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
Sy and the AGFA engineer discuss a ".3 blue shift", but Sy later tells his manager that the shift is towards cyan. (Although in layman's terms "cyan" is light-blue, blue is technically an equal mixture of cyan and magenta. A photo technician would not use the terms interchangeably). See more »
Sy, there's a 1000 other places where you can do your photos. There's no reason to come all the way down other than to fuck with me.
There's a very good reason. I calibrated that machine personally. It's the best mini-lab in the state.
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An early cut of the film had several differences than the theatrical version.
The opening Fox Searchlight logo briefly becomes a negative image as it fades out. This is obviously a reference to picture negatives.
An alternate prologue before the main titles featured a narration by Williams on the red eye effect in human's and animals, while a photo of a family with red eyes, footage of animals with this effect and video of what's happening in the eye when this happens.
There was also a scene near the end where a police detective reviews the pictures Sy took of Will & Maya at the hotel. In the theatrical version these photos were never shown and it was left in question whether they were actually taken.
The argument between Sy and the photo machine repair guy was extended.
A seemingly innocuous man's descent into madness, and its effect on a family, gives One Hour Photo an advantage over most attempts at psychological thrillers. As with most movies, even critical darlings by the master himself, Mr. Hitchcock, there are questionable plot contrivences and scenes where reality has to be suspended, but these annoyances did not interfere with the total enjoyment of the movie. Williams was eerily brilliant as "Sy, The Photo Guy", and was able to travel between chillingly detached and forcefully angry with ease. The brilliant use of stark colors fleshed out the film, and those that garner enjoyment from the sets and cinematography, as well as the dialogue, will be pleased. This is a film for those that enjoy the total movie experience, and those that appreciate an intensity in their psychological thrillers will not be disappointed. After viewing this film, the question now becomes who gets the Oscar, Williams for One Hour Photo, or Pacino for Insomnia ?
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