e was once considered one of the funniest men alive. In Good Will Hunting, he proved he could really act. Since then, he became joke. And in 2002, he unleashed a new, darker side of Robin Williams, in which he plays a psychotic in three different films. Death to Smoochy was a critical and box office failure, but Insomnia was quite the opposite, garnering excellent reviews for his cold, cunning portrayal of a killer. But in One Hour Photo he moves up yet another notch, turning one of the most harmless careers - a one hour photo clerk - into a creepy, twisted creature of obsession, hatred and jealousy.
He had always felt a special bond between the Yorkins, especially Nina (Connie Nielson) and Jake (Dylan Smith). At times he felt like Jake's uncle, always there when they needed him - at least to process their photographs. His name was Si Parrish, and what the Yorkins didn't know wouldn't hurt them - over the course of several years, he has been making duplicates of their finest pictures and pasting them on his wall. They seemed like such a perfect family. He would make sure they would be a perfect family. Unfortunately, they weren't...
Robin Williams is riveting. At times he says nothing but his piercing stare into nothing tells us what is going on in that balding mind of his. His eyes almost scream psychotic. And when he speaks, he has that nervous twitch that shows that he is hiding something, that he is wanting something. In all honestly, as much praise as I placed on Williams' shoulders from Insomnia, he deserves more here. He is darker, creepier, and definitely a little crazier. The final, climatic scene is pure genius; this is where Williams gets to show what he's truly made of.
One Hour Photo itself would be nothing much without a capable star, but since it has one, it is a picture worth seeing. Director Romanek does a good job of keeping things simple will at the same time toying with angles, and having written the movie as well, he is able to capture Williams' thought processes with color, close-ups, and a few very strange and twisted dream sequences.
One Hour Photo is not Psycho, but if it can be compared, then that says something right there. Romanek has created a film that oozes creepiness while hardly leaving the confines of the stale, public shopping center; it is a feat worth applauding.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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