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
Robin Williams was originally cast as the SavMart manager, Bill (later played by Gary Cole), but after reading the screenplay for a second time, Williams requested the role of Sy. See more »
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 »
[Quoting Deepak Chopra]
The things you're most afraid of have already happened.
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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.
well it was a pleasant surprise to see williams in this type of role and succeeding. although he played the very questionable (and dodgy) killer in insomnia, his role in one hour photo was very near perfect in this minor gem of a film. granted williams has been actively pursuing these alternative roles of late and yes it could be construed as being a cynical move on his behalf, however this does not detract from the fact that his role in photo was scarily on the mark.
the directors (romanek) flair for colour synchronicity and immaculate art direction does not stray far from his beginnings as a music video director, however it is this attention to detail and precision that accentuates williams when he chooses to lose the plot. a memorable scene in the film of william's characters eyes squirting blood is in stark contrast to the ordered white formica and polished chrome surfaces that intimate to the spectator a feeling of staring intently at snapshots of a desperate man's life.
if this film was to have any criticism is in the roles of the supporting actors. they are hardly fleshed out and as a spectator i felt that at times i was watching the robin william's rebirth show, however this is a minor point. if i were to mark this out of 10 i would give it a strong 8.
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