- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), French Dolby Digital 5.1, German DTS 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital Surround 2.0
- Subtitles: English SDH, German, Spanish
- Subtitles Color: White
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: R
- Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
- Digital Copies: N/A
- Run Time: 96 Mins.
- Studio: 20th Century Fox
- Blu-ray Release Date: May 7, 2013
- List Price: $19.99
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(The below TheaterByte screen captures are taken directly from the Blu-ray Discs and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.
Stepping out of his usual comedic roles and adopting a darker persona for writer/director Mark Romanek’s first foray into the world of cinema after many years as a music video director, Robin Williams (Good Morning Vietnam; Dead Poets Society) takes the lead as a disturbed photo lab worker in the suburban thriller One Hour Photo.
It seems strange to think that it was only ten years ago that a movie could still be made revolving around a one hour photo lab, what with practically all of the consumer photography now migrated over to digital, and even many of the professionals having made the switch. That the antagonist is someone who practically inserts himself into the life of a family he becomes obsessed with by developing their photographs for them is not strange, however, in this world of social media, where people routinely post some of their most private moments on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like. Was One Hour Photo ahead of its time? Hardly.
In Mark Romanek’s “everything in its right place” world of sanitized suburban shopping malls, cold blue and white color palettes and yuppie angst, this neo-Hitchcockian thriller looks backwards more than it does forwards, and comes up short in comparison to its inspirations.
Williams is “Sy the photo guy”, a desperately lonely photo lab processor at a SavMart (read: WalMart) who becomes obsessed with one of the families who are a regular customer to the lab. Nina Yorkin (Connie Nielsen) and her young son Jakob (Dylan Smith) regularly stop by to have their photos developed and together with Nina’s husband Will (Michael Vartan), Sy finds them to be the perfect suburban family. He’s secretly been making personal prints of all of their photos for years and obsessing over their lives, daydreaming of becoming part of their family, just “Uncle Sy.” His familiar attitude toward them is written off by Nina as simple eccentricities, but those eccentricities turn more dangerous when Sy becomes aware of Will’s extramarital affair and the image of his ideal family comes tumbling down around him.
Williams himself does a bang-up job as the quirky loner given the material he has to work with, but Romanek’s screenplay comes together like a poor man’s Hitchcock or some alternate version of Stepford Wives, given its almost alien-feeling set designs and painfully homogenized “thrills.” At no time during One Hour Photo to we ever feel a real sense of urgency or that the dutifully obsessed Sy will every really break out of his character as the mild mannered loser and turn into Jack Nicholson in The Shining.
One Hour Photo has never been a film that looked amazing, so one wouldn’t expect it to suddenly look like all-out reference material on Blu-ray. The combination of slow and high speed 35mm film stock and the often cold color palette makes for very unimpressive HD. Add to this the diffuse look of the film and the fact that this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p transfer from Fox also suffers from some annoying vertical film judder, and this one is definitely second tier. At the very least, One Hour Photo doesn’t look excessively processed or suffer from any harsh video noise or edge enhancement.
The extreme subtlety of this very dialogue-driven soundtrack, offered in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) makes for a very dull, boring, and staid audio experience. One would think they’d at the very least be able to make the scenes in the SavMart more atmospheric with the sounds of cash registers ringing, shopping carts wheeling around and customers abuzz, but even those scenes, which dominate the film, are very quiet.
Nothing new here, but there are a host of ported-over standard definition production featurettes that might be of interested to those who have never seen them before.
- Commentary by Mark Romanek and Robin Williams
- Storyboards (1080p/24; 00:18:04)
- Location/Tech Scouting: Multi-Angle Vignettes (1.33:1; SD; 00:05:15) – Director Mark Romanek explores sites throughout Los Angeles looking for the right locations based on the requirements of his script.
- Cast Rehearsals (1.78:1; SD; 00:04:24) – Before filming begins, Mark Romanek goes through scenes with his cast to find the right emotional tone and perfect the dialogue
- Lensing One Hour Photo (1.33:1; SD; 00:25:33)
- Cinemax Featurette (1.33:1; SD; 00:13:22)
- Main Title Test (1.33:1; SD; 00:01:24)
- Sy’s Nightmare Elements (1.85:1; SD; 00:00:38)
- The Charlie Rose Show (1.33:1; SD; 00:35:57)
- Sundance: Anatomy of a Scene (1.33:1; SD; 00:27:52)
- Theatrical Trailer (1.85:1; 1080p/24)
- TV Spots (1.33:1; SD; 00:01:24)
- Poster Explorations (1080p/24; 00:02:11)
The Definitive Word
One Hour Photo is more dull than it is thrilling, offering a look into the world of the lonely and isolated, more than it gives us a scary, character-driven thriller. The foibles of suburbia just don’t make for an exceptional thriller, just an average one.
Additional Screen Captures