REVIEW:A Ghost Story
Directed by David Lowery
By Christopher Spencer
Directed by David Lowery, A Ghost Story stars Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara in a supernatural drama film about a man who dies in a car crash, turns into a ghost and stays in his house for all time. The ghost takes the form of a makeshift ghost Halloween costume and must watch his old life of his girlfriend wash past his eyes.
A Ghost Story is another A24 release this year that has been praised by critics, yet received polarising responses from audiences. Much like It Comes At Night, the movie hooks you in with mysterious marketing of ominous posters and trailers. However, the finished movie is something you will not be expecting.
While It Comes At Night frustrated this reviewer with its open-ended narrative fraught with holes and unclear direction, A Ghost Story is trying to answer so many questions in the most weirdly-placed, glacial, cosmic, uneasy, unbalanced way possible.
It is quite hard to describe a movie that basically only uses its two leads for half the movie. Affleck is the ghost and dies quickly, and while he did play the ghost for the whole movie and his associated physicality is quite interesting, literally anyone could have played this role. As for Rooney Mara, she shows no emotion whatsoever for some reason. She is probably the worst thing to sell this movie on because the movie is not about her, and yet it leaves into the final cut a 10-15 minute take of Mara eating pie. Nothing ominous. Just eating pie. Why?
A Ghost Story gets deep and interesting in its final act, though the ending is its own special brand of confusion, but it really is not enough to save the whole movie. I did love Lowery’s sense of subtle emotion and radiating charm with his last movie 2016’s Pete’s Dragon, and I do see A Ghost Story having that unique heart underneath everything, but really it’s too long. A movie that’s only 92 minutes still feels too long, because this could have honestly been a powerful 10-minute short film.
I loved the cinematographic choice of shooting the movie in a 1:33:1 letterbox ratio, something that is never seen today, but that further hammers home the idea of style over substance. A Ghost Story could have been a simply good movie, but is just a plodding, ambitious, glacial, spatial oddity.