Slow but impacting
- A Ghost Story review by DB
A very slow, thoughtful but ultimately moving film. By the end both myself and my wife had tears in our eyes and sat in silence for a moment as the credits rolled. It is very, very slow and is hard to recommend on anything other than it is incredibly moving and impacting. Don't expect action, plot twists, scares or any of that sort of stuff. Whilst this is a Ghost Story it is not about bumps in the night. It is about loss and the passage of time. We enjoyed it very much.
6 out of 6 members found this review helpful.
- A Ghost Story review by JW
I found this film slow, tedious and monotonous, and I must say it's one of the worst films I've ever seen. The scene where Rooney Mara ate a pie for 10 minutes was the highlight! I watch a film to get entertained, not to send me to sleep! The "metaphysical undertones" were lost on me, and I had no empathy for any of the characters. I ordered it because Casey Affleck has been in a lot of films I have enjoyed, but I think he made a mistake with this one. Some reviews say it's a "love it or hate it" film, and as you will have guessed, I hated it!
6 out of 7 members found this review helpful.
- A Ghost Story review by Count Otto Black
Well, this one has certainly polarised the reviewers! Personally I agree with the "emperor's new clothes" viewpoint; there's almost nothing to this film, but the gaping void at its heart is hidden behind a smokescreen of pretension and deliberate obscurity. Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way first. According to this movie, when you die you become a small child's idea of a ghost, as in somebody draped in a sheet with eyeholes. And it's literally a sheet; the ghost next door, who presumably couldn't find a plain white one, is gaily decorated with pink flowers. Why? Because it's The Gimmick. An idea like this might be a sound basis for a ten-minute short made to pass a film school exam, but a cinematic feature? Not so much!
To stretch what little plot there is to feature length, almost everything that happens takes far, far too long. The ridiculously extended pie-eating sequence stands out (I hope for the actress's sake they got that in one take!), but throughout there are scenes where something time-consuming occurs for no good reason. Near the beginning, the leading lady drags a trunk from the house to the dustbin. It's very heavy so this takes her a long time. Since I knew her boyfriend was going to die (the clue's in the title) and you'd think he'd help the poor girl shift something she's only just strong enough to move, I assumed from the way the camera was dwelling on this as if it was hugely important that his body was in the trunk, which would provide a logical reason for him to haunt her. Nope. We never do find out what's in the trunk, because it doesn't matter in the slightest. She's just putting out the trash.
The whole film's like that. The almost completely passive ghost moves around slowly or stands perfectly still watching life continue without him. He can't speak, and although he does sometimes interact with solid objects, it happens so rarely and inconsistently that it comes across as though his poltergeist powers are triggered by hatred of Mexicans. I suspect that oddly out-of-character episode was included purely to allow them to make a deceptively action-packed trailer. Apart from this, hardly anything happens, and when it does it's often baffling. For example, suddenly the ghost can time-travel. Why? Search me! But it's incomprehensible so it must be Art.
The central character is faceless, voiceless, mostly powerless, often motionless, and for three-quarters of his screen-time totally unidentifiable as Casey Affleck, inevitably raising doubts in the viewer's mind as to whether it's really him because there's nothing remotely interesting happening on screen to distract us. At one point the late Mr. Affleck (or whoever that is under the sheet) watches paint dry, the only time I can remember seeing this literally happen in a movie. In fact, I'm not sure the word "movie" is strictly accurate, since it's more of a still life. Or possibly, given our hero's lack of metabolic processes, a still death? Whatever. As the old saying puts it, you're a long time dead. This film certainly conveys the tedium of being a mute intangible wisp with a bag on your head forever, but I don't think I really needed or wanted to know that. Frankly, if they'd left out the ghost entirely and simply shown the nameless guy's nameless girl gradually getting over his death, intercut with lengthy shots of his grave looking more and more neglected, it would have been equally meaningful and only slightly less entertaining.
6 out of 6 members found this review helpful.