Review - A Ghost Story (2017)
In David Lowery’s 4th film, A Ghost Story, you get the feeling of a true visionary giving himself a restraint in the form of a $100,000 budget and in doing that actually releases an inner vision that could only come from a creative mind such as David Lowery’s. Following the flop of his last film that he did for Disney, Pete’s Dragon, Lowery got a hold of Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara to lead this somber and beautiful look at death, time and memories. The film is as stunning visually as it is heartbreaking in watching what it means to be alive. Every shot of the film feels hollowed out but still lingering with life within it. This may very well end up being one of the most beautiful films of the year.
With only two main characters in the story, it’s very easy to find holes in the movie that are filled with awkward silence - especially when the main ghost of the movie is killed off relatively soon. Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara play a couple that are about to move to a new home. Some strange stuff starts happening - but before any of that can even be kind of looked at, Casey’s character dies in an automobile accident. When at the hospital, he rises but he’s stuck under the bed sheet he was identified under. After that moment, Affleck wonders around seemingly looking for an answer. What a ghost is looking for, however, might be one of the biggest questions that the movie might not completely answer. The film never strays too far away from a stoic sense of wonder that the characters weave throughout the film. The acting is nothing short of power house performances by Mara and Affleck, who display pain the numbness that comes with dealing with grief and moving on from it all.
David Lowery made a beautiful directorial decision in having the movie be shot in an aspect ratio of 1.33.1. He chose this, because in his own words, “It’s about someone basically trapped in a box for eternity, and I felt the claustrophobia of that situation could be amplified by the boxiness of the aspect ratio.” Watching the movie in this format is an wonder to revel in. The film has a gorgeous color palette as well as a polaroid look to each shot of the film. The film looks like a long lost memory that you might have found in an old shoe box full of people that you might not have completely known.
A Ghost Story does everything it was intending on doing with much less money than most movies have to work with. This film won’t win any major awards but it will be one of the best movies of 2017. I will say that this film certainly isn’t for everyone. It’s not for the casual movie watcher but more for the existential film follower. This is definitely a turning point for Lowery as long as he stays the course and doesn’t try anything that is less ambitious than this. This film is everything that is beautiful about loving and memories and even shines a light on why death and grief can be seen in a less scary way than the typical ghost flick would depict it as. The mystery of life lives on through this movie and it’s themes. Keep us guessing on what your telling us David Lowery, you’re doing a great job of keeping us guessing on what you’re saying.
Rating: 9 bed sheets out of 10