Robin Williams as a disgruntled-photo-lab-employee-cum-creep-with-a-heart-of-gold? If One Hour Photo’s well-duh casting coup is more or less a non-issue (as Seymour Parrish, Williams typically calls attention to himself), there’s still the matter of music-video maker Mark Romanek’s gratuitous use of voiceover. Despite a perceptive observation or two (“I cared enough in this world for someone to take my picture” and “No one takes a photograph of something they want to forget”), Seymour’s metaphysical commentary track is a shameless declaration of the film’s subtext. Not unlike the pictures Seymour develops for his customers, Romanek’s arresting images-as-snapshots speak for themselves, evoking the false reality of the film’s picket-fence suburbia. The lonely Parrish becomes obsessed with the seemingly perfect Yorkin family: father Will (Michael Vartan) brings home the bacon; little Jake (Dylan Smith) plays soccer; and mother Nina (Connie Nielsen) smothers everyone with not-everyone-is-lucky-like-we-are care. When Will strays from the herd, he’s incriminated via a roll of film his mistress brings to the local SavMart. Romanek’s frame-within-a-frame compositions seemingly engage Rear Window when Parrish scoffs at the Yorkin family’s put-on happy domesticity. Even the smaller details speak for themselves: an error on Nina’s print form foreshadows Parrish’s photo-mosaic; a copy of Deepak Chopra’s Path to Love suggests something may be missing from Nina’s life; and an episode of The Simpsons holds a tongue-in-cheek mirror up to the Yorkin family breakdown. And while the film’s stalker subplot is rote, Parrish nonetheless makes for a fascinating, albeit second-rate sex-pervert. He believes so much in his philosophy of photography that he stalks with humanity.
- Mark Romanek
- Mark Romanek
- Robin Williams, Connie Nielson, Michael Vartan, Dylan Smith, Gary Cole, Eriq La Salle, Erin Daniels
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: