Reviews: One Hour Photo

A well-done imitation of a Kubrick thriller

I saw "One Hour Photo" on cable television after hearing the media hype about Robin William's chilling performance in it. Upon seeing it, I found it to be well-plotted and generally well acted. Williams's acting was particularly excellent; he is just about on par with such masters of creepiness as Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper and Anthony Hopkins.

However, neither the general soundness of the plot, the believeable acting of the cast in general nor the excellent acting of Williams in particular can elevate this movie to greatness. The fault for this lies squarely with director Mark Romanek. Sy Parrish's obsession with the Yorkin family is not nearly as disturbing as Romanek's obsession with Stanley Kubrick. The entire feeling of the movie, including the eerie sterility of the filming and the sound (I realize a director normally has little, if anything, to do with the sound), seems like a partially successful attempt to imitate Stanley Kubrick's style. The feeling of watching a student's impression of Kubrick's style would have been disconcerting enough if it were not for at least two completely pointless scenes in the movie whose only purpose seems to have been to remind the viewer of Kubrick's "The Shining". It's hard to enjoy a movie when one is constantly being distracted from the story by the director constantly saying "Gee, wasn't Kubrick great?"

I would like to recommend this movie, but I fear that Kubrick fans will take umbrage at this obvious imitation and that viewers who are not Kubrick fans will not get the references to "The Shining" and wonder what they were all about.