Sy the Photo Guy
Sy (Robin Williams - Bicentennial Man) is that friendly face behind the photo processing counter at the supermarket, he's been there for years tenderly developing photos for everyone, making sure they look the best they can be. But behind the friendly exterior Sy is a lonely man, he has no one at home and has gotten into the habit of developing extra pictures for himself. The Yorkin's seem a happy family and Sy has been developing their pictures ever since young Jake (Dylan Smith) was born in fact through watching their young son Jake grow up he feels like part of their family, like he is Uncle Sy. But what happens when Sy's order of life is interrupted and he becomes aware of something about the Yorkin's which causes inner rage?
"One Hour Photo" is a movie of 3 elements starting with the look and this is one stylish movie. The fluorescent glow inside the supermarket makes for a sterile almost minimilistic look which is in huge contrast to the warmer more natural and even moody tones outside of the building. It's not just the supermarket floor as the staff room is all white with white chairs, white tables, white walls and bright white fluorescent lights. But the style also extends to the story tone with the humorous look at the life behind the photo counter where Monday's are the busiest day of the week when everyone from tired new parents to shifty amateur porn photographers come in to have their rolls of film developed.
But we also have the storyline a look at the world of Seymour Parrish aka Sy and his lonely ordered existence. It is a fascinating look at the life of a man who in his mind has become a surrogate family member as he has watched the on paper happy Yorkin family grow up. How far does this go? Well he has been developing extra photos for his own collection, a wall in his room covered with photos of the Yorkin family and saying to others who see him with photos of the family that they are his relatives. What happens after this, well all I will say is what would a loving, obsessed family member do if they discovered that all was not right and someone through their actions was hurting the ones they love?
But the third thing about "One Hour Photo" is Robin Williams as whilst there are good performances from Connie Nielsen, Michael Vartan and Dylan Smith this is a movie all about Williams. And what a masterful performance because he manages to deliver every ounce the ordinary guy behind the counter, the guy who has served you for years and years. Yet at the same time there is something creepy about him, the prying eyes, the tone of voice, the way he phrases things it has that slow deliberateness which makes him unsettling. It is because Williams is so effective that you are drawn into his obsessed life.
What this all boils down to is that "One Hour Photo" is an entertaining movie with a great look and a decent storyline. But it is a movie which works because of a stunning performance from Robin Williams.