Williams developing a darker reputation... at last!

Preview by Jack Foley

 

 

AFTER years in the sentimental wilderness, Robin Williams is most definitely back with a bang. His latest, Insomnia, in which he plays a child-killer who blackmails Al Pacino's sleep-deprived cop, opens in UK cinemas on Friday, while the forthcoming One Hour Photo (which opens on October 4) has been described by Gear Magazine as 'the most significant image overhaul since Travolta traded up from Look Who's Talking to Pulp Fiction'.

Williams stars as lonely photo technician, Sy Parrish, a seemingly friendly worker who is loved by his customers. When events threaten to disrupt the lives of the picture perfect family he has become obsessed with, however, Parrish will stop at nothing to preserve the homelife he has grown to think of as his own.

Box Office Magazine said that 'not since American Beauty has a film so effectively skewered the American dream'.

One Hour Photo marks the screenwriting and directorial debut of veteran music video director, Mark Romanek, an 11-year veteran of some of the most groundbreaking music videos for artists such as Madonna, Beck, Lenny Kravitz, Macy Gray, David Bowie, REM, and Janet Jackson.

He has received numerous accolades, including more than a dozen MTV Video Awards, two Grammys and three Billboard Music Awards.

Two of his music videos - Madonna's 'Bedtime Story' and Nine Inch Nails's 'Closer' - have become part of the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art, while in 1997, MTV presented Romanek with the prestigious Video Vanguard award honouring his unprecedented achievement in the art of music video.

One Hour Photo is surrounded by talent - both in front and behind the camera. It is produced by Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler, whose joint credits include arthouse classics Happiness, I Shot Andy Warhol, Kids and Go Fish, along with Academy Award winner Boys Don't Cry, and by Stan Wlodkowski, who co-produced American Beauty.

The film co-stars Connie Neilson (of Gladiator fame), Michael Vartan (Never Been Kissed) and Eriq La Salle (formerly Dr Benton in television's ER).

WHAT THE US CRITICS HAD TO SAY:

USA Today was pleased to announce that the film 'takes Robin Williams to darker and more complex places that we can't turn our eyes away from', awarding it three and a half stars out of four, while Rolling Stone noted that 'even when the lights of inspiration flicker in the film itself, Williams remains electrifying'.

The New York Daily News said that 'Romanek's achievement is to tailor the look of the movie tightly to its theme', awarding it three stars out of four, while the New York Post said that 'Williams triumphs by exceeding both in sheer actor's craft — and the depths he plumbs in his character's tortured soul'.

On a negative note, FilmCritic.com felt that the film 'falls short of revealing anything intriguing about human nature', while Salon described it as 'an art-house horror movie' which 'like most art-house versions of genre films, all the vitality and juice of genre conventions have been sucked right out'.

However, there were very few negative comments. Entertainment Weekly awared it a B- and said that it 'goes from being [a] slick and simple study in human isolation to being a pulpier, and squarer, flick', while the New York Times said that 'however underpopulated, the movie is thick with concentration'.

E! Online, however, said that this is 'a picture show worth taking in', while Film Journal International predicted that it 'could emerge as of the more talked-about films of the late summer'. And the final word goes to TV Guide, which says that the film is 'smart and deeply unsettling'.

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