Between the Covers: Stories from My Bookcase

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

One Hour Photo (2002)

This 2002 Robin Williams movie was on cable yesterday, and it cured me of my headache, I think.


Seriously. I don’t even remember now why I didn’t watch in the cinemas when it came out a decade ago. Really? We passed off on a Robin Williams starrer? I guess it was the nature of the film that made us shy away. We love Williams in his comedic roles, a thriller was probably something we didn’t want to see him in. But boy was he effective. He was so effective.

William plays Sy, the photo guy at a big discount/retail store. He has been there a long time and takes pride on the quality of their prints. At first I thought he was the kind of vendor who knew all the regulars. But as it was, he paid a particular liking to the Yorkin family. He has been developing their films since the couple just started, and as such he’s considered himself somewhat an Uncle to young Jake. Unbeknownst the family, and even his colleagues, he makes copies of the family’s photos for himself.

Although the young Jake somewhat feels for the eccentric photo guy, he is wise enough to resist accepting a gift of a toy that he actually really really wanted to have. It is not clear how Sy took the rejection from the little boy, but it was where things started going downhill.

There could have been worse reasons for Sy to lose his job, but he was let go after an audit showed that he gave away a disposable camera as a gift to a customer (Jake, actually). He didn’t take it well. Before leaving his job, a lady comes in to have film processed. Sy knows she’s familiar but couldn’t quite place her. At home, from his photo wall, he finally sees the lady in one of the Yorkin’s old photos. He goes back in to the studio and retrieves the printed photos and sees Will Yorkin in compromising photos with the woman. It breaks Sy’s heart. His favorite family is less than ideal after all. What does he do with this information?

Short of spoiling the entire film, let me just say that he doesn’t get the reaction he wanted with what he did with the information he uncovered. It pushed him to do one stupid act after another. The threat management squad steps in. Lives are perceived to be endangered. And finally, Uncle Sy is put in his place. I think.