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The One Note Man

average rating is 5 out of 5


Chris Olson


Posted on:

Sep 30, 2023

Film Reviews
The One Note Man
Directed by:
George Siougas
Written by:
George Siougas
Jason Watkins, Ian McKellan (narrator), Louisa Klein, Crystal Yu, Paul Barber

Irresistibly charming and poignant, short film The One Note Man delivers a rousing tale of one man's stagnant existence being galvanized by a disruption to his own clockwork routine by a loose thread on his jacket.

Jason Watkins plays the titular One Note Man, a musician who lives alone and lives a "Groundhog Day" lifestyle that is filled with the trappings of a man going through the motions. His part in an orchestra is brief, yet essential, but he leaves right after his one note is done and carries on with all the same meticulous duties he structures his day around. 

One day, however, a clothing malfunction sees him jolted out of his routine only to discover the beauty and talent of a fellow musician (Louisa Klein) in his orchestra. Much to the chagrin of his serious conductor (Crystal Yu), our man starts to hang around and mix things up, noticing the beauty of life all around him.

With no words but a phenomenal score, writer and director George Siougas keeps The One Note Man moving at a jaunty pace throughout. The editing is sharp, creating a comedic sense of timing in our protagonist’s life which unfolds like a montage of monotony.

Watkins is a worthy wordless performer, keeping you enriched throughout with a heightened physical performance that balances the cheeky story with the pathos. The scowling from the conductor (Crystal Yu) is perhaps the funniest thing in the film, again, making the most of a physical performance - mostly her piercing eyes. Louisa Klein delivers a fierce meet cute and her violin chops are outstanding. Siougas isn’t done there, though, with the admirable casting. Paul Barber rocks up as a florist and Ian McKellan turns up for some narration!

As with any film eschewing dialogue for tone, The One Note Man takes its audience seriously - even with the numerous moments of comedy. This is a film about a man living in sadness, his days slipping away with an increasing sense of pace. Its relevance to a modern audience is nothing short of a slap in the face and yet, with the addition of classical music we get to remove ourselves (just a little bit) and rejoice in the silliness and almost farcical nature that masks the depressing first half of the short film. As an entire piece, it’s pitch-perfect (no, not that film) and manages to earn a sense of timeless charm. 

About the Film Critic
Chris Olson
Chris Olson
Short Film
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