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Once (2007)

How often do you find the right person?

Starring:

Alaistair Foley

Bill Hodnett

Danuse Ktrestova

Darren Healy

Geoff Minogue

Gerard Hendrick

Glen Hansard

Mal Whyte

Marcella Plunkett

Markéta Irglová

Niall Cleary

Directed by:

John Carney

Rating: 5/10

Running Time: 85 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Once is a film that made me doubt my own humanity. It seems that every other person who watched this Irish-Czech effort went ‘Awwwww’ and recommended it to their friends. The UN probably watch this before a peace summit. I, on the other hand, went to make a cup of tea every ten minutes out of sheer boredom and I have been up all night trying to work out the equation of its popularity.

John Carney’s low-budget film follows an unnamed musician – let’s just call him Podraig (Hansard) for intensive purposes – who, whilst busking on the street in Dublin, meets a very forward young Czech lady called, say Pavla (Irglova). The two strike up a friendship and the embers of romance begin to burn even though she has a husband back in the Czech Republic. They make sweet music (literally) together and record an album with the help of an unconventional backing group.

The music in Once is pretty spectacular as the original soundtrack is very catch and powerful at times. The problem is, there’s too much of it. I know Once is a modern day musical but to compact the medium of film into watching two musicians singing the same two songs over and over whilst pretty much all we have on screen is a gurning singer or a bland montage, is just a waste. Just when the tea has brewed for ten minutes and you’re ready for a bit of dialogue it reaches back into a pointless piano rendition that’s meant to tell you something about their inner angst. I’m being cynical but was this just a vehicle to propel the two leads’ careers forward? However, it did do just that.

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It's Got: Some good, powerful music. a nice scarf, a decent low budget feel

It Needs: More story, less pointless musical interludes

DVD Extras A relaxed film commentary and a supplementary musical commentary that's a little more interesting than the actual film DVD Extras Rating: 6/10

Alternatives:

August Rush, The Commitments, This Is It

Summary

Too much of a good thing makes Once a dull boy. Contrary to the opinion of the world, this modern musical starts off sound enough before falling into schmaltzy repetition.

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