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subtle but chilling portrayal of madness
Roland E. Zwick29 September 2002
Robin Williams gives what may well be the performance of his career in `One Hour Photo,' a creepy psychological thriller written and directed with cool precision by Mark Romanek. Given its premise, the film could easily have degenerated into a sordid, exploitative tale of obsession and madness. Instead, Romanek has chosen to take a more subtle approach, fashioning a film that downplays the potential violence of its material while, at the same time, recognizing the humanity of its central figure.

Romanek understands that the greatest threats to our safety and lives often come from the gray, nondescript people who surround us unnoticed, the `nobodies' whose benign faces and vacuous smiles reveal no trace of the insanity, evil and potential for doing us harm that may be lurking right there under the surface. And nobody is `grayer' than Si Parrish, an innocuous, socially undeveloped milquetoast who spends his days working as a photo developer in one of those sterile five-and-dime drug stores (just like the one in `The Good Girl') - and his nights sitting all alone in his drab apartment brooding over a massive family-photo shrine he has erected to the Yorkins, a seemingly happy family of three whose pictures Si has been developing, copying and obsessing over for more than seven years now. The film centers around Si's growing fixation with this one family and his delusional belief that he too could somehow become an integral part of their family unit. Then comes the day when Si realizes that he is no longer content to be a mere vicarious member of this adopted family and, thus, begins his plan to gradually insinuate himself more and more directly into their lives.

As both writer and director, Romanek manages to keep us in a state of vague uneasiness throughout. We are always anticipating some potentially dreadful event, yet Romanek doesn't go for the easy thrill or the obvious plot turn. Thanks to Williams' subtle, incisive performance, we come to understand something of what makes this strange character tick. We begin to sense the deep-seated loneliness and social awkwardness that have come to play such an important part in defining both his behavior and his character. Si is scary, but he is also pathetic. He may have slipped over the edge into madness, but it is a pathology rooted in overwhelming loneliness and the inability to `fit in' to the societal `norm' of marriage and family. Even when his character is at his most threatening and irrational, Williams somehow makes us care about him.

Romanek hits upon a few ancillary themes as well. He acknowledges how photos create the appearance of a life without necessarily reflecting the reality of that life. Most people, Si confesses, record only the `special, happy' moments of their lives – birthdays, weddings, holidays etc. and leave out the mundane or painful ones. Moreover, Si tells us that people use pictures as a way of defeating aging and time, of saying to the world of the future that `I', this seemingly insignificant person, was really here, being happy and enjoying life. To match this theme, Romanek's visual style often feels like the director's own personal homage to The Photograph, as the camera scans caressingly across a sea of snapshots – and Si's voiceover narration complements that feeling.

`One Hour Photo' is not a film for those who like their chills heavily laced with bloodshed, murder and mayhem. It is, rather, for those who can appreciate a quietly unsettling, yet strangely compassionate glimpse into the dark recesses of the troubled mind.
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Mr. Williams Steals The Show In This Clever Little Chiller
Chrysanthepop8 March 2008
On face value, 'One Hour Photo' may seem like an average thriller but you'll be in for a surprise if you think so. It is a clever little movie that works both as a psychological thriller and an intriguing character study. Thankfully it does not have the absurd twists one has witnessed in the overrated 'Fatal Attraction' or nonsensical ones like in 'Single White Female' or 'The Hand That Rocks the Cable'. The storytelling is very coherent and the portrayal of the characters is very subtle.

This isn't a fast-paced thriller. Writer and director Romanek takes his time to tell the story but that does not make 'One Hour Photo' boring. On the contrary, it allows us to discover the shades of Seymour and allows the viewer to feel sympathy for but also be fear of him. Likewise, we also discover the family Seymour/Sy stalks. At first they appear to be like a happy American family but soon we see, through Seymour's point of view, that reality is something else. Romanek creates a very gloomy cold atmosphere. The viewer does feel Seymour's loneliness from the busy supermarket to his claustrophobic apartment. The film is very well shot as it highlights the gloominess, indifference and closed atmosphere. Romanek also approaches interesting themes about what photographs mean i.e. proof of ones existence (beautifully explained in the film). While people take pictures of happy moments, their reality is something else.

