Warning: this post contains spoilers about the movie "One Hour Photo." If you're thinking of watching it, and you don't want to know about the ending, come back and visit on Friday.
I've had "One Hour Photo" in my DVD collection since 2003. I've started to watch it several times, but it has always bored me, and I've turned it off before the halfway point. Yesterday, though, I managed to sit through the whole thing, if only because I've decided that I have to finally watch every DVD in my collection. (There are about six more I need to watch to reach that goal.)
I didn't enjoy it. Robin Williams was good at playing a creepy guy, but there just wasn't enough going on for me. What really drove me nuts, though, was the ending. At the end, Sy (Robin Williams) has been arrested and is sitting in the interrogation room with the detective. He asks about the detective's family, then goes off on this insane little spin about how good fathers don't make their children do dirty things and take photos of it. Basically, it felt like the writers were justifying Sy's sociopathic behaviour by saying he had a bad father.
Seriously? Was his father sitting there, telling him to go and terrorize the couple? No. Did his father mess him up? Sure, but he's still an adult and he's made his own choices. I really felt like this was a cop-out. Lots of people have shitty childhoods, but they don't all turn into crazy people. I don't want to essentially be told that it's okay that he did this, because his daddy was a bad man. It's not okay! Don't feel sorry for the sociopath! Don't tell me that it's not his fault.
I've seen similar endings in a few books that I've read (although I can't think of their names off hand - I'll add something in the comments if I remember later). It's similar to the whole deus ex machina concept, although almost in reverse, if that makes sense. I will accept when a writer tries to make me feel sorry for a victim. However, once that victim turns around and uses his problems to become the one who is doing wrong, don't expect me to have the same reaction.
It also feels a bit, well, lazy. "I can't think of a good reason for him to be all crazy-like. Let's just make him an abused child." Um, yeah. Because nothing else makes people crazy. Believe me, I know a sociopath or two, and they didn't have horribly abusive parents. They're just that messed up on their own. I think they get off on the chaos they can cause.
The point is, I didn't like the way the writers chose to end the movie. I think it would have been better to just end it when the cheating husband came home and his wife stared at him from across the room as the police protection packed up and left. The explanation of the crazy seemed unnecessary.