One Hour Photo

One Hour Photo

3.4 18
Director: Mark Romanek

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


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Fox goes all out on a film that didn't get the audience it deserved, and produces a DVD that really stands out. Director Mark Romanek's visual style, a key element of the film, is perfectly translated to this disc. At 1.85:1 and anamorphic (there is a full-frame version also available), colors are either a bit over-saturated, making them stand out, or highly realistic… See more details below


Fox goes all out on a film that didn't get the audience it deserved, and produces a DVD that really stands out. Director Mark Romanek's visual style, a key element of the film, is perfectly translated to this disc. At 1.85:1 and anamorphic (there is a full-frame version also available), colors are either a bit over-saturated, making them stand out, or highly realistic and warm. In either case, they simply look marvelous. The 5.1 Dolby Digital track is also quite good, though centered more up front. Though the basses are very evident at time, the surrounds aren't utilized as effectively, which is often the case with lower-budgeted films. Making this fine disc even better is the number of supplements. When a studio fluff piece is the worst element, it's a sure sign that things are good, and they are here. Beyond that featurette is a screen-specific audio commentary provided by Romanek and star Robin Williams. It's low key, even with Williams involved, but engaging as both have plenty to discuss. A real plus is a portion of The Charlie Rose Show featuring Romanek and Williams. Williams is in his public persona -- total mania, in all directions. It's a very entertaining conversation between the three. Due to it's "independent" basis, the inclusion of a Sundance Channel Anatomy of a Scene is not a surprise, and certainly welcome. This half-hour special takes an in depth look at one particular scene, with cast and crew interviews. Finally, along with the film's theatrical trailer and three televisions spots, is a trailer for John Malkovich's The Dancer Upstairs. This is a total package that only makes a fine movie even better.

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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
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

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Fox Searchlight
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Writer/director/actor commentary; "Anatomy of a Scene" sundance channel featurette; "Making of" featurette; "The Charlie Rose Show" interview with Robin Williams and Mark Romanek; Theatrical trailer and TV spots

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
Stan Wlodkowski Producer

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. One Question
2. Family Photos
3. Sy. the Photo Guy
4. Beautiful Prints
5. Favorite Uncle
6. Good Thoughts
7. Argument
8. The Person You Least Suspect
9. Monday
10. Christmas Fantasy
11. In the Flesh
12. The Flow of Time
13. Crossing the Threshold
14. Soccer Practice
15. Food Court
16. Discrepancies
17. Sy. Are You All Right?
18. Discovery
19. Leaving Savmart
20. What's Wrong With These People?
21. No One Is Secure
22. Sy's Dream
23. A Hunting Term
24. Threat Management
25. Search Warrant
26. Room Service
27. Room 511
28. Room 519
29. Pursuit
30. Reunion
31. Sy's Confession
32. End Titles

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