Despite my love of Halo 3 and general affinity for two star movies, I more often enjoy small movies about human interaction. "Once" is one of the best of these movies. It is about the love(not) between two people from different worlds but one passion: music. Unlike a romantic comedy, this movie can be relished by those for whom love is on the outs: because sometimes it is better to be single and available.
No spoilers here, not that they would be worth it. Compared to most movies this film is almost shot in real time. This goes to show that in most movies the plot is given too much emphasis over nuances. If you like nuances, seeing into the lives of characters, "Once" is like a rare jewel in a pile of less rare jewels.
"Once" is partly (or mostly) elevated above the dross partly because the music is actually fantastic. One scene in particular is striking because we can completely understand why a skeptical sound engineer would be surprisingly impressed by the music. We can't just pretend a song works because the movie says it works. It has to work outside of the story. One of the greatest movie songs is "Constant Sorrow" from the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou". A central part of the storyline involves the sensational popularity of the old-timey song. The song works in the story, of course. But if the song had been the normal movie made trash, the sub-story would be stupid and the entire movie would be mediocre. But the song is awesome, and the movie is great. The same is true of the music in "Once."
"Once" will give you the good feeling of seeing a film that leaves me intellectually stimulated and emotionally satisfied. Can I stress the greatness of this movie enough? Lets find out: "Once" should be shown in every film class, "Once" should be on everyone's list of great movies of all time, "Once" should be seen and loved by everyone who says they love music, "Once" should have won more Oscars.
Tagged: untimely reviews