Now, the problematic parts of the film—first, if you’re not a fan of musicals, this is not the film to see. Ode to Passion is proudly a musical, and the non-fan is not in the target audience.
The dialogue. It’s all entirely in verse from start to finish (except for the songs). Over the two-hour runtime, the repetition of the verse structure can wear you down. Part of me felt it was terrific, and the other part wished the structure of dialogue would change or vary. On the upside, the verses are easy to understand and you’ll never get lost in the overall story.
Ode to Passion is written as a rock opera akin to the musical, Rent. What confounded me was the purpose of the dialogue and songs were reversed. What I loved about the dialogue is how deep each character was able to express their feelings and outlook on life. Their thoughts on love and their past were poignant. I love conversations that get to the point. These moments of insight and discovery are usually saved for the songs, while the songs tend to come off as conversation and exposition.
“There’s a great deal of talent across the board…”
The first song has our lovers declare to their friends, “I met a girl/I met a guy.” The next song comes close to being written for a traditional musical, where Sarah confesses her past failures, but it comes across as a conversation set to music. Sarah warns Michael in “don’t promise things you can’t keep.” Then the third song between Michael’s friends John and Richy becomes a repetition of the phrase “that girl is trouble” based on the rumors Richy heard about Sarah.
There’s a great deal of talent across the board in Ode to Passion. First, the cast is fun to watch, and they do their best with the verses. However, it can feel like they’re continually trying to “pat their heads and rub their tummies” throughout the movie. It sometimes gets in the way of the overall performances.
There is just as much right going for the film as there is wrong and, sadly, Ode to Passion falls short of being something special. Jack Danini, though, has the makings of becoming a great director and also has a good sense of story, which is vital to directing. The songs are not horrible, and his dialogue is not half bad. As an emerging filmmaker, it’s now important to find a good collaborator or friends with constructive criticism to propel his career.
"…has the makings of becoming a great director…"