One Hour Photo (2002)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 8-Sep-2003

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Mark Romanek & Robin Williams
Featurette-Cinemax Featurette
Featurette-Charlie Rose Show
Featurette-Sundance: Anatomy of a Scene
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 92:03
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (46:59) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Mark Romanek
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Robin Williams
Connie Neilsen
Michael Vartan
Gary Cole
Case ?
RPI $32.95 Music Reinhold Heil
Johnny Klimek


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    One Hour Photo is a disturbing, emotionally tense psychological thriller, presented on an excellent DVD.

    "The word snapshot was first used in 1808 by an English sportsman by the name of Sir Andrew Hawker. He noted in his diary that almost every bird he shot that day was taken by snapshot, meaning a hurried shot taken without deliberate aim. 'Snapshot', then, was originally a hunting term".

    Sy Parrish (Robin Williams) is a lonely and creepy one-hour photo developer who lives vicariously through the photos he develops. Exposed to the intimate moments of a suburb family's life, Sy becomes obsessed with the family and starts to cross the line. However, through their photos he discovers that they are not the perfect family he envisioned, and embarks on a mission to save them.

    Written and directed by well-respected Music Video director Mark Romanek, the film is highly stylized with striking visual imagery. Romanek directed such notable music videos as Michael and Janet Jackson's Scream, Madonna's Rain, and Lenny Kravitz's Are You Gonna Go My Way. Romanek's excellent feature film directing debut is heavily influenced by 1970s "paranoid lonely man" films, such as Taxi Driver and The Conversation. Indeed, the story is often presented from Sy's perspective, rather than his victims'. The art direction, cinematography, costumes and sets are all wonderful. The lighting and use of colour is some of the best I've seen in a recent film. Robin Williams and Connie Nielsen's acting performances are also brilliantly restrained and subtle.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    While a little grainy, overall the transfer is very good.

    The transfer is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is razor sharp. Consider for example the close-up of the face at 78:40. The shadow detail is excellent throughout.

    Colour is used extensively in the story telling, and the skin tones are accurate with a well saturated colour palette.

    While MPEG artefacts are not a problem, film-to-video artefacts are present in the form of a mild shimmer on certain objects. However, this slight aliasing was never distracting. There also appeared to be a few very mild and fleeting examples of edge enhancement and telecine wobble, but again these were never too noticeable or distracting..

    Film artefacts such as small flecks and scratches appear throughout, but they are all very small and hardly noticeable.

    English subtitles are present on the DVD, and while slightly simplified they are accurate.

    This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed at 46:59. It is fairly smooth and as it is between scenes, it is not disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The feature's audio is of high quality, and is brilliantly immersive!

    There are two audio options on this DVD: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded (192Kb/s).

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent on the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.

    The very effective and eerie musical score is credited to Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek and it brilliantly weaves a very creepy and tense feeling around the story.

    The surround presence and activity is very immersive, and the rear speakers are used very subtly, yet effectively, to help carry the score and provide ambience, without ever drawing attention to themselves. This maintains a nice soundfield while keeping the viewer firmly focussed on the screen.

    The subwoofer is also utilized very effectively throughout, and this bass-heavy LFE plummets to some scary depths that will shake everything in your house not nailed down.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are a few extras, but surprisingly, no trailer.

Menu

    Cleverly themed and animated with audio.

Audio Commentary

    Robin Williams and Mark Romanek provide an interesting screen-specific commentary, in which Romanek discusses his influences, while sharing some anecdotes and technical film-making information.

Cinemax Featurette (12:50)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo surround-encoded audio, this Making of One Hour Photo is a mixture of advertorial and informative content.

Charlie Rose Show (34:30)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo surround-encoded audio, I found this to be the most enjoyable extra. Williams and Romanek are guests on a New York Talk Show to promote the movie, but soon Williams cuts loose into his great comic style.

Sundance: Anatomy of a Scene (26:45)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo surround-encoded audio, this is a more genuine making of documentary.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    One Hour Photo has been released on DVD in Region 1, and is available in both widescreen and "modified full-screen" versions.

    The Region 4 DVD misses out on:

    The Region 1 DVD misses out on:

   Whilst it's pretty even, I would favour the R1 release because of the extra extras.

Summary

    One Hour Photo is a taut and gripping film, and I thoroughly recommend it.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is also very good.

    The extras are decent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Monday, July 28, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

Other Reviews
AllZone4DVD - DanielP
The DVD Bits - Ben G
impulsegamer.com - Peter Parmac

Comments (Add)
Horizontal Judder - Tom (read my bio) REPLY POSTED
Great movie, but... - grug (there is no bio.) REPLY POSTED
R4 should be better -