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One Hour Photo (2002)

The things that we fear the most have already happened to us...

Original Title : One Hour Photo
Director : Mark Romanek
Writer : Mark Romanek
Genre : Drama
Mystery/Thriller
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Jeremy W. Barber, Robert Katz, Pamela Koffler, Robert B. Sturm, Christine Vachon, John Wells, Stan Wlodkowski
Music : Reinhold Heil
Johnny Klimek
Photography : Jeff Cronenweth
Distributor : Fox Searchlight Pictures, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Italia, 20th Century Fox Netherlands, 20th Century Fox, 20th Century Fox de Argentina, 20th Century Fox of Germany, Fox Pathé Europa, Fox-W
MPAA Rating : Rated R for sexual content and language.
IMDB ID : 0265459
Official site : http://www.foxsearchlight.com/onehourphoto/
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poster for "One Hour Photo" by Mark Romanek (2002)
One Hour Photo (2002) - Mark Romanek
 

Starring

Robin Williams Sy Parrish
Connie Nielsen Nina Yorkin
Michael Vartan Will Yorkin
Dylan Smith Jacob 'Jake' Yorkin
Erin Daniels Maya Burson
Paul H. Kim Yoshi Araki (as Paul Hansen Kim)
Lee Garlington Waitress
Gary Cole Bill Owens
Marion Calvert Mrs. von Unwerth
David Moreland Mr. Siskind
Shaun P. O'Hagan Young Father
Jim Rash Amateur Porn Guy
Nick Searcy Larry - Repairman
Dave Engfer Sav-Mart Clerk
Jimmy Shubert Soccer Coach
Eriq La Salle Detective James Van Der Zee
Clark Gregg Detective Paul Outerbridge
Andrew A. Rolfes Officer Dan Lyon
Carmen Mormino Officer Bravo
Izrel Katz Superintendent
Peter Mackenzie Mr. Belmer - Hotel Desk Manager (as Pete Mackenzie)
Andy Comeau Duane
Robert Clotworthy Eye Surgeon
Jesse Borja Cook
Jeana Wilson Nurse
Megan Corletto Risa Owens
Kenneth Dixon Security Guard (uncredited)
Noah Forrest Cop (uncredited)
Mark Romanek Little boy in photos (uncredited)
Wayne Wilderson Booking Clerk (uncredited)
 

Plot

Seymour 'SY' Parrish has been doing photo development for 20 years. He has a vast knowledge of modern photography and develops photos at a local department store for a living. But SY lives a sad and lonely life and begins spying on the Yorkin family, his biggest customers who seem to have everything in the world. SY begins to feel that he wants to be in the Yorkin's life, but when he discovers that the Yorkins are not as perfect as they seem, he becomes a man on a mission to expose the imperfections of the Yorkin family that could tear them apart. A department store photo clerk, Seymour 'Sy' Parrish, is exceptionally knowledgeable about photography, and has been developing photos for the Yorkin family since their son was a baby. However, Sy also lives a very solitary and lonely life - with no wife, girlfriend, or family in the picture. Sy begins to develop a disturbing obsession with the Yorkins and what they have, and when he is fired for theft he goes over the top. Having discovered a disturbing secret about Mr. Yorkin, he exacts angry revenge in a chilling manner...
 

Comments

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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