Tuesday, September 9, 2008

ONCE (John Carney, 2006, Ireland)

This is not a love story but a story about love. This is not a musical or a music video but a story about the creative process and expression, a film about communicating feelings and externalizing loneliness, which lessens its hold over the heart. We are given brief insights into the lives of the “guy’ and “girl”: we experience them as real people that existed before the film began and will continue after the final reel. The story is sad and heartfelt and doesn’t pander to the typical romantic conventions (which means the ending is true to the story). The hand-held camera narrows our attention to the characters and creates an intimate relationship with the audience. When the girl buys batteries late at night as she’s writing the lyrics to his song, we are given a long tracking shot as she walks home in the dark, the halogen glow from streetlamps and brake-lights painting the scene in an aura of creative life…a pregnant moment of birth to a new song. The film has two crane-shots: one ends the previous scene and the other ends the film…when was the last time you saw a crane-shot in a low-budget film? Awesome. Oh, and by the way, the music is great too. 

Final Grade: (A)