Coming to the performances, what would 'One Hour Photo' be without Robin Williams? The actor is in a completely different form and he does an excellently downplays Sy. Sy is gentle, polite, pathetic and creepy. Williams really brings a humane quality to the character rather than portray him as the clichéd stalker. Nielsen and Vartan are good too. La Salle and Cole give sufficient support. But, in the end, it's a one man show that belongs to Mr. Williams.

There are a few very minor flaws such as a few scenes where reality is suspended but overall this is a cleverly chilling film that deserves to be watched but do not expect lots of murder, bloodshed, or silly twists like boiling a live rabbit.
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Another Example Of A Comedian Who Can Be Effectively Serious
ccthemovieman-12 February 2006
Robin Williams once again proves how good comedians can be at serious drama roles. Williams is especially good at playing creepy characters, as he has done several times in the last decade.

Here, he plays "Sy, the photo guy," a lonely employee in the photo department of a suburban Target/Walt-Mart//K-Mart-whatever who lives vicariously through a nice family, whose family pictures he has developed and printed for years. So, when Sy discovers the husband of that family is cheating, he takes it personally....and gets involved.

This was a fascinating portrait of a deranged man and a wonderfully photographed movie. The colors in here are astounding at times and the camera-work innovative with some neat angles. The suspense of the story builds and builds one gets that old film-noir feeling of impending doom.

This has a different ending, though, than most old film noirs, not exactly what the viewer might think will happen.

This is a film that, as far I know, never got much publicity, but it's a gem. Williams is outstanding in his role and the hour-and-a-half you invest in this movie flies by.
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Strong performances save the day.
dirk2817 March 2003
Yes, Robin Williams does steal the show. He's an underrated actor, who, given a good script can deliver a mind boggling performance. That's exactly what One hour photo is, a good script with brilliant performances. The whole cast does an excellent job of showing how the events of one deranged man can impact the lives of many. Let's get one thing straight, though, this not a mainstream movie. It is very much an independant film. If you don't like movies with little action or a low budget don't see this movie. This film is good because of its' strong performances and decent script. I must say, though, without Williams as the lead, this movie would not have been as good as it was.
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Above average stalker flick that avoids some of the clichés
bob the moo5 October 2002
Seymour is a lonely nondescript man who lives by himself and works in the photo developing lab in a large mall. The only bit of cheer in his day is to develop very good photos in his lab, and he takes great pride in his work. His favourite customers are the Yorkin's, who have a son and regularly develop pictures. Seymour's like for this family goes beyond `like' and he feels part of their family and has all their pictures on his wall. However when both his job and the unity of his family are threatened he reacts.

I saw this film in a free preview screening before it came out so I had no reviews to cloud me first. Happily most of them appear to feel the same as I did. In terms of plot this set up will be no surprise to anyone – we've all seen Single White Female and Pacific Heights etc, we know what happens that leads to the old bunny boiling etc.

However One Hour Photo is different enough to justify watching. My wife complained that it was too slow and boring but I felt this approach helped it stand out. Instead of being a thriller it was more of a cold slow boiler than was more chilling than thrilling. The plot is well laid out – even the money shot of all the pictures on the wall is played out while we're distracted by a joke from the Simpsons on TV. The director's cold approach to story telling works very well and highlights Seymour's grey existence and cold life. Only occasionally does he go astray – the fantasy sequences don't always work for instance but for almost the whole film he does very well.

Towards the end Seymour's behaviour goes erratic as we expect and I was worried that the film had eventually given way to cliché. Happily this is not the case. Yes, Seymour's change is a bit of a leap at first but the film cleverly pulls it back at the end. This makes it above the rest of this genre by a good head and shoulders. Clever touches abound in the film but don't always work. For example the director shows us that it is all about seeing by covering Seymour's eyes with objects in some shots to show he has lost his ability to watch, while the name Yorkin is a slight play on `Your Kin' or your family. These are clever but don't add very much – the eye theme felt a bit too clever and intrusive.

