Monday, September 02, 2002

One Hour Photo (IMDB) (Netflix)
Following the disastrous Death to Smoochy and the well-regarded Insomnia, Robin Williams completes an exploration-of-the-dark-side triptych with this mesmerizing character study of a lonely, tightly wrapped photo shop clerk (he would say "craftsman") who covertly adopts the Yorkins. They're an iMac'd, Mercedes-driving, stainless steel kitchen brand of perfect nuclear family, or so Williams has believed, but as he gets closer, he discovers a flaw under the veneer, causing him to respond the only way he knows how.

While many of Williams's roles have been overly sentimental or "too Robin," he's well-restrained here, and submerges under the make-up to truly become Sy the Photo Guy. The creepiness and tension ratchets up smoothly and smartly, and while it's a reasonably challenging film, there's nothing gratuitous about the action. Will do for photo stores what Fatal Attraction did for extra-marital affairs and Marathon Man did for dentists. Me, I've switched to digital.