Though known as a comedian, Robin Williams quite often doffs the funny stuff and takes on a more serious mantle. In Mark Romanek’s One Hour Photo, he’s just about as far removed from the “typical Robin Williams character” as it’s possible to be. He doesn’t even have the occasional spirited bursts of improvisation that he employed in Dead Poets Society or Good Will Hunting. While his performance may not quite reach the affecting effectiveness of his work in Awakenings, his role in One Hour Photo proves he can stay serious and still be commanding on screen.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Run Time: 1 Hr. 36 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-raykeep case with slipcover
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 05/07/2013
Seymour Parrish (Robin Williams), or “Sy the Photo Guy,” has been developing photos at the SavMart for eleven years. During that time he’s gotten to know his customers well, and in the case of the Yorkin family, in his mind he’s practically adopted them and become a pseudo-uncle. Lonely and friendless, Sy fantasizes about being a part of the Yorkin clan: lovely Nina (Connie Nielsen), industrious Will (Michael Vartan) and their cute son Jakob (Dylan Smith). But when Sy notices some pictures brought in by Maya Burson (Erin Daniels) contain intimate shots of her with Will, his fantasy world comes crashing down around him. On top of that, his boss (Gary Cole) has noticed discrepancies in his books and a decided drop in his work ethic that results in his firing. With time on his hands now, he sets out to right some wrongs he simply can’t accept.
The Production Rating: 3.5/5
Writer-director Mark Romanek has written an almost-thriller. It’s not quite the stalker/slasher film it seems to suggest it’s going to be, but there’s plenty of tension present even before Sy snaps from the shocking revelations of Will’s marital infidelities. With his eye for arresting visuals Romanek contrasts the warm, inviting environs of the Yorkin home with the cold, antiseptic look and feel of Sy’s apartment. And he takes his time tracking around the small space gradually revealing Sy’s obsession with the Yorkins in phases and maximizing his “money shot.” (In fact, there is a fair amount of impressive tracking throughout the movie allowing us to watch Sy gradually fall apart.) The story itself falls apart a little bit in the second half as Sy loses control and begins insinuating himself into the Yorkins’ private business, but the film promises more fright than it inevitably delivers, and the ending is rather unsatisfactory.
Robin Williams has a field day as the eccentric, sweetly shy but unstable Sy, and the director inserts some fantasy shots into the film as Sy takes on the role of “Uncle Sy” in the Yorkin household that allows us to see a happy, nurturing Sy completely at odds to the real world sad sack. Connie Nielsen exudes real warmth as Nina while Michael Vartan plays his unfaithful husband nicely with just the right amount of despicable duality in chiding his wife about her spending habits when he’s shacking up at an expensive hotel with his workmate as often as he can. Gary Cole does solid work as the concerned boss while Eriq La Salle underplays his detective part seen in the opening sequence and in the film’s last quarter hour.
The film has been framed at 1.85:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. The transfer does a terrific job with the extremes of color: the abundance of whites never bloom and the effusive reds don’t either. Sharpness is excellent almost consistently, and flesh tones are always realistic. All of the color is deftly handled. The film has been divided into 32 chapters.
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 uses bass masterfully in moments where tension is at its peak or when ominous things are intended to happen. Dialogue is always intelligible and has been placed in the center channel. There isn’t a great amount of ambient sound effects in the department store to suggest lots of business (in one of the featurettes, the director comments that it was toned down because it interfered with the sound recording of the dialogue), but the music by Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek gets a nice spread throughout the soundstage.
Audio Rating: 4.5/5
Audio Commentary: writer-director Mark Romanek and star Robin Williams discuss the making of the movie. Williams is admirably subdued with only a few bursts of manic business to distract from the discussion of the film’s production.
Special Features Rating: 5/5
Storyboards (18:04, HD): presented in montage form or can be chosen from four groups.
Location Scouting (5:15, SD): shows clips from various locations with user interactive red button which shows via split screen how those locations ended up in the movie.
Tech Scouting (3:51, SD): director Mark Romanek narrates the dressing of sets again with viewer interactive mode using the red button.
Four Cast Rehearsals (4:24, 4:36, 4:58, 6:45, SD): four sequences from the film as the cast was directed and blocked before shooting actually began. They may be played individually or together using “Play All.”
Lensing One Hour Photo (25:33, SD) Mark Romanek, producer Christine Vachon, and stars Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen, and Michael Vartan narrate thoughts about making the movie while behind-the-scenes work on the film is shown.
The Making of One Hour Photo (13:22, SD): a featurette which aired on Cinemax featuring comments from the writer-director, producer, and stars on the plot and characters of the movie.
Main Title Tests (1:24, SD)
Sy’s Nightmare Elements (0:38, SD): trick photography inserts
The Charlie Rose Show (35:57, SD): Mark Romanek and the expectedly improvisational Robin Williams visit the show in 2002 to publicize the film.
Sundance: Anatomy of a Scene (27:52, SD): the initial meeting between Sy and Will is analyzed via discussions of the script, the cast, the rehearsal, the set, and the cinematography by the various cast and crew members involved in that scene.
Theatrical Trailer (2:14, HD)
Three TV Spot Ads (1:24, SD): may be watched individually or together in montage.
Poster Exploration (2:11, HD): a montage of various poster ideas for the film.
One Hour Photo may not deliver quite the amount of thrills and chills that one would expect from a psychological thriller, but its restraint may be one of its strongest calling cards for some. An excellent Blu-ray edition with sterling picture and sound and an abundance of bonus features makes this a recommended rental (or purchase for fans of the stars).
Overall Rating: 4/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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