Kids show host Rainbow Randolph is fired in disgrace while his replacement, Sheldon Mopes, aka Smoochy the Rhino, finds himself a rising star. Unfortunately for Sheldon, the kid's TV business isn't all child's play.
When his son's body is found in a humiliating accident, a lonely high school teacher inadvertently attracts an overwhelming amount of community and media attention after covering up the truth with a phony suicide note.
Middle aged Sy Parrish works as a technician at a one hour photo lab located in a SavMart store in a suburban mall. Sy is a lonely man, never having had any friends. He knows much about his customers through the photographs they have developed. But he knows more about the Yorkin family - specifically Nina Yorkin and her adolescent son Jake Yorkin, the two in the family who drop off and pick up the family's photofinishing - the family about whom he is obsessed, than anyone else. Nina's husband, Will Yorkin, is incidental to his obsession since Sy has only seen him in photographs. Sy's obsession includes fantasizing about being their favorite "Uncle Sy". He has even been making an extra set of prints for himself of all of their photographs since Jake was a newborn. After an incident at work and after Sy finds out more about the family through a set of photographs, he decides to right the injustices he sees in the only way he knows how. His actions demonstrate his true mental state. Written by
When Sy is looking through the photos at the yard sale, a different person's hand is used in one of the close-ups; it's obviously a different thumb than in the previous and following shots. This happens again later in close-ups of Sy's hands as well. See more »
[finishes flicking through candid pictures of his daughter]
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I loved this movie. Romanek pays attention to the minute details often overlooked by most directors through the use of natural lighting, exceptional cinemaphotography that gives you a moment to take in the scenery and a soundtrack that doesn't force the viewer to keep fiddling with the volume. At 90 minutes in length, there is no pointless filler doesn't bore you and irrelevant side plots to push it to the 2-hour mark. It's a movie you can sit back and enjoy without feeling distracted by ridiculous special effects, jittery camera work or a disjointed plot. It has a peaceful, deep and thoughtful feel to the narration and dialog that is enhanced and complimented by the soundtrack. You can identify with the characters because they're not some Hollywood fantasy - but real and identifiable everyday people who react as you would expect everyday people to react.
Robin Williams has proven that he's a versatile actor. I've always liked his characters in comedies (i.e., Mork and Mindy, The Birdcage and Death to Smoochy) - however he really shines in more dramatic roles (Moscow on the Hudson and Awakenings). His character Sy in One Hour Photo takes him to the next level, but he's not the center of attraction. This is a good thing. Romanek gives the movie a sense of balance by giving characters depth and dimension. He makes sure that the perfect family that is the focus of Sy's obsession has problems just like everyone else in spite of their picture perfect affluent lifestyle. We see that while Sy succeeds at work with a warm, friendly disposition - his personal life is cold and lonely with his surroundings at home the same impersonal and sterile environment at work. Sy's character fits perfectly.
Another bright spot in One Hour Photo was Dylan Smith, who played the son of the family that Sy is obsessed with. He's a natural actor who has the ability to play natural characters - an average kid who does a splendid job of acting as an average kid. Romanek doesn't insult the viewer by subjecting us to the stereotypical, annoying, mouthy, whiny, know-it-all kid with the bowl haircut that has ruined movie after movie.
If I could change something - I would cast someone other than Gary Cole to play Sy's boss. Maybe it's the MST3K fan inside me saying this, but after seeing Office Space many times, I kept waiting for him to reincarnate the role of Bill Lumbergh in even the most subtle way, mmmm-kay?. Romanek knew how not to cross the fine line that separated Cole's role as the sadistic boss in Office Space from boss in One Hour Photo.
I give this movie a 9.5 out of 10.
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