Friday, November 02, 2007

The perfect date movie? (Once)

Is Once the perfect date movie? Well given my disastrous dating history (pre:2006 obviously dear) I'm probably the last person to ask. But anyway I think it might be:

1) At heart its a classic story of mutual unrequited love . As with Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise (one of my favourite films of all time) it throws together two young people in a brief unconsummated love affair that ends almost before it has begun by the intrusion of the real world. It is beautifully bittersweet, warm hearted and painfully romantic without ever being clich├ęd. Put it this way three quarters of the way through I was subconsciously going to cuddle up to the person next to me and that can't be a bad thing on a date (luckily I remembered who they were in time).

2) It has enough depth (brushing on the immigrant experience in modern Ireland) to avoid you looking shallow, without wearing its politics on its sleeve in such a way that might cause arguments later.

3) There are a couple of moments of heart wrenching beauty, the scene in the piano shop rightly praised in all the reviews (the song from which falling slowly is surely a dark horse for an Oscar) a beach party shot as the sun comes up across Dublin Bay. Beautiful (and it includes a frisbee, always a bonus), and the girl wandering along the street in the middle of the night singing to herself in dressing gown and slippers.

4) Its a musical, but one that actually fits the music into the fabric of the film so it doesn't feel forced or fake. Probably helps having one of the leads as a busker and the plot driven by a drunken weekend in a recording studio.

5) Its a really great small indie film that you will have to go to the local arthouse cinema to watch, and nobody else will have taken their other halves to see. Got to be better than dragging the missus down the multiplex to see Resident Evil 4 (a friend really did that, amazingly they are still together).

6) Best of all its under 90 minutes long, so if its all going horribly wrong you can bail after the film and still be home in time for Spooks.

So is this a perfect film? No.

Although in many places it hides it well this is a very cheap film. Its budget was allegedly something close to $100,000. They couldn't even afford names for the two main characters, making do with the bloke and the girl. I'm afraid for all its qualities hand held dv doesn't do justice to big sweeping landscape shots.

Although there are a couple of really good songs in here, there are a couple of fillers too.

The acting is at times wooden, although the fact that one of the main characters is a bit of a loner and the other is an immigrant who struggles with English means that it is endearing rather than annoying.

But this is nitpicking, if you haven't guessed already I loved this film. Go, search it out, and take the other half with you, this is the kind of film you should be supporting.


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