Perhaps the most anticpated film for me since Episode II or Lord of the Rings, One Hour Photo first came to my attention nearly a year ago.
Based solely on the strength of the image used for the movie poster (that of Robin Williams as his character Sy Parrish looking passionatly at a strip of 35mm film negative) and a brief description of the concept of the film, I anxiously awaited its release. When I finally had word that this film was to premiere, I was crestfallen to discover that it was going to be one of those "limited release" situations. A major studio (in this case, 20th Century Fox) finds excatly the type of script that they proclaim is so rare in Hollywood, puts up the money to carry it through production, then abandons it at distribution. This was the unfortunate fate of "Memento", a film I nearly missed on the big screen. It seemed that I would be making quite a trek from Arlington to far North Dallas if I hoped to see Robin Williams in what promised to be his finest hour as a dramatic actor.
But alas, the folks at Fox Searchlight had mercy on me and this gem of a film and it has now been afforded a much broader release. And that being the case, there should be no excuse not to seek it out as I did. And as for the promise of that first fleeting image and plot synopsis? "One Hour Photo" delivers!
Robin Williams shines like never before in a disturbing performance as photo technician Sy Parrish. The depth of this character is so great that nothing of Williams' own manic personality is allowed to show through (an unfortunate side-effect all too common when the transition is made from purly comic to purly dramatic acting). Obsessed with a suburban family through his vicarious intrusion into their lives (from years of processing their photographs), Williams' character begins a decent into madness that is both realistic and unflinching. And despite what on the surface may seem a transparant and predictable plotline, "One Hour Photo" is repleat with surprises. Like a negative that slowly reveals the photograph contained within, the plot slowly, methodically develops, not quite revealing the entire picture all at once. I cannot give a high enough reommendation to this haunting drama.