Monday, July 2, 2007

Go See Once - At Least Once

I went into Once heeding friends' strong recommendations but still fairly certain I wasn't going to enjoy it even a bit (for whatever reason, I was convinced this film was going to remind me of Rent, you know, pseudo-gritty urban locale, the hard knock life, listening to people imitate Rosario Dawson's howling, "I wanna go ouuuuuuuuut tonight")... and I was pleasantly surprised. The soundtrack is stellar: both leads (who never get names in the film, but are played compassionately by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova) can actually sing, and they're given really good material to work with. The songs are better than most stuff that's released on actual albums, which is a rarity in filmmaking. It's not got a tightly-structured plot, but it follows the friendship between two characters united by their mutual love of music and admiration of each other's talents. And it's not one of those depressing "independent" films that studios pop out every so often, dripping in smugness, pretentiousness and aims of larger audiences (though it does deserve one). Which is kind of funny, seeing as it was released by Fox Searchlight, which released last year's Little Miss Sunshine mess. While it's a small film, it aces every single one of its aims, and Irish writer/director John Carney proves it's still possible to produce and finance a personal vision without sacrificing one's integrity or hiring a well-known name. A must-see for music fans (as well as film fans). Oh yeah. And check out this track, if you're not convinced. What a novelty - a film about musicians actually starring musicians. That music fans will actually want to see.

"When Your Mind's Made Up" [MP3]

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