ONE HOUR PHOTO
Directed/Written by: Mark Romanek
I went to see Possession, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Aaron Eckhart, and Jeremy Northam with my friends last weekend and I'm able to sum this film up in one word-RENTAL. It wasn't horrible, it wasn't great, it was a mediocre 49-cent rental. My friends all liked it, but of course they liked Riding in Cars with Boys.
So later I went to see One Hour Photo, hoping to find a movie I liked- strike two. The major problem with One Hour Photo wasn't actually in the film itself, but in the advertising. It was advertised as a thrilling, or scary movie. In actuality, it is an in-depth psychological character study.
In the movie, SavMart is the most perfect shopping center in all the land. The floors are sparking white, the lights shine so brightly you can get a tan while picking up a gallon of milk, and the obsessive compulsive stock boys have everything on the shelves lined up precisely. Everything is just as it should be. Everything except the guy behind the photo desk, that is. Seymour "Sy" Parrish (Robin Williams, Insomnia) is a lonely man who leads a seemingly simple life and has been developing photos at SavMart since 1990. He has become particularly interested in the snapshots taken by the Yorkin family. Something isn't right in this not so simple man's head, however, and over the past nine years his interest has grown into a full-fledged obsession. When he finds out that Will Yorkin (Michael Vartan, Alias) is cheating on his wife, Nina (Connie Nielson, Gladiator), he uses his art, film, to try and set things straight.
One Hour Photo is a beautifully shot film. Nearly every scene is bright and almost immaculate. The light cinematography contrasts so much with the dark content of the story, it really stuck in my mind and is probably the most memorable part of the movie. One Hour Photo is an Edgar Allen Poe-ish character study that is enhanced by a magnificent performance from Williams. He portrays his creepy character so well, I forgot he was once Mrs. Doubtfire. The movie, however, didn't live up to the expectations the previews gave me, nor did it have a satisfying ending (if it had one at all). The movie ends abruptly leaving too many unanswered questions. One Hour Photo is rated "R" for definite adult themes.
While One Hour Photo isn't scary in a traditional sense, its content is frightening because it makes you think about all the people who have access to information about us. Photo clerks, phone companies, nannies, maids, all of them have access to information about our everyday lives, and that leaves us vulnerable. Luckily, there aren't many people like Sy in the world, but still...
(Note to all aspiring screen-writers: we've had un-hinged photo clerks and psycho nannies. Perhaps mental maids for next summer?)