2002 Running time: 95 Certificate: 15 Rating: 4

Synopsis

The late Robin Williams gives a genuinely chilling performance as a lonely photo processor who develops a decidedly unhealthy obsession with one of his customers (Connie Nielsen) and her family. Michael Vartan is the husband who tips him over the edge in this intelligent psychological thriller from Never Let Me Go director Mark Romanek.

Director

  • Mark Romanek

Cast

  • Robin Williams

  • Connie Nielsen

  • Michael Vartan

  • Dylan Smith

Review

Long-serving supermarket photograph developer Sy Parrish (Williams) takes one of his store's mottoes a little too literally.

"Our customers are everything," the legend in the rest room reads. "Without them, nothing else matters."

Lonely Sy knows his customers a little better than most because he has a unique peep into their lives through the photos they bring him to develop.

There's the amateur pornographer, the old dear who only takes snaps of cats, the insurance assessor's album of car wrecks and the Yorkin family.

For most of his working days at Savmart, Sy has been savouring the lives of this typical, all-American family - holidays, birthdays and Christmases.

However, not content with glancing briefly at the snaps as they pass through his hands he, rather worryingly, spirits away extra sets for his gallery at home.

He's on first-name terms with mum Nina (Nielsen) and even stops by to watch nine-year-old Jake (Dylan Smith) play soccer.

One good reason to consider adding Sy's name to the paedophile register, you might think. But you'd be wrong.

In fact, he is a self-styled moral guardian and upholder of family values. And, when he spots an incriminating photo in one set of prints, he decides to act.

Williams further erodes his thumpability quotient with a performance that combines psychological obsession with a great deal of sympathy.

His velour-clad, blue collar perfectionist is beautifully underplayed while Romanek's sterile shopping paradise is an oppressive space of white walls and spotless surfaces.

The action is kept on a tight leash and maintained at a steady pace, while the plot unfolds in ways you didn't think it would. Snap it up.

Tim Evans

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