*** Official "ONE HOUR PHOTO" Review Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Edwin Pereyra, Aug 25, 2002.

  1. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

    Oct 26, 1998
    Likes Received:
    Since there is no thread dedicated yet to reviews only of this film, I thought I'd start one.
    First, let’s get the film’s shortcomings out of the way.
    There are two main lapses in logic or in reason that occur halfway into the film. I believe that one’s ultimate enjoyment of this picture will hinge on how he/she chooses to accept these two very critical plot points. These are very important elements at a very crucial point in the film’s storyline that set the stage for the film’s second half. Should one choose to treat these as major flaws, then its latter half losses all credibility. On the other hand, one can choose to forgive them and just enjoy the ride. As a thriller, the film is bound by genre rules including, but not limited to, being grounded on reality and sensibility. As such, I chose to take the middle ground, which becomes the basis for this review.
    One Hour Photo tells the story of Sy Parrish who works as a clerk in a one hour photo shop for a big grocery store who becomes infatuated with a family after developing their pictures for a number of years. The film deals with issues of misguided perceptions, class anxiety and most of all, psychotic behavior. Its strengths come from director Mark Romanek’s ability to generate mood and creepy atmosphere along with a very fine performance by Robin Williams.
    Unlike its title which denotes a quick turnaround, One Hour Photo takes its time in building its characters and its story. Its musical score gives the film a heightened level of awareness and excitement.
    Robin Williams has turned in another performance worth noting along with Insomnia playing a character with a dark side. While it is a nice change of pace from his usual roles, I don’t think we need to see him again in another deranged character role for a third time in a row. With these two films and a few others before them, he has shown that he is able to handle the more serious dramatic roles.
    In the end, for me, the film works more as a thriller much more so than a social statement on the privileged, class structure and righteousness. While the film touches on these latter aspects, they are not developed enough to make a bigger impact or make a lasting impression of substance. They are there enough to avoid making this film into another predictable psychotic thriller. However, it is also this very aspect that makes the film a cut above the rest, keeping in mind that its viability depends on how one is able to accept the film’s key lapses in logic.
    One Hour Photo rates [​IMG] (out of four).
    Here are the two main lapses in logic/reason I mentioned above:
    First, why would someone having an extramarital affair choose to have an intimate moment together photographed by someone else or by their own selves? I would think that the couple took these incriminating photographs themselves instead of someone else. After all, if you knew that your friend is married and is having an affair, would you feel comfortable taking his picture with another woman? This leaves two other possibilities: One, the photos were taken by the couple themselves; or two, by someone who is not aware that either one or both of them are married. But why would a couple who tries so hard to hide an affair be so stupid to have their affair photographed?
    The second has to do with Sy’s dismissal from work. Even for a long-term employee, when the evidence is heavily in favor for someone’s dismissal, as in Sy’s case, that employee is let go immediately with their last paycheck including a reasonable amount of severance pay given to that person at the time he/she is notified of their dismissal. One thing that is not common practice is to have that fired employee still work the rest of the week as was shown in the film. This only gives the employee an opportunity to create more damage within (or steal from) the company.
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "One Hour Photo". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.
    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!
    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.
  3. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator

    Jun 30, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Oy, a promising premise gone terribly wrong. This film was underdeveloped, and as alluded to before, there are some strange and whacked out plot elements that make me want to go strictly with digital photography to put out to pasture guys like Sy Parrish, the lead character in the film.

    The film is a mess, and so jumbled that I can't really find a good thing it does right (besides showing how film developing works in the opening scenes) for a film in its genre. And who pays $10/roll to develop/print a 36-count roll of film?

    I give it 2 stars or a grade of C.
  4. Mike Graham

    Mike Graham Supporting Actor

    Aug 31, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Wonderfully creepy character study that had me thinking about it well after the credits rolled. Williams is fantastic in the role, along with an excellently subdued and refined performance from Eric La Salle as the policer officer that hunts down Williams' character.

    The look of the film is great, perfectly capturing the cold, sterile, "friendly" mass retailer that Sy is employed at. The sound design and opening credits are very spooky and atmospheric - this is a perfect, small fall thriller. The alarming, but small, mixture of gore and nudity really gave the audience I took in the movie with a few jolts. In particular:

    when Sy tested the Yorkins' bathroom out, much of the audience shook their heads in digust, dismay or simple shock.

    This was definitely one of the better movies I've seen so far this year, and I'll try to catch it again on DVD to see if I missed anything.
  5. Rob P S

    Rob P S Screenwriter

    Mar 22, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    **** out of ****

    A fantastic performance by Williams. Great music score and photography.

Share This Page