• Guy Jeffries

A Ghost Story Review


Director: David Lowery

Starring: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, David Lowery.

David Lowery writes and directs a rather somber and melancholic story about a ghost who explores his existence after his death. Lowery had previously directed last year's Pete's Dragon which helped fund this spiritual project of discovery.

Regardless on whether you are believers in ghosts or not, this is quite an arty and profound insight at what a ghost might experience, told solely from his perspective. It made me rethink other ghost story films, especially the recent Personal Shopper, and questioned my own theory on ghosts. It's doesn't sit within my beliefs of what ghosts might be, as I see them (I haven't... for a while) as an echo, stuck in a moment, like how your VHS might flicker when on pause. I don't believe them to be always aware, hence the reliving of that moment, which might be a remembered nightmare to them and I believe them to show when certain conditions are right. Lowery's ghosts are more like poltergeists, which are the same thing as ghosts, but are considered noisy spirits and cause physical disturbances, possibly out of discomfort, discontent or just having malicious intent.

It's not in any way scary and instead quite delicate, compromising and rational, giving reasons as to why some spirits might behave in such a way. It's mostly sorrowful as we look at the prolonged grieving process in both worlds. That longing followed by sadness of something never to be attained again as he explores the expanse of time.

I believe Mara had a tougher job at playing her part compared to Affleck, and I wonder if he would agree with it being he's easiest role acting from under a white sheet. But thinking about it, he's presence, and eloquence when moving gracefully around does speak volumes. You could almost see the emotion brewing under that sheet. The choice of using a sheet is quite daring, but it's simplicity is very symbolic and doesn't distract away from what is going on. It's a very personal story but minus a lot of the details and background, we don't even get to know their names; and instead it focuses purely on those very moments of time that our Ghost shares.

It's masterfully shot using an interesting ratio much like last year's American Honey. Maybe done to evoke a claustrophobic feel, but you soon forget about it. Its actually quite peaceful, whilst being empty, bleak and gloomy at times with a minimal script, even purposefully not using translations, adding to the annoyance which possibly helps explain some hostilities. It even has a slight essence of a Studio Ghibli film.

The score provided by Daniel Hart, is beautifully and works so well with Dark Rooms, his band's track "I Get Overwhelmed" which becomes a key part of the film and is the same song used in the trailer. Hart had sent the recorded track to Lowery before shooting began and he instantly became obsessed with it, rewriting it into the script giving it it's full glory. It's such a rarity seeing films afford the time scenes to a whole track from start to finish, but it certainly warrants it.

It might sound depressing but I found it strangely comforting and inspiring, but maybe that's got something to do with my own weird disposition. There's a lot more to this film than what it might initially let on. It grows on you the more you think about it. It's an elegant, artistic piece of cinema. A twist of a ghost story.

Running Time: 7

The Cast: 8

Performance: 8

Direction: 8

Story: 8

Script: 8

Creativity: 8

Soundtrack: 9

Job Description: 9

The Extra Bonus Point: 5 for being original and different.

78% 8/10

#DavidLowery #CaseyAffleck #RooneyMara #DanielHart