100 Discs of Christmas #10 – One Hour Photo (2002)

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This is a rather sinister stalker story, exploring what a lonely man will do to feel wanted or significant in someone else’s life. Here this man is a photo developer named Sy Parrish, played creepily by Robin Williams, who develops an obsession with a middle class family who go to his photo developing department in a large supermarket. Whenever the family give in their photos to be developed, he makes a copy for himself, building up a collage on wall at home with all their holiday snaps, baby-photos and birthday pics. He examines their seemingly perfect lifestyle, then, when he discovers imperfection under the surface, begins to pull out the building blocks of their lives, and watches them crumble.

Robin Williams takes care to make sure his character doesn’t descend into a pantomime villain, and excels in the role as Sy, not only making him believable, but a character we can both hate and feel sorry for. The exquisite filming style highlights the glossy and material lives of the families in modern day suburbia, and the colour tones, from director of photography Jeff Croneweth, add a shiny coolness to the eerie atmosphere. As a whole, this is a excellently drawn character study, but can be broken down into key moments of realisation in many different lives. The point of realisation when we ask ourselves “what have we become?”

One Hour Photo (2002), directed by Mark Romanek, is released on DVD by Twentieth Century Fox, Certificate 15. 

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Second year BA Film & English Student. Watches too many films and enjoys good novels.

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