film were well done, the director's choice to make a trompe d'oeil illusion of a thriller leads an anti-climactic wimper of an ending. Robin Williams plays Sy Parrish, a dedicated one-hour-photo technician whose solitary existance borders on psychosis. His work is his life and, his bonding with the photos he develops feed his illusion of being part of the families whose photos he develops: in this case, the family of Yorkins. Being psychotically unstable, Sy's work feeds his imaginary reality of the happy lives he sees in the photos and how he helps in bringing their joy. His fantasy is soon shattered when he sees that photos are only a snap shot of family life and that there are ugly sides of married life that are never included in the photo album: false expectations, mundane routine, dissatisfaction, and of course, infidelity. The film does a great job in entering the mind of a deranged person; the scenes explore for the audience the bland and montonous life of Sy. His empty life just blends in with the neat generic shelves and products of the supermarket he works in. The film brilliantly shows that theme unfolds in Sy's private life and how his deranged attempts at breaking out of his routine soon become psychotic. Robin Williams played his role surprisingly well. The acting by Connie Nielsen and Michael Vartan as Nina and Will Yorkin was nothing special however. The problem with the film is that it takes almost all of its time in building suspense and leading the audience to think that Sy is a demonic killer. Instead, the ending is as bland as Sy's character in that he ends up being nothing more than a harmless peeper who went a little overboard instead of the predatory stalker the film prepared us for. Perhaps the writer and director thought that they were being clever but, ultimately, the joke is on them given the box-office results of this film. They shouldn't have been surprised; they got exactly the same response from the audience as the feeling they sought to evoke with the end of the film: an unimpressive anti-climax. I have trouble recommending this film to rent as there isn't much to see afterall; again, all of this suspense is frustratingly brought to nothing of an ending. For this genre, I prefer films such as 'Taxi Driver' or 'Silence of the Lambs' instead.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed with this movie despite Robin Williams wonderful performance. It lead up to nothing but a cop-out ending. I felt a little sympathy for the wife and Sy but that's it. I can't in good faith recommend this film. I wish I had skipped it. And for some reason, this film had characters with the worst hairstyles I have ever seen. It looked like they just rolled out of bed and then were suddenly in a movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have you ever been watching a movie and really looking forward to the pinnacle but then it like never comes? That is what happened in One Hour Photo. The cast was good, direction average. What really killed it was the awful writing. It could have been way better but I guess that is all they can come up with because of their "Fox Searchlight" budget. Anyway, Robin Williams has had incredible films and I am not going to let one screw up ruin a great career. Better luck next time. I am only thankful that i did not buy this. I got it through a friend of a friend who kept trying to give it away.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Um, I didn't get the ending. Like, I kept expecting there to maybe another DVD attached so I could get the 2nd half of the movie. If the ending had been something worth watching, then the movie would have been great. As it is, I was just like, "huh?"
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of Robin Williams more serious roles. I think it got off to a slow start. But all in all, I like this movie. It was worth purchasing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
After seeing this movie, I never saw Robin Williams playing a different role. He was great!!! This movie was so great I would see it again and again. Parts of this movie most of us like taking pictures without a worry but .....
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am not a Robin Williams fan, and have always depicted him a comic performer. For these reasons I did NOT like Insomia. But something was very different with One Hour Photo. I understood this movie perfectly. I feel that the movie is more of a STUDY of an individual's dark side rather than as a THRILLER MOVIE. Well, of course it WAS a thriller, but because Robin Williams was outstanding as he portrayed a disturbed man. He was so brilliant, in fact, that he made a believer out of me. I would swear that's how he really was in real life. As disturbed as he was, you had to like the man and feel for him. The father in the movie was extremely shallow and the mother and little boy seemed very depressed most of the time. People who don't like the movie don't understand it. I will probably be viewing more of Robin William's movies in the future. I give it 5 stars!!!