96 Min | Drama – Thriller | October 2002
IMDB Rating: 6.8
Director: Mark Romanek
Starring: Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen, Michael Vartan
One Hour Photo Review: “One Hour Photo” as a film has its share of flaws, but none of them are related to Robin Williams’ powerful and haunting performance. It’s his fullest and yet most restrained effort to date. “One Hour Photo” creates an effective portrait of a lonely, deranged man becoming increasingly frantic. He crosses the line from being harmless and pathetic, to being dangerous when he can no longer differentiate between fantasy and reality. There comes a time when it is no longer enough for him to fantasize, when the role of distant observer, no longer satisfies.
Robin plays the role of a man named Sy, who runs the photo-developing lab at the local Savmart. Sy has nothing in his life but his job and his fantasies – no friends, no family, no wife, and no girlfriend. He looks depressed in tranquility and suicidal when he smiles. Sy’s obsessive nature has a good side. The prints he develops in his lab really do look gorgeous, and takes pride in his work. On the other hand, he is also developing a fixation on a family, the Yorkins, and has an entire wall of his apartment plastered with photos of them dating back 10 years. And now – though the movie never specifies an emotional trigger – he is losing his grip of reality, falling further into his delusional thoughts.
Much of ”One Hour Photo” informs the audience through visual stylization. The cinematography is as finely detailed as Sy himself. Williams inhabits a carefully selected color scheme, a world of harsh whites and washed-out blues, illuminated by the glare of fluorescent bulbs. Director Mark Romanek pays more attention to this style than giving depth to his characters and plotting, exploring Sy’s psychosis but never really delving into the reasons behind it. A disturbing yet compelling film that pulls you in solely on the merit of Williams’ fantastic performance.