Williams is excellent. Having paid to see him mush around in Patch Adams I was worried here that eventually his emotions would run away with him. However Williams (and here's something you'd won't hear much) keeps it all in check and underplays wonderfully. His Seymour is likeable, sad, pathetic and chilling all at once. It's hard not to feel for him and he is better for being low-key. I truly felt Williams had turned himself into a `little' man – one of those people who you barely notice on the streets as they make no lasting image. Vartan (Alias) is good as Will and Nielsen is also good as Nina. They are also given firm support in the shape of Gary Cole and La Salle. However his is Williams show and, by underplaying, he steals it easily.

Overall this has it's flaws but it is head and shoulders above the rest of this stalker genre. Directed with a clinic eye rather than a thrilling eye this is clever and different enough to more than justify checking it out.
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Romanek is up and coming
angry_white_male8 December 2003
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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I sincerely enjoyed this film
ihaveabigrick27 January 2003
One Hour Photo is a film of supreme caliber. The film is powered by the haunting, chilling, silencing, and above all-genius performance by Robin Williams. But the rather extraordinary thing is that it is not Robin Williams on the screen, it's Sy Parish (the character's name). Robin Williams fades away from our senses and slips into the ever so sweet and innocent yet psychotic role of a supermarket's photo developer. The films script is only accented by Williams, at times, restrained performance. Williams ignites on the screen and burns till the last frame, and you are unable to take your eyes off him. As I mentioned the film is subliminily written as well as directed. Though being Romanek's first, I certainly don't think this is a bad start. Romanek's direction adds to the on-going tension throughout the film. More affecting is Williams' delightful calmness. Trying to hold himself in becomes more troublesome for both Williams and his character as the story develops. Yet through the calm eyes of an innocent blaze the fires of hatred and intensity, which could very well sum up Williams' performance. The film does have some disturbing images as well. Yet they are not really strong enough for you to get up from your seat and leave yet rather the opposite. Williams' contribution as well as guidance towards the actions and scenes of peril compell as well as amaze you towards both the performance and film itself. Williams' shocking contribution to the screen is enough to make you cry, scream, and yell in your seat. Because the origins of the character are bittersweet just like own known Williams, leads to a crazed and psychotic breakdown. It's as if watching our own funny and beloved Robin fail us. Though the truth could not be any further, Williams but succeeds in the art of acting, creating an achievement in the field. Creating a landmark. Writing his/its own chapter. I guarantee that this film will be required study material in acting classes for now on. In conclusion: definitely one of the best of 2002.
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Not Hitchcock but closer than most
retromark1 October 2002
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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clinical stalking for williams
sorfmeister11 August 2003
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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Brilliant Surprise
brendanchenowith2 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I'd heard about this movie, it came and went, then finally I rented it on DVD and I loved it. Robin Williams' acting is a very brilliant surprise. Every shot keeps you interested in what will follow. From the opening scene with Sy wanting to look at his photos during the police interrogation, I kept wanting to see these myself. His creepy, put-upon persona reminded me of several people I'd been acquainted with over the years, and, yes, even reminded me of some of my own neediness.

Even though I know he ends up getting into trouble, I kept thinking "don't do this" (making extra print copies for himself - taking photos of his ex-Manager's daughter - having a heated argument with the Xerox repairman, holding the knife on hubby Yorkin and his girlfriend, forcing them to simulate sex for the photos) but he did it anyway. The cinematography was pin-point perfect, with white fluorescent lights in the Sav-Mart, dim, almost sepia tone in his apartment, eerie bluish tint in the hotel parking garage during the police chase.

I'd read Williams was originally offered the part of the store Manager, but I was so grateful he asked for the part of Sy instead. He became him. Just like Nicole Kidman in whichever project you happen to see her in, Williams becomes chameleon-like in this character. In other films of his, it's not like he actually becomes a character, more like him being a personality used to sell tickets (Patch Adams, Toys, Hook, Jumanji, etc. - none of which I have a desire to see). The last time he was really submerged into character was with Popeye (aha - Altman knew what to do with him).

