Writer and director Anthony Z. James (“Day One (Short)”, “The Roof (Short)”) sent us his first feature film Ghost, based on his short movie Day One.
The first item of business to get out of the way is that the entire film, from start to end, was shot entirely on an iPhone and, whilst the quality is there, it is still pretty remarkable to create an entire 90-minute movie.
This can result in a lot of ‘floaty cam’ feeling but this, together with the realistic lighting, and by that I mean the lighting in the real world, adds a grittiness and realism to the whole thing which suits the overall production and story.
That story sees Tony Ward, Anthony Mark Streeter (“Day One (Short)”, “The Snowman”), released from prison after a ten-year stretch.
Once out he immediately reconnects with his son Conor, Nathan Hamilton (“Holby City (TV)”, “Hide (Short)”), and the pair attempt to reconcile their strained relationship.
Anyone expecting Ghost to be along the lines of other ex-con movies should look elsewhere. Apart from a final scene which gets brutal and is lovely in its grit and realism, Ghost is first and foremost a drama.
James opens with nine minutes of zero dialogue, just light but tension building music as we follow Ward on his release. It is these first nine-minutes that are the stand-out of the movie.
In the middle of this brave but very well-done opening, and the brutal ending, Ghost is slow, painfully so at times, and that this movie has been extended from a short is only to apparent.
The dialogue is scant and has that realism whereby people talk over each. Now, this is how people speak out in the wild, but it just feels clumsy and awkward when done on film, which is a shame.
As the movie progress, the tension does build, but those with short attention spans, or those more use to the wham-bam-thank-you-mam of Hollywood etc, may well have lost interest by the point things kick into gear.
James shows a good eye behind the camera (phone) for Ghost and the actors perform well, particularly when you factor in the lack of dialogue.
Ghost won’t be for everyone; there will be those who will applaud the shift of focus for an ex-con movie, those who applaud the filmmaking and others who just discount it as ‘boring’.