By DanielJW 5 Comments
One Hour Photo - 3/5
I can say...I really didn't expect a hell of a lot when I started watching this. I like Robin Williams in a lot of the things he does, and it was $5 so what the heck, why not. I was pleasently surprised. Throughout the movie I found they did a really good job of keeping the very eerie atmosphere. Never once did I feel like I could relax. Partially from Robin William's fantastic effort, and the very bland colour palette. Very subtle touches kept drawing me back into this movie. There's a very strange and conflicting balance between sympathy and disgust, it really made me think about what I'd just watched when it was over.
One Hour Photo follows Sy Parrish, who develops film at the SavMart. He does his work with the utmost pride and precision, memorizing all the faces, and styles of photo he gets from every regular customer. Be it baby pictures or amateur porn. His favourite customers however, are the Yorkin family consisting of Nina , Will, and son Jake. He grows into an obession with this family, creating extra prints of all their photos for himself. He falls deeper into his fantasies of being a part of their family, when he discovers a shocking secret within the mother and father's relationship. I suppose I'll leave it at that, so as to not give too much away.
Like I said, I believe Williams did an amazing job in this film. Every mannerism had something incredibly strange about it, giving him a creepy feel before you even know his story. Even his dedication to his job, and the way he talks about his work gives off this vibe thats something is wrong, especially how he talks about the other photo developers who take less care in their work with such disturbing hate. The shots of the processing machines going have a very morbid feeling about them, and nearly everything in this place is white, not to mention the entire film is full of very bland and dark colouring. All these elements really came together well, and helped to create a great atmosphere that I felt nervous looking at. In my books, a good thriller / horror atmosphere is one that'll make you scared on it's own.
During the movie you get various insights into Sy's mind. You find out why he does the things he does, and his justifications for them. This really stood out for me, because they did such a good job fleshing him out and hitting a cord with people that in the end, you're almost trying to defend his psychotic actions. There are just so many relatable traits to Sy that I begun to think about points in my life when I was Sy, the lonely and jelous guy watching the Simpsons every night.
As far as the cinematography went I loved it. Great job of keeping everything low-key, but still a little off. Just enough that you notice it, but not enough that it's punching you in the nose. Simple little off center angles and symmetrical shots add to the creepy. Colours were well done, I can't stress that enough. I loved the presentation of this entire film, I thought it was really really well done.
My few quibbles with would include the lone jump scare of the film. The horror elements were so low key, that it did a good job keeping you on your toes and frightenting you with simple things. The jump scare, all though done well, seemed very out of place and unneeded. It took a lot away from the constant on-edge experience for me to have it just slammed in my face all at once. My only other problem with this film being the end. I don't want to say much about it, I just found it to be very strange and unsatisfying.
Overall I really enjoyed it, definitely worth my $5, and I'll likely watch it several more times. While the actual film creation and cinematography was done well, a few sloppy moments like the jump scare did a good job of taking away from what I thought was the core theme of the film. The brilliant story telling was capped off by a lackluster ending, which is sad because of how immersive I found the film up to that point. Although these may seem like minor issues, they were pretty crippling moments for the film. Breaking theme so drastically and ending on such a low note really brought this down for me. My final word, I recommend it, despite the slip ups. 3/5