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Once [DVD]
Format: DVD|Change
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on 9 June 2008
Watched the first 2 minutes and turned off after being blasted with foul language. Camera work awful too. Don't know about plot as I'm unwilling to have that language in my home!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 June 2014
I remember how pleasantly surprised I was when I first saw John Carney’s unobtrusive, Dublin-set, low-budget, musical love story on its release in 2007. It’s the sort of low-key romance that (for me, at least) perhaps should not really work, but the realism (and honesty) of the film’s central performances – musicians Glen Hansard’s down-at-heel, broken-hearted busker (and vacuum repair man) and Marketa Irglova’s Czech 'single-mum’ and Big Issue vendor – plus the film’s intoxicating soundtrack (written by the pair) make the film simply irresistible. And even now, seven years on, Once has lost none of its captivating charm and its songs remain some of the most memorably beautiful and haunting to have been written for the big screen (so much so, of course, that Carney’s film has spawned a successful stage musical offshoot).

Indeed, although Hansard and Irglova’s performances are impressively heartfelt and painfully real, and Carney’s film contains some nicely poignant moments of humour, without its soundtrack I would have rated Once at least one star lower. There are, of course, many standout sequences featuring Hansard and Irglova’s music, whether it be him busking solo on Dublin’s streets in pitch darkness (he only 'unveils’ his own 'uncommercial’ songs in the dead of night) or latterly in the studio the pair have rented to 'lay down’ some songs (before Hansard leaves to join his estranged girlfriend in London), but my favourite scene would have to be that where the pair deconstruct their masterpiece Falling Slowly, 'improv-style’, in the music shop – incredibly, for such a low-key rendition, this ranks as one of the most powerful 'musical scenes’ I have ever seen in cinema.

So the music undoubtedly forms the film’s core. But, elsewhere, there are also some very funny and poignant moments of comedy, such as that where Marketa is seen dragging her broken hoover through Dublin’s bustling shopping precinct or where the bank manager to whom the pair are applying for a loan to fund their recording session reveals himself to be a 'budding’ singer-songwriter.

Comparator films? Mood (and, to some extent, theme) –wise, Once reminds me of Pawel Pawlikowski’s minor masterpiece Last Resort and Jamie Thraves’ comedy Treacle Jnr., whilst, for effective use of music in film (though, of course, on a completely different scale), even Morricone’s music for Leone’s films or Michael Nyman’s music in Michael Winterbottom’s Wonderland (and you don’t get any better than that).
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on 18 April 2015
I was disappointed with this film, the camera work is dodgy and very low budget. Not much of a story line either. It was okay to watch once but don't think I would bother watching it again!
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on 5 April 2010
A lovely film. A simple premise but beautifully done. This film should resonate with anyone who has ever fallen in love with someone but for whatever reason ultimately it couldn't be. In other words, it should resonate with everyone. The bittersweet music works wonderfully in conveying a sense of yearning and loss although the mood never becomes too despondent and the film ends on an uplifting note.

When the film was over I spent some time at a window thinking about a girl I knew once.
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on 31 January 2015
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on 20 December 2010
Once is a near-perfect story. Here's how you'll know if you'll like it:

*minor spoilers within*

Do you like music? No, let me rephrase that. Does music possess you, move you, excite you and make you feel like nothing else? Andy Dufresne in the Shawshank Redemption understood. If the answer is yes, you will get this film.

If you like your music packaged and your performers manufactured and given an image to make their product sell, this might not be for you.

Once is about a guy (we never learn his name) who busks on the streets of Dublin when he's not helping his dad repair vacuum cleaners. By day, he plays familiar songs. People give him money because they recognise the songs. By night, he plays his own material. It possesses him. He lives and breathes it. He's a conduit for this powerful expression of emotion.

He's not an actor, he's a musician (The Frames) and had a role in The Commitments.

While playing one of the songs at night, a girl (we never learn her name either) sees him performing and gives him 10c. She asks if he'll repair her vacuum cleaner.

She's not an actress either. She's a musician from the Czech Republic. The two have a real-life relationship.

A friendship is formed. She can play classical piano. They play a song together. Will their relationship become a romantic one, or is music and friendship the only thing they will share?

She helps him. He helps her. Stuff happens. Wonderful stuff.

This film captures what it's like to be a musician. If you meet the first description I mentioned above, you could easily love this film. There are so many memorable scenes. I thought about it for at least a week after I first saw it.

It won an Oscar for best song, but don't think of it as a musical. It's not Hollywood. It's not Music & Lyrics. This is real.

