Once Blu-ray Review
sometimes little films that come along that find ways to surprise and
almost every way imaginable. Once is that kind of film, and
something one rarely gets a chance to experience. This particular film
is a genuinely
rare gem in a sea of works that are less inspiring, moving, or
unexpected hit was a hugely successful film at the Sundance Film
2007 and it went on to win several awards during the year including the
Award for Best Original Song for Falling Slowly, which
careers of musicians Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.
Once is a
simple but powerful film.
It's not something that was overly concerned with a long and drawn out
plot-line. Yet it is incredibly effective in its execution of the
concept of the film is to explore love of music and love through music
does so through the two leading characters. The story opens with 'him'
Hansard) performing music on the streets. Early in the film he has a
encounter with 'her' (Marketa Irglova), who gives him a few cents for
performance. Initially thinking that she is shortchanging his
two quickly become chatty with each other and begin to learn about the
It isn't long before both are discussing making music and their love of
turns out that she needs her vacuum cleaner fixed, and he does repairs.
agree to meet again the next day. He helps her with repairs (alongside
whom he introduces to her). In hardly any time the two are connecting.
long the two of them find themselves inside of a music shop where she
demonstrates skills with the piano. They begin to create beautiful
together. Over the course of the remaining of the film, they begin
collaborating and making more music together and they contribute
performing in a studio recording session with some fellow band mates
of Hansard's band The Frames). She encourages him to be invested in
towards a recording deal. They get a loan to do the recording session
the success achieved from getting the loan secure a few days of quality
recording time. The rest of the
storytelling surrounds the intimate recording of their songs with
friends and a
final bow that simultaneously feels beautiful, sad, and bittersweet.
stars two musicians, then little
known, named Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Hansard was part of the
Frames and Irglova had made a prior album with him under the title 'The
Swell Season', which later became adapted as the name for their
had no real acting experience before making the film, which was written
(although much was reportedly improvised) and directed by John Carney,
musician and filmmaker who used to be bassist for The Frames
already familiar with Hansard and wanted him for the part. Deciding to
film with Hansard and Irglova was the first step towards telling his
fascinatingly simplistic but profound story.
had so much soul and heart: it was clear that the film meant a great
them and that they were fully invested in their roles. The inherent
these people was greatly realized through these roles. It was a match
heaven. After the two musicians got their chance to look over the story
script they went to work making the incredible songs that appeared
the film. The songs were done in stages: before, during, and after
of the filming itself and it all had a great impact on the tonality of
core of the film are the songs themselves. The songs make up the heart
story, including the remarkable Falling Slowly. The songs each
part of the story and were impeccably placed within the framework
by Carney. Call it luck, call it fate... collaborating between these
three musketeers is one of the things which was so important to the
success of Once.
filmmaking style is quite beautiful and it feels so intelligent. The
the directing, from the encounter of the two lead characters at the
of the film to their spiritually powerful musical collaborations, is
that made the film feel so authentic and so joyously uplifting. It
like a documentary but it encapsulates the best elements realized with
movie-magic and this makes the film feel all the more special. It's almost as though it glows. The film is a
true inspiration to anyone who has ever worked on any artistic endeavor
large part of this is the directing brought forth the best from these
musicians, demonstrating the sheer power of collaboration and of a
determination to have an artistically included voice be shared with the
This is something that I am fully confident speaks to so many different
in a variety of fields.
moment I first saw Once, I knew I experienced something of
personal importance to my life. I walked away feeling like this was
film was "one
for the books"; filmmaking that had had a great impact on me. I am a
massive fan of music and feel it is one of the essentials of life. I
what life would feel like without music in it, the idea of that is
While I'm a music fan and not a music-maker (though I was actively
Choir for seven years during school) the idea of a movie surrounding
immense importance music can have on a person's life was highly
fact that the movie was also about people connecting through a
love for music was something that made this film feel so powerful,
of the film is both a metaphor for the once in a lifetime
reach for a career and dream where the opportunity is sometimes
something that only comes 'once' and it is
also for the
moment in which one finds that one person who seems to fully understand
and connect to them as a person. This is something that usually only
'once' as the title suggests. There is so much to be moved by even in
film's title and in its significance.
