Friday, December 17, 2010
One Hour Photo. B
One Hour Photo offers an amalgam of character study and thrills, perfect for an extensive essay in film class. But of course I'll just offer my brief thoughts, which are mostly positive. They're really positive for the first half, which was sensational in its presentation of a creepy photo worker obsessed with a family whose pictures he's been developing for years. If ever a movie has a perfect hook, it would be this one. It shows us a truly frightening character and makes us anticipate how far his warped mental state will drive him. Here are a few things we're dealing with with this character, played by Robin Williams: he imagines he is in the family's house, meaning he must have been there at some point. He also buys presents for the parents' son, and also attends his soccer games. Finally, and this is what's really bizarre, he makes copies of their pictures and hangs them on his wall in his lonely apartment. Obviously he is trying to place himself in this family, but why he chooses this one or has not one for his own is never explained. It's really pretty sad. And also scary and unpredictable. What disappointed me about the film was the climax, which is what we're waiting for the entire film because of that tremendous hook. We want to know how far this desperate man will go, but the direction he chooses is sadly unmemorable. It's original and quite telling, but not nearly as scary as it should have been. I'd give the first half an A and the second half a C, which produces the even B. But even if I didn't care for the film as it progressed, it's still far more gripping than most thrillers you'll find. And this film is easy to forgive for that reason, and also because it's part of a genre that's so difficult to perfect that the result is rarely something flawless.