Writer and director David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints), apparently using the proceeds from Pete’s Dragon, has created A Ghost Story.
He is a musician, she is, well we don’t know. A writer maybe? Anyway, one-day Mr Affleck dies in a car accident and comes back as a ghost, that is, as a man with a white sheet over him and two black patches for eyes.
Waking up in the hospital, he walks back to the house he shared with Mara and begins to stand around and watch her as she attempts to get on with her life.
Affleck, or whoever is in the sheet, is creepy as hell in his white sheet with black eye-holes. His looming presence whilst Mara does whatever she’s doing made me feel uncomfortable.
The feeling isn’t helped by Lowery’s decision to film the whole movie with a border left and right, giving us a 4:3 style aspect ratio. Like you’re watching an old 50’s/60’s TV.
This makes you feel removed from the movie, distant. You do get used to it but it’s very apparent whenever the camera moves, pans etc, it’s quite odd.
Anyway, as the sheeted pervert continues to loom over Mara, she eventually takes off from the house, but not before writing a note that she sticks in a gap in the wall.
As Affleck attempts to take this note out, all sorts of new people move into the house. Including a mother with her two young children. In this case, Affleck wondering the house with a sheet over him staring at two young kids…really doesn’t sit right.
The passage of time moves quickly (thank-god) for Affleck, people come and go, all the while he’s trying to get at the note.
He does meet another sheeted person. Someone in the next house. It seems, in the afterlife, we’re doomed to talking in subtitles, with little to say.
Time whizzes by and, just as Affleck is finally going to get the note out, the house is demolished and then replaced with a huge skyscraping office building.
Realising his chance has gone, he decides to kill himself. That’s right, a ghost decides he’s had enough with…erm…life? Afterlife, and end it, begin it? Re-end it? Anyway, that’s when things get really weird.
On the one hand, I admire Lowery for attempting something so bold. On the other, I hate him for taking one and a half hours of my life away that I’m never going to get back!
A Ghost Story isn’t innovative, it’s influenced by many films, some of which Lowery has documented. I wouldn’t say it’s striking either. The pallet is dull and diluted, there’s little in the way of sound, very little talking.
I liked the sheet. It’s large, drags on the floor behind Affleck like a wedding dress. It creases around his face, particularly when he turns towards something or someone.
I also liked how the ghosts, well, give up the ghost. That’s quite fun. But that’s about it. That’s about all I can say about A Ghost Story. It’s not funny or thrilling or moving or fast paced or scary or any of those things. It just is. Maybe that’s all it was ever meant to be.