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tom moody

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I reviewed the film One Hour Photo after seeing it once in the theatre; I recently rented the DVD and made a slight correction to my text. (Caution, semi-spoilers.) The film tells you, but not in a way that clearly sinks in, that Sy (Robin Williams in a great performance) took two rolls of film in the hotel, near the end of the story. One roll captured exactly what smutty-minded idiots are currently searching the internet for, the photos of which we don't get to see: "These are not pretty pictures," the cop says. Here's how I (now) describe the other roll:
The audience assumes that the photos he keeps asking for in the interrogation room are his [STARK RAVING NUDE!!!!!!!!] shots of the husband and girlfriend. Turns out they're photos he took in a nearby hotel room, before the police found him, on a separate roll of film. When a sympathetic cop finally hands them over, Sy patiently lays them out on the table and we can see they're images of the sofa, clothes hangers, bathroom fixtures, and the like, shot at odd angles and strangely cropped. He seems quite content looking at them. (sarcastic bracketed language added for this post only)
In the original writeup I described the second film roll as being taken only in the bathroom. Aside from this goof my interpretation stands. Oh, and one other bit of trivia, which also hasn't escaped internet comment. A couple of scenes involve a Neon Genesis Evangelion action figure that Sy purchases for the little boy, Jake. The kid describes the figure as "a good guy that can fly, and he has a silver sword that can kill bad guys, and he's sixty feet tall." Evangelion nuts recognize the figure as a Mass Production Series 5-13 Eva, from the End of Evangelion movie, and that it's not a "good guy" but a monster (actually one of a group of monsters) that slays the flawed heroine Asuka and helps usher in the Apocalypse. The commentators I read thought that One Hour Photo erred to include this, because the toy likely wouldn't be sold in US stores (extensive Japanese writing on the box tends to support this) and it's a villain. I'd call it poetic license: yes, if the kid was an Evangelion fan he'd know it wasn't a "good guy," but since the director's obviously a fan, he knows that nothing in that Japanese TV/movie series is black and white--even the "bad" Evas have a role to play in human evolution--and his inclusion of the figure in his own shaded scenario makes sense.

The scenes raise another flaw, I suppose. In real life, if a near-stranger showed up unannounced to watch a young boy's soccer practice and attempted to give him a gift without parents present, it would undoubtedly be found out, and in our current hysterical climate about molestation (see Capturing the Friedmans) that would be it for Sy. Yet the movie keeps moving forward with its own relentless, dreamlike logic. The film is quite amazing in its ability to provoke a squirming sense of discomfort almost from the first frame. Beautifully shot, too.

- tom moody 6-26-2003 8:33 pm [link] [add a comment]