MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
Glen Hansard as GUY
Markéta Irglová as GIRL
Directed by: John Carney
Studio: Fox Searchlight
BY KEVIN CARR
I’m such an ass.
Why? Well, if you don’t know me and can’t fill in the blank yourself on that statement, then I’ll explain. If you know anything about the film “Once,” you’ve probably heard nothing about it but what a spectacular success and inspiration it was. Made in Ireland on a tiny budget, “Once” got a theatrical release and raked in the money (on indie film standards), making it the Cinderella story of the year. Even filmmaking god Steven Spielberg said the film gave him “enough inspiration to last the rest of the year.”
But I hated it. Because I’m an ass.
I guess I failed to be inspired by the story and the characters. Maybe it’s because while I enjoy music, it’s not a passion in my life. Unlike a reviewer friend of mine who checks his milestones in his life by the albums he hears, I love music as a soundtrack, not as a feature.
“Once” tells the story of a struggling Irish street musician who meets a woman while playing one day. The two strike up a quick friendship, and both are aware it could lead to more. She’s nervous because she’s still married to a husband in the Czech Republic. He wants a relationship, but he respects her wishes. Together, they inspire each other as musicians.
The film stars Glen Hansard of the Irish band The Frames, and he wrote much of the soundtrack. Markéta Irglová herself is a popular musician in her home country as well. While I understand and appreciate the casting of non-actors in such a music-heavy story, my biggest road block was the fact that I didn’t like the music. And if you don’t like the music in a film that is 50 percent music, you’re gonna not like the movie.
Add to the fact that I felt the characters were somewhat shallow and whiney, and they really just needed to get off their butts and change their lives (which is, I guess, the message of the film), I was just too annoyed with everything to enjoy it.
The DVD comes with plenty more music, which should bode well for fans of the film. There’s a film commentary track as well as a commentary on the music. Two featurettes follow the making of a modern musical and give more info on the Guy and the Girl. Wrapping things up is a webisode and a downloadable song from the soundtrack.