Plot – A mentally unstable photo developer targets a middle-class family after his obsession with them becomes more sick and disturbing than any of them could imagine – One Hour Photo.
Director – Mark Romanek
Released – 2002
If ever you want proof that a comedic actor can successfully transition into more serious work, there are three films you should watch, The Truman Show, Uncut Gems and One-Hour Photo all of which took an actor well known for over the top comedy, toned them down their performances and produced some entertaining cinema.
On the face of it, One-Hour Photo may look like just another average thriller, however, if you take the time to watch you’re in for a treat, with this turning out to be a clever little film, which works as both a psychological thriller and captivating character study. Thankfully missing loads of twists and unnecessary revelations that we now see in modern thrillers.
Certainly a slow burn. Romanek takes the time to tell to develop the story and characters, without making One-Hour Photo a boring watch. Allowing the audience to discover more about Seymour (Williams), enabling us to feel for him while at the same time fear what he can/will do. Likewise, we are given plenty of time to learn about the Yorkin family, discovering the cracks just below the surface and leaving you worried for them as Seymours stalking really escalates.
With so much of the film dedicated to taking photographs and the deeper meaning of capturing moments, it’s great how this is backed up with some great cinematography. Romanek really manages to create the perfect atmosphere, though the use of cold colours and negative space, leaving feeling exposed and uncomfortable even in the most mundane of locations, such as a supermarket or shopping centre.
Coming into the performances, I believe One-Hour Photo wouldn’t have been a success without the sadly missed Robin Williams. Who although we’ve seen excel in dramatic works before, such as Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society, where he takes on a darker/more ominous role, with a creepy side bubbling just below the surface, portraying him as a somewhat cliched stalker, which fit the character of being unremarkable in almost every way.
I found it very hard to find any flaws with One-Hour Photo, with the only real acceptation being a short sequence where we see the twisted world through Seymour’s eyes, which can be jarring at first, but apart from that this is a chilling and cleverly told physiological thriller, anchored by the perfect performance of Robin Williams.