But then conflicting photos upset Sy's world; he sees that things are not as cheerful in the Yorkin household as he had hoped.
The shortcoming in this film is that Williams is the only personality the audience really ever sees; the other characters have all the personality of photographs. They may be pretty and they may be interesting, but ultimately, they are only stereotypes. Nina Yorkin (Connie Nielsen) is the typical soccer mom; she says very little, and emotes virtually nothing. Will Yorkin (Michael Vartan) is the typical young husband: he works too much and pays too little attention to his family. There are characters in porno more fleshed out. Jakob (Dylan Smith) rounds out the Yorkin family -- basically, the story needed a kid so they hired one. This kid could not have been stiffer if they built him out of cardboard -- maybe they did.
The only thing that makes this movie more than mundane is watching Robin Williams be unfunny. The film is full of unsettling scenes that make the viewer cringe out of sheer discomfort, probably the most ominous being Sy and Jakob walking into a shady copse alone together. Williams is decidedly unfunny throughout, he never laughs and hardly even smiles. His performance is certainly a reason to go see this movie, even if there are no other reasons.
One Hour Photo alternates between two attitudes towards Sy Parrish (Robin Williams). One feeling is of sympathy for this very sad and lonely man whose only relationships are imaginary. The second feeling about Sy, though, is more sinister. He comes off as astoundingly creepy, as the sort of man who is afterwards described on the news as, "a quiet guy. He always kept to himself. I never expected him to do something like this." This ambiguity persists throughout, leaving the audience ultimately confused, feeling both sympathetic toward the character and disturbed by him. Believe it or not, this is the good part of the film.
You could say that One Hour Photo is a mad romp from Robin Williams through a photo mat. You could say that, but you would be horribly, horribly mistaken. There is certainly no romping in this movie and the madness is not at all Williams's usual sort. The aim must have been to see just
"Sy, Sy the Photo Guy" works in a one-hour photo mat in a Sav-mart superstore. He develops film of families and pretends that he is in them, becoming -- in his mind -- "Uncle Sy." For every roll of film that he develops, Sy makes an extra set of prints for himself, and if that were not creepy enough, he takes them
home and uses them for ultra-creepy wallpaper. His focus is on the
Yorkin family, a young couple with a young son. He knows them only through their pictures, though, so Sy has only seen what was worth photographing. This is the world in which Sy lives his vicarious life a perfect world of sunny days and smiles.
One Hour Photo
how unfunny Mr. Williams could possibly be, and in that sense,
the movie is a startling success. In other ways though, the
film falls somewhat short of amazing.
Williams as Sy Parrish in One Hour Photo
Starring Robin WilliamsDirected by Mark Romanek98 minutesRated R