Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen, Michael Vartan, Eriq La SalleDirected By:
Mark RomanekWritten by:
Robin Williams plays Sy Parrish, a loner and a perfectionist who works at the photo counter at a suburban Wal-Mart-type store. He has worked there for 11 years and in that time has come to know some of the regular customers very well. In particular, he is attached to the Yorkins-William (Michael Vartan) and Nina (Connie Nielsen) and their little boy, Jacob (Dylan Smith). He's been developing their photos ever since they were married and feels like he's part of the family himself! While the Yorkins think of Sy as "the photo guy." His obsession with the family becomes a threat when he learns a secret harboured by one of its members.
In his feature film debut, writer/director Mark Romanek has crafted a skilful character-based thriller that is remarkable for its visceral power and utter intelligence. One of the true standout films at this year's Sundance Film Festival, "One Hour Photo" is a film brimming with atmosphere and mood, that slowly envelops the viewer from beginning to end. Romanek's ability at fusing dark satire with moments of realistic terror, make this one of the most compelling and unexpected films of the year. And while Romanek's direction creates tension, he has elicited from star Robin Williams one of the most faultless and hypnotic screen performances of the year. Masked behind a figure if white hair, Williams's portrayal of a middle-aged loner hiding amidst the safe solace of family photographs, is one of the purest performances yet from an actor whose skill is often masked by a persona of comic irreverence. Here, all of that is stripped away, and what remains is Williams at his most vulnerable, a vulnerability that is waiting to explode and when that explosion ultimately arrives, it makes for powerful cinema.
While Williams' supporting players are all fine, it is Williams that dominates every frame of footage in which he appears, coupled by a taut, masterful script and Romanek's fluid and often uncompromising direction.
"One Hour Photo" is an intelligent, disturbing and utterly compelling masterpiece, one that lingers with one, hours after its final, disturbing conclusion. This is unquestionably one of the best films of the year.- Paul Fischer