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One Hour Photo

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: One Hour Photo

Starring: Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen
Director: Mark Romanek
Rated: R
RunTime: 98 Minutes
Release Date: August 2002
Genres: Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Michael Vartan, Gary Cole, Eriq LaSalle, Dylan Smith, Erin Daniels

Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

It's Robin Williams' devastating performance that distinguishes this chilling psychological character study. With blond hair, thick glasses, compressed lips and soft voice, Williams is almost unrecognizable as Sy Parrish, the nebbishy manager of a one-hour photo in a suburban Sav-Mart who muses ominously: "You never take a photograph of something you want to forget." Because his real life is so totally emotionally barren, Parrish fantasizes about the photographs he develops, particularly the Kodak moments he glimpses of an attractive young wife and mother (Connie Nielsen) and her young son (Dylan Smith). But "there's more to it than meets the eye." Soon he becomes so obsessed with snapshots of the seemingly perfect, upper-middle-class Yorkin family that he evolves into an invasive, knife-wielding stalker, catching the neglectful husband (Michael Vartan) in the act of adultery. "Snapshot," he explains, "was originally a hunting term." You've got to credit actor Robin Williams with courage, transforming himself into the demented kiddy-TV host in "Death to Smoochy," then the homicidal novelist in "Insomnia," now this eerie, alienated, eccentric character. Hopefully, Oscar voters will remember to nominate this skillful performance when the ballots are sent out next year. Kudos also to writer/director Mark Romanek's meticulous visual style (he was Madonna's music video director for "Bedtime Story"), plus Jeff Cronenweth's cinematography and Tom Foden's stark production design. And notice that the Yorkin family name cleverly breaks into what Sy envisions as "your kin." On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "One Hour Photo" is a scary, unsettling, adult 8. It's such a dark, disturbing psychodrama that it could push me into buying a digital camera.

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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