ONE HOUR PHOTO

One of my favorite videos ever is Perfect Drug from Nine Inch Nails. Closer, by the same band is not my favorite, but it is visually intense. Both of these videos were directed by Mark Romanek, the writer-director of One Hour Photo. I was curious to see how this talented director of these and a ton of other videos would do in his feature film debut.

One Hour Photo is a dark, kinda twisted, rather depressing drama with some good old ďpsychological thrillerĒ aspects thrown in for good measure. It tells the story of a lonely photo developer (played by Robin Williams) who becomes obsessed with one family whose pictures he develops.
Romanek tells a good story, but it is kind of flawed. My stringent spoiler rules forbid me from getting into details, but suffice it to say believability is sometimes questionable. But you know what? Itís OK. This movie almost feels like a fantasy film anyway, albeit a suburban fantasy as opposed to swords and sorcery. Romanekís creative eye always sees an artsy shot. Even the store where Williamís character works, which I guess is supposed to be a sort of Wal-Mart / Target/ K-Mart clone has a surreal look to it.

Robin Williams can be a very impressive actor. The darker his role, the better he gets. In One Hour Photo, heís pretty freaking dark! But heís very polite and almost sympathetic too. Heís even better here than he was in INSOMNIA.
The family Williams ďadoptsĒ is played well by Michael Vartan of TVís Alias, Connie Nielsen, whoís beautiful, but has kinda weird hair in this flick, and a pretty good youngster by the name of Dylan Smith. They all do a great job. Itís hard to believe that Nielsen is the same actress from Gladiator and Devilís Advocate. Very different look for her.

One Hour Photo needed a faster pace and a little more fleshing out of the characters. Itís not a great movie, but itís great performances and creative directing make it worth watching.

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