Film review: Once

Dom Horner
Thursday 13 March 2008 08:00
Comments

You’ve never seen a musical like this before, although I use that word loosely: if you’re after show tunes, stick to Chicago. Once is about a chance meeting of two kindred spirits who come together because of their love of music.

You’ve never seen a musical like this before, although I use that word loosely: if you’re after show tunes, stick to Chicago. Once is about a chance meeting of two kindred spirits who come together because of their love of music.

The guy (Glen Hansard, neither character is referred to by name) is a street musician. He plays his guitar on a busy high street, crooning for money. He writes songs on the side, but aspires to something greater. His music finds the attention of a Czech girl (Markéta Irglová) and they begin a fruitful partnership.

The chemistry between the two is palpable and the musician realises he’s found the perfect partner with whom to perform his delicate, folk-based songs. But making music together is one thing; untangling their heartstrings from their complicated pasts is quite another.

This is one of those rare films where the acting is so naturalistic and each scene so true to life that you almost feel as though you’re intruding. Shot on digital cameras with beautiful hook laden songs to drive the story forward, Once is spellbinding from start to finish.

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