I bought this on DVD, yet I was at a friend's house and it was shown on FX this past Sunday evening, being the first time I saw this in a while. I'm definitely putting this one in the machine very soon.

Now, going into Wal-Mart or any other store of that nature, seeing the One-Hour-Photo department just hasn't been the same.

What leads me to think this is, in part, a satire on what darkness could lurk in the minds of department store employees, is that when I see these people now, I sometimes stop and wonder what their lives are like after 9pm (or 10 if you're in a Target).

Some DVD fun - keep this on the main menu screen with the loop of the opening theme music, watching photos of Robin Williams flash on screen (designed after photo packets). Sit there and stare for a while, you'll be hypnotized.

Nice features include behind-the-scenes footage with interviews interspersed with rehearsal footage and outtakes. Williams really hams it up, parodying the scene he and the other actor are about to perform.
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A special movie...about REAL life...
ToExist10 June 2003
This is a truely special film that hasn't got its proper recognition. People just don't get it...

This movie is about REAL life, REAL people, and REAL problems...

Hollywood has had a bad habbit of sugar coating reality. All movies have happy endings??? The good guy always win??? Everyone is beautiful???

Give me a break. Hollywood has the tendency of making the bad BAD and the good GOOD. I think most people are somewhere in the middle. I believe that everyone has a dark side and a good side. We're always so quick to judge, label, and forget about people.

A little advice to people in general, never forget anyone.

Powerful film, excellent score (soundtrack). I recommend this film to all those mature enough to pay attention.
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A stunning, sympathetic portrait of a damaged man and the forces that tend to make such men
ebbixx8 September 2002
Warning: Spoilers
No, "One Hour Photo" is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it a movie to see if all you want is the escapism the movies so often offer us. For those who want that, there are no shortage of other movies out there, and good ones in their own right.

Robin Williams characterization of "Sy, the Photo Guy" is wonderful, one of his best, a chilling, humanizing and many-layered portrait of a deeply disturbed individual. What struck me most in watching the performance was the tug-of-war in my own mind about his questionable sanity and his motives. While it's extremely clear from the start that he suffers some significant psychopathology, the ending leaves one wondering (at least a little) about the method madness, and whether it is he that is sick, or human society in the 21st century. We've come quite far from the use of psychopathology as a plot driver since such movies as DePalma's "Dressed to Kill."

I don't wish to include any spoilers here. Suffice it to say that by the end I felt that where Seymour went wrong (aside from his obsession) was in having motives that in a sense were a little too good, too moralistic, too rigid... but for reasons that the film ultimately justifies, without excusing or judging. I could see virtually nothing in the writing that was gratuitous or unearned, even if the situations did become rather extreme. Each character remained believable, and even those one was set up to dislike, such as Sy's boss (Gary Cole) were neither presented as saints nor absolute demons, but merely as flawed human beings with motives and drives that sometimes contributed to the unfortunate chain of events that are the throughline of the movie.

Rather than demonize Sy, the central character, those who made this work bring us into Sy's mind in a way that is quite certain to be deeply discomfiting to many, but with a compassion and honesty that is only rarely achieved these days (or at any time in the past) in the movies.

The screenwriter-director, Mark Romanek, is a talent I hope will go on to greater public appreciation with time, but whether that happens or not, may his projects always find a green light somewhere. He has only directed one other feature film I'm aware of, STATIC, which seems nearly impossible to find on video. The rest of his work, as is so often the case with visually stunning directors, has been in music video, including videos for Madonna and Nine Inch Nails.

If I could find fault with anything about the movie it would be in the marketing. Where Romanek and Williams make Sy appear as a deeply flawed (and deeply disturbed) human being, he is clearly presented utmost as a sympathetic character. This is quite a feat in an era where paranoia is rampant, especially when it comes to "stalkers" and the mentally disturbed. Yet the marketing campaign seems to present the simplistic cliche of the creepy stalker, emphasizing only the monstrous aspects of his nature.