went on to become a massively successful indie hit. It was initially
for only $160,000 but it ended up making over 7 million in the
it was a huge hit before release when it played to great enthusiasm at
Sundance Film Festival. The funding by the Irish Film Board had paid
time. The film was followed with some more collaborative music between
musician pair (who began a relationship after the film's release) and
perhaps most notably, to the creation of a hugely successful Broadway
The success of Once is remarkable. I am so glad for its
as it means more will discover the story, the music, and the wonderful
expresses. This is moviemaking at its absolute best and the fact that
so immensely genuine and does so much with so little makes it a truly
continues to inspire and move a appreciate audience. Once will
hold a special place in my heart and I hope that it is something that
many generations to come. It is simultaneously one of the best music
ever made and one of the most romantic films I have ever seen.
telling it's story more with music, it manages to achieve a completely
feat as a new kind of independent spirit musical unlike anything that
made before (or that has been seen since). Once truly is a once
lifetime movie experience. Even if there ends up being a large number
successful indie musicals someday in the future, this film is one that
always treasure. It's a sort of gift of a film that should be shared
Definition 1080p presentation of Once
on Blu-ray is much more impressive than many are likely expecting to
this release. The MPEG-4 AVC encoding runs at 40mbps and is stunning
technical standpoint. There aren't any technical limitations on the
terms of what went into the production of this Blu-ray release.
considering an upgrade: this is a massive improvement over the former
edition. For owners of the Region Free United Kingdom Blu-ray release
out several years ago, the film is preserved on a 50 GB (as opposed to
former 25 GB release) disc which helped to increase the bit-rates of
somewhat dramatically. This makes a difference for anyone viewing on a
television. The transfer itself also seems a bit different with notably
colors. The image does not appear to have been artificially tinkered
any way so it seems this encode is simply more accurate (if only by a
I was especially impressed with that aspect of the video presentation.
will need to keep in mind Once wasn't
a film made with a large budget and that it was actually made using HD
cameras of 2006, which were not of the highest quality as the
quite as impressive as it is today. Nor was the budget there for the
visually be as splendid as larger productions.
many moments that are soft and some that seem a bit out of focus. This
partly due to the photography involved in the filming and some of it is
a result of the equipment used. However, without a question, this
retains the look of the film with a highly accurate presentation
actually saw this film in the theater in 2007 and I am certain that
presentation is equally (if not more) impressive than it's theatrical
run. The video
drawbacks related to sharpness are absolutely related to the source.
are notably less vivid and close-ups are more detailed and show the
benefits of the High Definition presentation.
finally received a clean
appearance free from compression artifacts. The film feels surprisingly
and it has a genuinely 'film-like' presentation despite it's obvious
production origin. If there is any minor gripe or concern it is that
transfer is still slightly window-boxed (but I imagine most viewers
notice or find this too distracting). In my estimation, this transfer
the best that Once will ever look on
home media or otherwise.
presentation is the best reason to upgrade to the Blu-ray edition (or
toss the old region free UK Blu-ray disc in favor of this one). This
release presents the film with 24 bit audio for the first time. This
a deeper and more immersive soundstage that is so much smoother and
(The former UK Blu-ray edition included 16 bit audio).
Master Audio 2.0 stereo track is remarkably beautiful, vibrant, and
There are no elements of distortion to report on this release. Given
music is one of the main things that helps Once be so magical it's a
thing to find it has been given a stellar audio presentation with
vocals. The music songs have never sounded any better to me than they
this release. Basically, this Blu-ray is worth buying for the audio
fact that the PQ is significantly improved almost feels like icing on
the extras previously available on the DVD edition have been ported
their entirety and nothing has been left out. There is nothing new to
release but at least nothing was lost in the transition to Blu-ray.
release features both a musical commentary and film commentary with
writer/director John Carney and actors/musicians Glen Hansard and
Irglova. This is the prime attraction of what is included in the
release also contains a few other bonuses: the Making a
Modern-Day Musical featurette (13 min.), the More Guy,
More Girl featurette (10 min.),
and the animated Broken Hearted Hoover
Fixer Sucker Guy webisode (1 min.).
one of the most moving and
heartfelt films ever made about music and love. The film explores the
relationships of the characters through their affections for making and
in music. For anyone who has ever cherished the experience of listening
music: of hearing a special song that is just right, Once somehow
manages to perfectly embody that feeling and utilize it in telling one
most magical film romances ever seen. There is a good reason musicians
Hansard and Marketa Irglova have had such success with this film and
musical creations they have made together. The effort is beautiful,
resonant, and it is absolutely genuine.
one of the best films of the 2000's and it has finally received a
Blu-ray release. Fans will surely appreciate this high quality
For newcomers or those who have experienced the Broadway rendition but
film that started it all: please don't overlook experiencing the
that started it all. Please seek out and enjoy this wonderful and
about love and music. It will provide a experience you will long
Talk Collector Series.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.