Saturday, March 7, 2009

Movie Review - Once

So it is 4:19 am and I am sitting at a computer at work. There is an exercise going on and I have to man a computer that spits out one irrelevant message every 5 hours for a 7 pm to 7 am shift. This easily could be a post complaining about the fact that I haven't slept in almost 24 hours, but it wasn't all bad. I got to read a fair amount of my first book in the Personal MBA program. I listened to some tunes and discovered some new blogs. I am mostly thrilled to have had the time to sit down and truly enjoy the movie "Once."

Once was recommended to me by my parents, in fact they bought it for Heidi and I a while back as a gift. I must admit that one night she and I tried to watch it and we didn't make it through 20 minutes of it. However, having made it through the film tonight I can see why. The film is definitely one that you must be in a certain mood to enjoy. If you are looking for pure entertainment and action this is the last film you would want to see. However if you are willing to truly tune into a movie and explore its subtleties then Once is a movie you should see.

The movie is centered around a broken hearted street musician and a Czech immigrant (to Ireland) and their unlikely friendship/love and musical chemistry. The film is heavily centered around music which definitely plays to my interests, but I think what I appreciate most about Once is that it doesn't dwell on a story. If that sounds strange and utterly boring to you hear me out. The film is out of step with regard to the way most American films are created, as it is centered around character development and not a highly intricate plot. In essence the characters are the story. It is fairly hard to describe in words what I mean, but I will give it a go the best I can. The film masterfully does what films are supposed to do; it plucks you out of your seat, your problems, your life, and it thrusts you into the lives of others. Maybe it is a combination of the low budget filming, the persona non grata actors, or the story in general, I am not quite sure. But it was almost like watching a reality show, or better yet an unscripted hidden camera documentary of a chapter in these characters' lives. There wasn't some deep, symbolic message crafted within the storyline. There was only the revelation that a short passage of time had a dramatic effect on these two people's lives. Their interaction was short lived and it was like one of those times in your life where you know you will never see the person again, and in a way that realization hurts. However, you know that you are better for having met and shared something with that person. It was that universal human experience that kept me interested, engaged, and emotionally stimulated throughout the film.

Once is definitely more art than entertainment and I must repeat my disclaimer that you must be in a proper mood to enjoy the film. To be honest, I think there are plenty of people that wouldn't enjoy it no matter what mood they were in. However, for those with an open mind who want to hear some good music, enjoy a truly unique moment in time with characters so believably ordinary that they are extraordinary, then this film is for you. I have always said you cannot write anything better than real life, and this film feels more like real life than any film in recent memory.


Saw Lady said...

I loved 'Once' too. A friend lent me the DVD saying I have to watch it because it's about a street performer (and I am one, too). The scene where the busker runs after a guy who stole money from his bag rang very true - I had that happen to me, too, and it ended the same way as in the movie. From there on the movie kept growing on me as it went on.

All the best,

Saw Lady

Kristen said...

I want to watch this movie now.. I hope its as good as vicki christina barcelona! Lovin the blogs.