I've noted in reviews here and elsewhere a certain polarization of opinion surrounding this film. Perhaps some of those who disliked the film were drawn in by the promises made in posters and ads, and felt cheated (or confused) that this was not the one-dimensional suspense thriller that marketing tried to sell it as?
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A promising directorial debut combined with yet another surprising performance by Robin Williams
kavenga1 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
When the movie ended I was momentarily upset because I felt the climax was too vague. But the more I thought about it, the more things fell into place. If you like your movies, crystal clear and are expecting Hanibal Lecter, this picture is not for you. On the other hand, if you occasionally like something a little more cerebral, that perhaps makes you uncomfortable, and forces you to ponder optional realities, you're about to take a ride on a moral roller coaster. At the end, ask yourself, who is the bad guy and who is the hero?

SPOILER I felt that Sy took the pictures of his manager's daughter, not primarily to get back at him, but rather to purposely attract attention. He knew from his job that the pictures would result in the authorities being called. He wanted them on his trail because he wanted to lead them to the adulterous William Yorkin. When Nina Yorkin failed to react to the real photos of her philandering husband the way he'd hoped, Sy decides to give her some graphic `booster' shots, and give her husband a wake-up call at the same time. Only when Sy is sure that the police have arrived at the hotel does he attempt to make his escape, thereby insuring the police will also encounter Yorkin and Maya in their hotel. Thus, Sy makes it impossible for the Yorkins to go on living a lie. I feel Sy believed he was saving them for their sake and for their son. It's left open to you whether or not you think he succeeded.

As to theories about the snapshots at the end, I seem to recall the police said there were TWO rolls of film, one in Sy's bag and one still in the camera that he left in the hotel. At the beginning, the detective says `We processed the roll of film in your bag. They are not very pretty pictures' and `What did William Yorkin do to provoke you?' implying they are prints from the first roll that we see Sy take of Yorkin and Maya--but we never see those prints. Instead, at the end of the film, we see the prints from the roll that was still in the camera. But, anticipating the former, we are confused, stunned or surprised when we instead see the bizarre shots he took after he returned to his room. The director leaves it to the viewer to interpret the meaning of those.

As to the family photo that preceeds the credits, Robin Williams said (on the DVD) he felt it was Sy's dream of the way things might have been or could still be. The director said it was up to the viewer.

One Hour Photo did contain some flaws as noted her in other reviews. However, given that it was Mark Romanek's first screenplay I think we should cut him some slack, and look for something even better from him next time. My rating, 3.5 out of 5.
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Excellent film- very thought provoking
jondavman21 September 2002
I'll try to avoid divulging anything actually in the plot and touch on the overriding themes. Yes, it is conspicuously disturbing and probably should be filed under the same classification that contains Full Metal Jacket and A Clockwork Orange and consequently is rightly rated R. That said, for the right audience, it delves into the quandary oft pondered, Where does categorical love cease and morph into destructive psychological illness? Furthermore, focus on the plight of the lonely white lower-middle class worker who feels that society (read special interests and the government) neglects him but chooses to forgo complaining. Probably the the most potent element to the film is that it is quite realistic. The acting, script, and plot stand muster. 9/10.
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Close to Modern Hitchcock!
The_Vertigo_Edge22 September 2002
Before I begin, I should mention that I have been an Alfred Hitchcock fan since the age of five, and for me to even compare any film made in the last twenty years to even the worst Hitchcock film is totally unheard of. I view hitchcock as most film buffs view Orson Welles. With that being said, I left the movie theater after viewing One Hour Photo utterly spellbound. The same uneasy (not necessarily nervous) feeling that one experiences during a film like Notorious or North By Northwest can be experienced here. The audience isn't scared of Williams' character, they're uncomfortable around him, which is just how the other characters in the film view him. The other great element of the film is that it is easy to follow. While the trend in the mystery / thriller genre of today is to confuse and disorientate the audience as a means of creating tension, the director takes down a straight road that has several bumps along the way, which provides the same tension without all the confusion (See this film, then watch either Memento or Mulholland Drive). I can go on and on, but I will leave you with the this as a close to this review. This is the first film in some years that I left the movie theater feeling that I really got my money's worth ($8.00 per ticket).
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Riveting Suspense
Mason-1223 September 2002
Warning: Spoilers
This one gets an A+ from me. Stark terror in broad daylight. This is not an action movie, but very much a suspense movie in the Hitchcock tradition. Not for hyperkinetic teens -- no big gunfights, extended chase scenes, or fireballs -- but for adults who like suspense. It is like a Shyamalan film without the gore, and nothing like "Silence of the Lambs".

