It’s a shame that Indie movies are so underutilized in chain theaters, and the only places you can get to watch movies like this is at random theaters out in the city. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think “A Ghost Story” is a movie that everyone should rush to see, but it is unfortunate that if someone did want to see it, they would have to go out of their way to do so.
So I saw A Ghost Story tonight, and it was really good. There’s a handful of people I’ve seen that have said that this is a masterpiece, and I sharply disagree with that. The movie has a very large handful of irritations, all of which I’m going to address, but I believe that its benefits outweigh its flaws.
If you have never heard of A Ghost Story, here’s a summary in 20 words or less:
It’s about death…. kind of.
Essentially, we stumble into a very thinly developed relationship between Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara which is cut short once Affleck’s character dies. What follows is a very interesting and somewhat deep exploration into after-death.
The way this story is told is rather unique and haunting. This is undoubtedly an experience I have never had from any other film whatsoever. The longer the film goes on, the longer the depths of hopelessness, despair, and timelessness seem to creep into this story. This being paired with the mostly intentional, artistic cinematography really pulls the whole thing together.
Pretty much everybody acted well with the roles they’re given, but that might be because nobody was given much. This film has almost no dialogue in it. In exchange, the story is told almost completely visually. This decision makes for some amazing scenes in the movie as well as some not-so-great ones.
My biggest complaint about this movie can really be summed up in one sentence: there is a crap ton of filler.
This is probably the first time I have ever been irritated by a “long shot” in a movie. Typically, when directors effectively use a long, uncut shot for a film, it’s to either boast extremely intricate choreography (like La La Land or The Revenant), to demonstrate a wide range of emotions or information in one fell swoop (like Birdman), or to engross you into a great scene (like Get Out or Baby Driver).
As for this movie, there are so many shots that are extended to such an insanely long degree, and there is little to no reason for why. Yes, there were times where they did a long shot effectively where it really complimented the eery tone of the film, but there were moments where the scene is stretched out for so long for little to no reason.
Quite honestly, the first fifteen minutes really made me worry for this movie, because I was so bored and uninvested in what was going on.
Still other moments in this movie felt like they were purposeless. I honestly have no idea what that Pilgrim scene was about… and that one monologue with that drunk bald guy seemed to be in the movie to feel deep and intellectual… but I have heard of driveling nonsense that sounds just like that from drunk friends before, so the charm of the scene illudes me.
Also, the ending of the movie was somewhat anticlimactic, but I’m not really faulting the movie for that.
This film made for a good movie; it would have made for an amazing short film that lasted maybe 30-35 minutes. If it cut all the filler out and that one bald guy with the verbal diarrhea, then I probably would be on the “A Ghost Story is a masterpiece” train. That being said, it’s not a bad movie, and it honestly has some great visual story telling that makes for a unique film.
If you’re an indie movie kind of person, or if you like films that are different, I would highly recommend this movie. Otherwise, I wouldn’t rush out to see it. I honestly cannot decide whether or not this film deserves a six or a seven… so perhaps I’ll see it again if luck favors me, but considering how unique this movie is, I’ll go ahead and round up.
7 out of 10.