Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Movie Week Extravaganza! Popcorn (from the microwave!), chocolate bars, uncomfortable chairs (for watching movies from, anyway) and last but not least . . . inspirational movies for the budding photography student to take in!
Well, "ONE HOUR PHOTO", with Robin Williams, was not the way to start visualizing your new career as a professional shooter. Kudos to Williams for a great performance and for stepping out of his universally-accepted role as a loose cannon comedian. This time round, he's just plain creepy, reclusive, and in a pitifully sad state.
Here is a lonely man who buries himself in his small corner of the world, or should I say the "lab", and only perks up when he interacts with his favorite customers. What he's lacking in personal relationships with friends or family, he makes up, in his mind. Williams harmless fantasies grow out of proportion AND out of control as he imagines "moving in" with his favorite family as Uncle Sy.
When he discovers an adultrous affair within his newly adopted family, he takes it personally, and "exposes" the unappreciative jerk of a husband and his new fling in a beautifully executed plan of mixed up customer prints. Things spiral right out of control after this point, and it gets pretty messy.
As I thought about Robin Williams' character, it appears to me that there are a lot of Sy Parrishes in our world, in our city, heck, maybe even closer than that. These are the loners, the people who keep to themselves. They don't get too close to others. The live in a sheltered or self- restricting world unto themselves, but come out of their shells at home, where nobody can see them. They live out their alter egos through movies, video games, the internet, and become someone completely different.
Sometimes these alternate egos or characters rise too close to the surface, and they take them outside into the real world. These are likely the people who shoot other people on the street, steal cars and lead the police on high-speed chases, dress like their favorite movie heroes (live or fictional). They begin to "bend" the rules to suit themselves and start to dabble into areas that are socially unacceptable, thinking that no one will find out. It begs the question; how much of OUR lives are made up of small escapes into fantasy that we hope no one will come across? Who tells you when you're about to cross the line and step into the dark side of society?
How long would Sy Parrish continue on with his little scheme of stalking the Yorkin family if things kept going on without a hitch? What stops us from walking down a path that, initially, seems harmless, but has no guarantees along the way. Can you stop yourself or will it take something or someone else to bring you back?


  1. Geez, Chris, thanks - I think your review creeped me out more than the movie itself. "Who tells you when you're about to cross the line and step into the dark side of society?...Can you stop yourself or will it take something or someone else to bring you back?" Well, now I feel like I need someone to bring ME back from the dark side.

    One thing confused about the movie confused me - in the beginning in the police station, Sy asks the detective if he can see his photos, which the detective referred to as "not very pretty". At the end of the movie, when Sy does get to see his photos, we expect that they are of the couple at knife point in the hotel, and yet they're harmless photos of bathroom fixtures. Does that mean Sy never held the couple of knifepoint, just like he never entered the family's home to watch TV?

  2. I saw this movie at the theater when it came out and it totally creeped me out. Who expects funny Robin Williams to be such a freak? It's definitely not my type of movie but I like your insight on it. And I appreciate also how different a role it was for Robin Williams to play. I probably should see it again now that I know about photo processing at least. But then again...I doubt I will...give me laughter please!

  3. Wow, I love your review. I agree with Jonah, it creeped me out almost as much as the movie! You definitely made me think about the people around me and myself and what is real and what isn't. I never thought about what would have happened if Sy had never stumbled upon the photos of the husband. Would his obsession have gone to far?

  4. Chris, Chris, Chris.
    That was one hell of a review. I think you may have a future career here, ha! I absolutely love you reiteration of the movie, and you made a perfectly clear synopsis of the events that take place. It is interesting you challenge the ending, and question other possible outcomes. Tis true much of reality is based on fantasy, and vise versa. Hopefully people have enough dignity and common sense to stray from this behavior, but we all have our escapes. I wonder what would have happened beyond the original ending? , and Jonah, good point, what went down. the knives or the light fixtures? Geesh!

  5. Hey Chris, Nice review I also agree that when we see movies like this, is makes us stop and think about the people in our world around us. But I also think this character is in this movie because I think he lives in all of us to some degree. I can get stuck looking at photos of strangers on facebook, and I think it is because we all like to imagine what life could be like. I also have the same thoughts as the rest of you, what would have happened had Sy not found the pictures?

  6. Chris, what a fantastic review. I can't believe how much you have written, and how well it is written. Great work. I really like how you discuss parts from the films story in detail, and give us a good idea of what goes on in the story. I also found it interesting that you take it that step further and ask the viewers specific questions about the issues on display in the film. Overall, Chris a very well done review, and some very good comments made about the film, Great work.

  7. I honestly don't know what more I can say to comment on your review! I think you pretty much covered the lot!
    I agree about all your points about one hour photo!
    for me, i think its an awesome movie and really reflects alot about what photography can mean to some people. it is creepy, but i do feel sorry for Si!
    Fantastic review Chris!