It's shot on a digital camera so don't expect amazing PQ. It's decent enough though. Maybe 4/5. It doesn't matter. You won't care.

The Blu-ray is region free, although the special features are PAL and cannot be viewed on a US PS3.
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on 8 June 2008
Just seen this film and as the title suggest this film is possibly the worst i have ever seen and if not definetly in the top 5. Camera work is shoddy and very low tech and budget. From some of the other review this is meant to endear me to this pile of turd. Within the first 17 minutes i had the urge to vomit over the TV or slit my wrists. Please who wrote the plot!!There are far superior films dealing within a similar parameters and i'm not just took hollywood of blockbuster. Trully awful and deserves to be condemned to a pile of dust in the bargain bin. If you have seen this film and like it I salute you and should consider joining the army as surely enemy torturte can be no worse than this tripe
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on 2 February 2011
Sometimes you have to wait a while after watching a film to allow it to settle down inside.

Two hours after watching this its already disappearing; so better write something now before it sinks without a trace.

Beardy busker (Glen Hansard) is gustily giving it some tonsil on Dublin's streets. Slip of a Czech girl is loving it. Also wants him to repair her hoover cus his day job is vacuum cleaner repair man. Having only just met it doesn't take long before they're at it in a music shop, harmonising lovely together on guitar and piano the Oscar winning Big song "Falling Slowly"

He tries - clumsily - to kop off with her "I'm lonely and your gorgeous" ("gorgeous" no, plain yes) He's gonna have to do alot of shaking her hand. Cus seems she's only willing to fall in love with his singy songing - and be his backer upper; she negotiates a session in a recording studio to cut a CD of songs; joins in beautifully on keyboards and vocals.

He's off to London clutching hot CD to get record deal and ex girlfriend back (the female he's been doing all this gusty wailing for) Czech girls Czech husband has returned too.

The songs go on. And go on. Too much and too many, for too long; before long i was fast forwarding thro them in search of dramatic interest or more story. Didn't really find much of either.

Verdict: If you like earnestly, heartily, sincerely, sung singer songwriter break-up platitudes you'll probably like this film. If you like David Gray you'll like Glen Hansard. But this isn't a cinematic film. It's a music video stretched too far and too thin.
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on 12 April 2013
I absolutely loved this film. The story is essentially a love story, though never conventional. It is intricately delivered through the most beautiful music, which refreshingly, is part of the fabric of the story and not the product of the director's arrogance. The characters are totally believable and the passion felt through the delivery of the music is tangible and throughout the film it is the things that are left unsaid, or the things that don't happen, that take this film to a deeper level.

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are perfectly cast and create a totally believable story. The camera shots add to the effect creating a degree of intimacy between the watchers and the watched and it is as though we are voyeurs observing the journey made by both characters through their meeting. Each is the catalyst to change in the other and the beautiful lyrics and music are the wheels that transport them, on both their joint and very individual journeys.

There isn't one thing that I would change about this film. All the characters are a perfect fit and the scene where Hansard presents the finished product to his Dad at the kitchen table, is heartwarming and it is the little things that allow us to see the strength of this relationship between father and son.

This is a beautiful film and I just want to watch it again and again. I can't recommend it enough - oh, and don't forget the soundtrack from the film. I am currently either watching or listening and Glen Hansard is my new legend - how did I get to 47 years old and not know about him? (Try out The Frames too!)
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on 14 June 2010
The movie itself is fantastic - a fact which has been well-documented. It's a story of an amazing friendship. I liked it so much, I bought the DVD, soundtrack, and now the Blu-Ray. For this review, I would like to focus my comments on the Blu-Ray itself.

The video and audio quality are both brilliant. Audio is indeed DTS-HD Master Audio as the box says, though it is only 2.0, which some equipment may handle incorrectly. I have an Oppo BDP-80 paired with an Emotiva UMC-1 via HDMI, and the audio sounds great. The UMC-1 recognizes the audio stream as DTS-HD MA 2.0. If you think the audio doesn't sound right, try running without any effects or matrixing (e.g. NEO:6). By the way, the alternate audio tracks are also DTS-HD MA 2.0.

Now, for USA fans: The disc is not region-locked, and the main movie and menu will play just fine on your Blu-Ray players. The special features are PAL, so you will need a player that can convert PAL to NTSC. The special features play fine on my BDP-80, for example.

If you're a fan of the movie, this Blu-Ray is a no-brainer, especially at this price. Get it while it lasts!
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