The late, great Robin Williams turns in some of his best work in the creepy ‘One Hour Photo’ now on Blu

Posted in Blu-Ray/DVD, Movies by - February 09, 2015
The late, great Robin Williams turns in some of his best work in the creepy ‘One Hour Photo’ now on Blu

It’s time to dial it back to 2002 as we look at One Hour Photo, a movie that is still as creepy as it ever was 11 years later.

Sy “The Photo Guy” Parrish (Robin Williams) has lovingly developed photos for the Yorkin family since their son was a baby.  However as the Yorkin’s (Michael Vartan and Connie Nielsen) seems to get fuller and fuller, Sy’s only seems lonelier by comparison, that is until he deludes himself into believing that he is part of the family.  But when “Uncle” Sy’s picture perfect fantasy is forced to deal with some cold hard reality, things go off the rails and Sy lashes out in some rather unexpected ways.

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A bit of a creepy choice for a father’s day special, but as a psychological thriller One Hour Photo packs such a quiet and understated wallop that really does stay with you.  Writer/director Mark Romanek in what was only his second feature ever at the time, crafts a deep, stunningly sad and still creepy world that draws the viewer in with a unique balance of chills and sympathy.  The florescent neon world of the 24 hour super store makes for a brilliant setting as all manner of individual is roaming through that store in one fashion or another and Romanek effectively puts us on edge with some wonderful contrast of light, shadow in concert with a stunning musical score so that we as the audience just don’t know who is normal and who is truly disturbed.  The narrative really does flow with such ease and it flips the switch making us uncomfortable one moment, then sympathetic towards Sy the very next minute.  While everything Romanek did on this film was obviously first rate, this movie could have easily done a nose dive as well if not for an inspired performance from Robin Williams.

As Sy “The Photo Guy” he really did access the heart and soul of a truly broken character who inwardly just wanted to belong, even though his outward actions told a very different story.  For such a manic character like Williams to be able to access such an understated place was a special thing to watch unfold as he kept us all wondering which way this truly broken soul would go.  Connie Nielsen made for a great counter point for Sy’s object of affection, not in a sexual way but as that idyllic object and example of perfection that he simply wanted in his life.  Along with Michael Vartan as the emotionally neglectful Will Yorkin and young Dylan Smith as Jakob Yorkin, if you’ll pardon the pun, they made for a picture perfect example of the perfect family and gave the character of Sy a perfect foil and goal to obsessively attain.  Gary Cole, Eriq LaSalle, Erin Daniels and Clark Gregg round out the ensemble cast but it is Williams’ performance that simply seeps into your skin and stays with you.

If anything on a day like Father’s Day, One Hour Photo is a chilling reminder to simply not take for granted what any of us have, because for every person with everything that takes it all for granted, there is also someone else who has nothing at all and doesn’t have the slightest idea how to go about getting it.

The picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray is obviously top notch and includes some of the more inclusive special features that this critic has seen in recent years.  Along with an excellent feature length commentary track featuring writer/director Mark Romanek and Robin Williams we are treated to some in-depth looks at the pre-production process via location/tech scouting and storyboards along with cast rehearsals, a great look during production called “Lensing One Hour Photo”, as well as a plethora of promotional material showing us the entire production process on this film from cradle to grave.

 

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David Voigt, has been a lover of cinema all his life and an actual underpaid critic for a solid 5 years covering everything that the city of Toronto has to offer. He was a content manager in video distribution industry before that and his love of all things cinema goes back to his first moments in awe looking up at the big screen. His 12 years of experience on the home entertainment side of the business have provided him with a unique view on what is worth spending your hard earned entertainment dollars on. Combine that with his unquestioned love of film, David should be your only stop to find out about the best in film, not only in Toronto, but worldwide.