One Hour Photo (Blu-ray Review)

one hour photo wsb 1I remember checking out One Hour Photo in theaters back in 2002 and being genuinely creeped out.  Robin Williams was fantastically creepy as a man who takes things too far, as his obsession with a very photogenic family turns deadly.  Williams and the film in general received their share of praise, but director Mark Romanek has not been given nearly enough to do since, despite his impressive work in music videos.  Regardless, One Hour Photo has now made its Blu-ray debut and the film holds up very well, even if we really do not go to a store to develop photos very often, any more.  The disc is packed with all new special features too, so continue on to find out all that is included on this Blu-ray disc.


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The film revolves around a lonely man named Sy Parrish (Robin Williams).  Sy works as a technician at a one hour photo lab in a suburban mall.  He has developed an attachment of sorts two one of the families, whose photos he is constantly developing.  These are the Yorkins, Nina (Connie Nielsen), Will (Michael Vartan), and Jake (Dylan Smith).  The Yorkin family is friendly to Sy, whom he sees as the perfect family.  Soon, however, Sy’s relationship with the family takes a darker turn, as a fondness grows into obsession and leads to very creepy developments.

One Hour Photo opened in limited release back in 2002, but I remember the large amount of buzz for the film, particularly Williams’ creepy performance.  Having just come off of back-to-back villain roles with Insomnia (underrated) and Death to Smoochy (some say underrated too, I don’t), this was apparently a very dark year for Williams, but that did not stop him from turning in a wonderfully disturbing performance as Sy.  With the face of a warm, but sad man and the addition of blonde hair, Williams settles into this character so perfectly, which makes him all the more real, providing the film with an effective atmosphere to keep you unnerved around him.

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Robin Williams is obviously the most notable aspect of the film, but people should not overlook how solid of a psychological thriller One Hour Photo is.  Writer/director Mark Romanek not only does a great job of building up Sy’s character and what he is all about, but manages to make the story work as a fully-developed feature.  The film could have been much more one note, but we get enough of the Yorkins and the other supporting characters in this story for the film to appropriately build to its climax.

One Hour Photo continues to be a satisfying thriller, with a strong performance by Robin Williams.  It is an effective psychological thriller that preys on something as simple as the friendly one-hour photo technician and makes it into something worth having concern over.  The creepiness is quite evident, but the entire film is a fine piece of work from Mark Romanek, who deserves to find more theatrical success (his 2010 film Never Let Me Go not withstanding).  And if Williams ever returns to this dark side again, I would surely welcome it.


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It is unfortunate that One Hour Photo’s Blu-ray transfer is merely average.  The disc is fitted with a 1080p AVC-encoded transfer that does enough justice, but the film has a bit of an aged look.  Given that Mark Romanek is such a visual director, it is a shame that a better restoration was not provided for the disc, especially since new features were created for the supplements, which I’ll get too.  Regardless, the Blu-ray is clear enough, despite noticeable specks.  There is enough clarity to see the details in many of the locations and characters.  The color palette is very deliberate in the film and the Blu-ray shines best when looking at these aspects.


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The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is a more positive aspect of this disc.  One Hour Photo is not about having a blaring score and loud action, it is a very quiet film, but the Blu-ray’s audio track makes this work to its advantage.  The dialogue is clear throughout, various sound effects register properly, and the actual score works well, as it relies on a building tension that plays quite well with a solid sound system.  The film is a quiet thriller, but it has an effective soundtrack that is given proper justice on Blu-ray.


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There is a slight snag in my rating of this section, as the film has a very nice set of features, but they are unfortunately all presented in SD.  While the extras are a mix of old features from the DVD and new features added onto this Blu-ray, it just seems odd to see everything not in HD, given how far along we are with Blu-rays.  At least the features are broken up into various sections:  pre-production, production, and post-production.

Features Include:

Commentary by Mark Romanek and Robin Williams – The best thing one could have asked for.  The writer/director and the key star sitting down to talk about the movie in full.

Location/Tech Scouting:  Multi-Angle Vignettes – A look at location scouting for the film.

Cast Rehearsals

Lensing One Hour Photo – A look at the process of filming this feature and various challenges.

Cinemax Featurette – A standard behind-the-scenes segment.

Main Title Test

Sy’s Nightmare Elements – A look at one of the creepier scenes in the film.

The Charlie Rose Show

Sundance: Anatomy of a Scene


Theatrical Trailer

TV Spots

Poster Explorations


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One Hour Photo remains an effectively creepy thriller, with a strong, dark performance by Robin Williams.  The Blu-ray is a pretty solid package, despite its biggest issue being an average video presentation and the lack of HD special features.  If one has not seen this movie before, be sure to check it out and for those who are already fans, the Blu-ray is worth checking out for sure.

Order Your Copy Here:

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Aaron is a writer/reviewer for WhySoBlu.com.  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS3.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at HHWLOD.com.


1 Response to “One Hour Photo (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    Creepy indeed, but a great flick! It actually took me a while to get used to Robin Williams again in any role after this one. LOL.