Wednesday, January 09, 2008

ONCE: MOVIE REVIEW [Top 2007 - #7]

Cast: Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová
Director: John Carney
Runtime: 87 min.
Country: Ireland
Rating: *****
Genre: Romance, Musical

You would want to hug yourself with all the warmth and goodness you can muster, after watching this little gem of a film. By all means, help yourself, and revel in the elation this once in a while gem rains on you. If I would have been any good, I would have written a glowing song for a review. As it turns out, I am not any good at even listening to songs, forget writing one. All I can hope for is to ask everyone not to rob themselves of the joy of this charming little film. And let us, for once, forget that damned word they call review.
There’s this friend of mine who writes beautiful little lines, by way of poems, though I’ve no idea how good he is with strings or for that matter keys (the link to his website is mentioned below). The Guy (the credits mention him thus) in Once reminded me of him; he sings songs on the streets of Dublin, with a guitar in his hand for company. His songs usually convey pain, and a little anger, and this one stranger Girl (the credits mention her thus too) falls in love with his songs. It is usually in the evenings, when there’s little hope for people to wait and listen to his compositions, when he sings his heart out. She loves it. She loves music, too, and wonders to whom are those beautiful lines dedicated to. It is the obligatory woman who has left him. Well, there’re quite a few obligations in the film, and that is not at all the point. It is at its heart so full of warmth, so full of goodness, you wouldn’t take a minute falling in love with it. It barely took me the opening credits, barely the first song, to realize that I my heart was gone. Such is the power of music, they say. Who am I to disagree.
The Girl is played by Markéta Irglová, a Czech musician and songwriter. She is beautiful in way that makes a man want to be a good person, desperately, and for her. There’s honesty everywhere around her, for that matter in the entire film. Glen Hansard, who plays the Guy, is the kind of earnest man you would take great care not to offend, not in the slightest way. He has wide open eyes, and the most sensitive of demeanor. As much as the songs are great to listen to they are no match to the sight of Hansard, hitting the strings with great intensity, crying the loneliness out of his heart on the crescendo, and Irglová gently pressing the keys, soothing the pain and comforting him. These folks love music, are nice and rarely have strings and keys been better together.
John Carney is famous in Ireland for making independent films, most renowned for the Cilian Murphy starrer On the Edge. He made this film at the modest sum of $160,000 with friends’ houses acting as sets, natural lighting and shooting on the streets without permit. I wonder if Carney realized, at that time, that this natural feel is what makes it all so unbelievably believable and honest. There’s a great sequence and a great shot of Irglová walking through the streets, during the course of a full song. It is one single breathtaking ride of a shot, and I wished these moments never ended. Musicals have long become big extravagant song-and-dance numbers. This is the film I believe that could change the modern day rendition of the genre. Subtle and so full of heart. Music between the notes, they say.
It is not the novelty of the exercise, but the novel way in which the exercise finds its way into our hearts that is amazing. It was the surprise of Sundance 2007, as a cheerful little film against the heavy Indies. You might catch yourself with a spectra-wide smile as you watch the film, and you might want to feel embarrassed. I didn’t and sure as hell would rather you wouldn’t. This darling of a film is composed almost entirely of songs; there’re few moments by means of dialogues. It is the kind of film you would as much enjoy listening to, as much you would watch it. I’m listening to the film, at the moment, and its breathtaking music alone has left me on top of this world. They say, music transcends boundaries, love too. Either of them couldn’t have asked for more.

Note: The link I mentioned - http://gaurav-parab.blogspot.com/search/label/See%20All%20Poems%20by%20Gaurav. Have a look at it, and see what I was talking about.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Awesome review or so to speak…… im sure going to catch this one….

How are you doing??



Regards,

Sarita

Anonymous said...

Awesome review or so to speak…… im sure going to catch this one….

How are you doing??



Regards,

Sarita

Sadanand said...

Beautiful.....beautiful movie(I'm not sure what to call this spectacular piece of work, calling it a mere movie would be a crime).
It's nice to know that the two are finally dating!God bless the couple...............

Gaurav Parab said...

Awesome review.

And I now have a reason to watch this movie.

Gaurav Parab said...

And I finally saw the flick yesterday, and absolutely absolutely loved it.

Makes your spirit soar.

The last scene where the camera pans out of the window when she is playing the piano just yanks my heart out of my body.

Atrisa said...

The soundtrack is absolutely breathtaking. How is it that such artists generally do not see the light of the "superstardom" day?

The one scene when Marketa is singing and playing "The Hill" really got to me. I have never ever seen a scene so honest and real.

It's an affirmation for the musicals!