I am always amazed when Hollywood does something original. But this one managed to surprise me constantly -- I had no clue about what would happen next at the big plot turns.


The appeal of One Hour Photo would be a lot broader if they could give away the fact that nothing horrible happens and there are no blood and intestines. (Well actually there is a chase scene.) In fact, it has a happy ending and is something of a "feel good" movie, albeit following an hour of nail-biting. Again, it is very much like The Sixth Sense, or Signs, in this regard.

I don't go for "artsie" movies, but One Hour Photo has a plot that kept me riveted from start to finish. This is really the best movie I have seen all year -- I was on the edge of my seat from start to finish.

I have disliked Robin Williams in every movie he has made for the past 5 or 10 years -- for me, this is his first major success in drama. He has returned to something closer to his character in "Fisher King" and it really suits him.
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My Favorite Robin Williams Movie, Even if it is Not a Comedy
babyfir7713 August 2014
I just don't tire of this film. On the evening of his announced passing, we watched this film as a tribute to this unique individual. By the way, on the DVD he provides audio commentary. A rarity from him.

Basically the story is about a lonely man who identifies himself with a family and it become an obsession. Strong performances and the music is perfect for this film.

As a former one hour photo worker, I can identify with some of the aspects of his job. Also I worked at Wal Mart and the filmmakers replicated its look pretty well.

I sure wouldn't want a boss like Gary Cole's character! He is subtle and tyrannical!

This movie was even written up in Fangoria back then. Not bad for a non-gory film. Well there was a small scene with blood or a photo chemical......

If you get the DVD, check out the outtakes. There you'll see Williams doing his shtick, sort of showing the comic side of One Hour Photo. It is pretty funny!

Thanks, Robin.
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Too good for Oscar
arildness13 February 2003
One Hour Photo provided me with a mixture of extreme sadness and pure delight. The main character, who`s a real "peeping tom", is played with such sincerity by Robin Williams who seems to have gotten the hang of playing the "bad guy" (last seen in Insomnia).In style and theme it`s easy to compare this flick with films like Magnolia and American Beauty, by which all of them portrays the crucial and life-changing moments which happens to the protagonist. I wouldn`t complain if OHP won an Oscar for best film, but unfortunately the statuette will probably go to some extravagant story with no references to most peoples personal life (ala Gangs of New York)instead of this wonderful treasure. Bye
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The best film I've seen in the past 8 months.
SomethingJustDiedInHere7 September 2002
One Hour Photo is a must-see movie. Robin Williams does an incredible job playing a lonely and creepy man. Unlike most of the pictures I've seen recently (Signs and Minority Report for example), the ending was not flat or anti-climactic. I never once felt like a line was out of place or unimportant. Everything made sense and there were no true surprises. A well-written screenplay and many great performances made this a movie worth seeing over and over.
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Awesome Movie...
mjhawk3 September 2002
This movie was pretty dark. I would definitely recommend it, but it is not for everyone.

You really get to caring for this guy and you are constantly wondering what the heck he's doing. Its a great movie, I was glued to my seat even though there was not much action, yet it is riveting.
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Great movie which has Robin Williams in the performance of his career
l_a_t_e_r_a_l_u_s5 October 2002
The story, in case you don't know, is that a one-hour photo employee named Sy (played by Robin Williams) is obsessed with a family that frequently visits. From every roll of film they bring in, he makes copies just for himself. He soon begins to imagine that he is a part of the family. He really does like these people, and wants nothing more than for them to like him. He gives the 9-year old boy free toys and such from the store he works. He does lots of things in hope of them liking him. I don't want to say that much more, in fear of giving too much away, but it gets extremely disturbing.

