The Movie: 7/10
I’m not sure if filmmakers like to hear this phrase, but it applies to this movie for me, “I wasn’t sure if I liked it but the more I think about it the better it gets.” It’s just one of those films that throws a lot of reactions at me, and for that, I appreciate it more and more. As I watched it I had a few eye rolling moments. The style and choices of the director made it seem kind of up its own ass at times. By that I mean it has some pretentious film making tricks here and there. The loooooooooooong scenes of particular moments of life don’t feel genuine or a good use of story telling time. I get it, long drawn out moments of watching characters do certain things quietly or deeply emotionally can be very moving and have impact, but sometimes it’s more like the director thought it looked cool and left it in for no other reason. I’m sure that’s not true, but it felt that way while watching the movie. After seeing the whole movie and absorbing the bigger ideas and themes I can think back about those scenes and they melt away becoming less important. That’s the problem though, if they are ultimately unimportant to the story, why put them in there? Good question, but then I think some more, my favorite thing about this movie…thinking….the idea of that moment being unimportant in the big scheme of things fits right in. So, now I need to reflect even more on those scenes and see if they get better with more consideration.
The cast does what is expected. It’s a brooding kind of story and everyone is either sad, introspective, quiet, maudlin, or emotionally distant but on the verge of a breakdown of some kind. I like these kinds of characters, and yet there is something missing for me in most scenes. I’m not a highly emotional person, or not really the broken-hearted type, so characters who feel dragged down by their own pity parties don’t always connect with me, and that happens in A Ghost Story. I get it, something very sad has happened and it sucks for our leading female character, and for our leading male ghost character too, of course. The thing is, I don’t linger much on silent suffering so any character who feels like they are wallowing draws me out of their plight somewhat. I do understand the concept of long drawn out emotional distress and having sadness drag you down, of course, but it feels forced when it seems it’s only used for effect and not to further a character’s story. Then again, looking back at the whole movie and the whole message, it makes more sense that the seemingly overly emotional reactions fit into the bigger message of the movie. The futility of everything mixed with how important we think we all are.
I’m still thinking about this movie, and that’s what I do like about it. I can let the filmy stuff go, the erroneous indulgent scenes do matter less as I consider the plight of our ghosts. In the context of this story they see it all, time, as it passes. The eons go by and by and yet they are bound by some remnant of human emotion to remain sad or angry through it all, which makes them more interesting than they might have been in their lives. Oh, and don’t forget, it’s a guy in a sheet as the ghost, and surprisingly it’s not funny at all. Trust me on this. You might grin once at the beginning but then it’s creepy and sad and it leaves a vacant spot in your heart whenever you see him in the frame, ever watching, ever silent.
Overall I now am enjoying the movie more and more as I replay it in my head. It’s not the type I would watch again, but I will revisit the ideas over and over, which is the nice thing to be left with after watching any movie.
- Audio Commentary With Director, Cinematographer and crew
- A Ghost Story & The Inevitable Passing Of Time (30 Minutes) – Cast and crew sit down in an old haunted building to do this interview in the pitch dark. Casey Affleck looks like he nods off at one point.
- A Composer’s Story (5 Minutes) – Focused on composer Daniel Hart.
- Deleted Scene (6 Minutes) – A scene that would have really changed the movie, wait until the end for the big twist.
- UV Digital Copy
Cover Art: 5/10
OK, I know, it’s a guy with a sheet over his head and it would be very easy to think this is a spoof movie, but it’s not. I’m not sure if I like it or not, and that doesn’t happen for me much. I am pretty polarized with covers but this one is right in the middle. I like the image, but it that’s all there is. It conjures up that classic ‘kid in a sheet for Halloween’ vibe, but the question mark about what that says about this movie is where I get lost. If I think about it more and change my mind I’ll let you know.
Audio & Video: 8/10
A Ghost Story is presented in old school 1.33:1 aspect ratio with rounded corners, I love this look it reminds me of the old projector at school during German class. The actual 1080P transfer is very lifelike and very dreamy with lots of intentional blurry and underexposed shots. Detail is nice with every crease in the ghosts sheet showing up cleanly. Facial detail is great on close-ups and black levels are nearly always inky.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track has very little dialog so centrally the movie is quite dead feeling. Surround is used to create a creepy atmosphere but most of the soundtrack here is the amazing musical score which really does hit emotionally. A Ghost Story won’t be to everyone’s tastes but if you see it I assure you, you won’t forget it.
Overall Score 7/10