One Hour Photo

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Starring: Robin Williams
Directed By: Mark Romenek
Rated: R for language violene and nudity

Final Grade:

Walking into One Hour Photo I was one of the most excited people in the movie line. Since this was at Varsity theaters, needless to say the line was not long, but there was still a line. I had heard so much hype about this film, and so I had set my expectations high. A few hours later, and very impressed I headed back to my room and started working on the review for this movie, yet I found myself at a dilemma. What do I give this movie on the rating scale? And was the grade I was giving it due to the fact that I had hyped the film so much, or was it because it was an actual quality flick? After spending some time reflecting on this, I finally came up with the answer. But If I told it to you now, none of you would continue to read my review right?

The storyline is fairly simple on the surface level. We are introduced to Sy Parish, or “Sy the Photo Guy,” at a One Hour Photo lab in a department store. Sy is obsessed with his job. Sy feels that people take photos for a reason and they should be perfect. In fact, Sy is obsessed with perfection. But unfortunately perfection isn’t the only thing he is obsessed with. Sy becomes obsessed with one of his customers, the Yorkin family, and through their photographs he finds the life he could only wish he had. But when Sy’s life takes a sudden turn for the worst, everything in his world changes.

Robin Williams was brilliant in this film. After an impressive performance earlier this season with Insomnia, his return to the screen once again, proves to be a joy as well. Never before have I seen someone bring a character to life so well, as I see Williams do to Sy in the film. If you are looking for the happy go lucky, Patch Adams, Mrs. Doubtfire type Robin Williams though, you are in the wrong place. Mr. Williams has seemed to have found a new nitch. The 50 year old actor found that after a certain age, a 50 year old man starts to lose some of his fans when he is type cast as a Hollywood funny man, and decided to once again broaden his horizons. This is working well for him, and I hope to see more from him in the future. After his performance in Insomnia and now One Hour Photo, It would be sad to not see Williams name in the Oscar Nominations.

The imagery and color, lighting and elements of cinematography were wonderful as well. It enhanced Williams’s superb performance. For this being Mark Romanek’s first film, I think he did a wonderful job. Every color had a meaning; every line had a point to it. There wasn’t a lot of filler, pointless dialogue or pointless segments of the film.

Now of course you didn’t think I was going to leave this film without making any gripes against it right? Every film has flaws, some more than others but never the less, still flaws. One Hour Photo kept you on the edge of your seat all the way through the film, kept me in suspense all the way through, and then just like that, it dropped me off somewhere and told me to go home unsatisfied. The ending of the movie was very obscure, after thinking about it, you can piece it together, and I really felt as though they left me hanging with a mediocre ending. No one likes that! If I wanted to see a mediocre film I would watch something like Mr. Deeds again. I came looking for quality, and up until the last 5 minutes I got just that.

After my reflection of the film I realized Williams performance is enough for me to give it a passing grade, and enough for me to say go check out this film. It is a film that has a lot to offer, and is worth you time and your money. Sure, the ending is a little vague, a little crazy, but it keeps you entertained. Go check it out and enjoy. Spend you $6 on One Hour Photo, I think you’ll be glad you did. But then again when your other options are quality flicks like Swimfan, I think its safe to say anything is better than Swimfan…

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