It would be a crime to not give Robin Williams an Academy Award nomination for this role. He does this so well that while watching it, you sometimes forget that this is the same person that was once a loveable character like Mrs. Doubtfire. By far Robin Williams's best performance to date. The other performances in this movie were also convincing. But this is Robin's show.

Mark Romanek does a great directing job and writes a great screenplay here. One hell of a movie debut for him.

To sum it up: "One Hour Photo" is my favorite film of 2002 so far. Robin Williams gives us the performance of his career, and Mark Romanek comes off with one of the best debuts in recent memory. This movie is highly recommended.
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pretentious crap
eb_redbaron30 October 2002
the movie is an exercise in tedious story-telling, and a boring story at that. every second shot seems to be a close-up of mr. williams, with his bleached and thinned hair and the awkward glasses every psychopath needs. the fact that mr. williams character is a lonely and depressed man is made abundantly clear by a series of boring "staged" shots of him sitting alone in an empty room, whether its the cafeteria or his own home.

the picure-book perfect family could have been interesting, but the director and/or screenwriter obviously couldnt decide at which point to show the "real" family situation behind the happy facade. first we see the parents and their son cuddling on the sofa while looking at their pictures of the sons birthday party. the next scene is a tender good-night scene between mother and son where she states that "not everybody is as lucky as we are." however, the very next time we see the family, the parents are having a shouting match over money and personal issues, while the son watches and runs off crying. that scene seems so misplaced and badly directed that from that point onwards the whole family structure is so uninteresting that one couldnt care less what happens to them.

mr. williams actions in the hotel room towards the end of the movie seem furthermore totally unrelated to the trauma he obviously suffered as a child. his idea of punishment projected to an adult couple just doesnt make sense regarding his own past. it is just as incompetent as the whole story. and then there are the photos themselves. i just kept asking myself, if the family consists of three people, who then is always taking those pictures of the three? the same goes for the holiday pictures of the husband. did they hire a personal photographer to come along with them on the holiday so they could get those perfect couple shots on the beach? and the kid of course always considered the importance of complementary colors when shooting his pics: so that a bright blue teddy bear sits next to an orange balloon and that a pair of red rubber boots are seen standing on a very green lawn! all those pictures are so "art-directed" and staged that they in themselves rob the movie of all credibilty.
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I never thought I'd say this: Robin Williams' performance made me cry
Vladimir_Grozescu11 June 2002
Warning: Spoilers
*spoilers below*

What an amazing film. This is definitely Robin Williams' best performance ever. He's so believable that you forget it's Robin Williams up there on screen; this guy IS Sy. I actually cried at the part of the movie when Sy cried while looking through the pictures Jake took. I never thought Robin Williams could make me cry, but he did... which is a good thing. If you see this film, you'll feel how painful his empty and practically nonexistent life is. Also, the dialog was unexpectedly realistic. Besides Sy's explanation of why he did what he did near the end, other dialog that stood out was when Nina told her son that everybody knows that Sy's sad, and that they should just HOPE he feels happier. It would've been better if they actually DID something instead of just hoping he would feel better, but, sadly, that's the way life is. Only one thing bothered me: the very last frame! What was that? Why were we shown a happy picture of Sy with the Yorkins? Did it represent how Sy still thought he was still connected to the family? That last frame was very confusing and does nothing but hamper the ending.

Many people believe "One Hour Photo" will be a thriller (based on what they see in the the trailer), but it's the farthest thing from it; it's more like a drama... a really disturbing, heartwrenching, beautiful drama that few will see because of limited release. Trust me, this film isn't for everyone, but those who see it will be satisfied. Wonderful job, Robin!

My rating: 9 out of 10 (It'd be 10 out of 10 if it wasn't for the confusing last frame)
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This movie was horrible
BigKahunaBurgers20 September 2002
Man, what a let down. First I was bored to death with the first half of this movie. I only paid attention with hopes of a really disturbing ending. To be nice Williams played a good psycho and some of the camera work was interesting. But this movie gave me "cinematic blueballs". It just didn't live up to the build up. I would recommend this movie to all my enemies. If you wanna do a case study on anti-climatic endings than One Hour Photo is all you need. Save your time and money for something else- anything else!
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