Director: Mark Romanek
Writer(s): Mark Romanek
Runtime: 96 min
Tagline: There’s nothing more dangerous than a familiar face.
Plot: Seymour ‘SY’ Parrish (Robin Williams) is a one hour photo lab technician at a SavMart discount pharmacy. His entire world is based around this job and he takes it very seriously. His perspective on the rest of the world is based on the snapshots that he views through his customers photographs. Of course, these photos only show the good times, because no one takes photos of things that they would like to forget. He has taken a keen interest in the Yorkin family and has followed their life through their snapshots. He envisions himself in many of their photos, because their life looks so idyllic. However, the Yorkin’s life isn’t as perfect as it appears in their snapshots and Sy’s world comes crashing down as he uncovers their imperfections.
Review: I’m a big fan of Mark Romanek’s work as a video director. I think he’s a lighting genius and his hyper reality style makes the artist look ultra-perfect. Mark bring this artistic style to his directorial debut. Although I’m a big fan of it, I did find it a bit distracting in a movie format. According to the director’s commentary on the DVD, his intention was to make the movie somewhat hyper realistic, but everything is just a bit too squeaky clean.
Yet, this fits the story somewhat, in that the characters are somewhat stereotypical. The dialog is fairly good, but in some of the more deeper sections, the dialog is a bit lacking. The relationship between the Mrs. Yorkin (Connie Nielsen) and the Mr. Yorkin (Michael Vartan, of Alias fame) is one of the weaker points of the movie. They simply didn’t have much in the way of chemistry and their relationship wasn’t clearly established. You know that they have problems in their relationship, but it’s vague and un-authentic.
The standout performance has to go to Robin Williams. What was most impressive about his work in this film was his ability to condense himself into such a quiet and contained character. We all know him as this over-the-top extrovert and in this role he is supposed to blend into the background, which he does. When he blows his gasket, which you know he’s going to do, you imagination just runs wild. He’s such a lonely character in such need for some type of contact that you just feel for him.
Another performance that surprised me was that of Dylan Smith, who plays the Yorkin’s son Jake. His role wasn’t all that large, but he really did well in it. You could tell he was really listening when he was in scene and he did a lot of small movements, like playing with a toy somewhat distractedly, that just seemed so natural. This was his first role in a movie, but you wouldn’t know it from watching him work.
Although the movie is a bit stylized and somewhat sterile in it’s storytelling, it’s a very engaging movie. That coupled with the lighting and other eye candy is why I gave it 4 stars.
My Rating: (4 out of 5 stars)
My IMDB Review: [link]