Reviews of O Fantasma
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After watching the Portuguese film “O Fantasma,” I was left rather bothered. Visually and technically, it is a great film. There are a lot of great shots. The mood the film creates is maintained until the very end. However, the story or plot of the film is very unclear.
In a nutshell, the film is about loneliness, but more than that, isolation. A young garbage collector leads a quiet life, but as we discover more about him, he becomes less and less ordinary. He soon becomes obsessed with another young man who is on a swimming team and rides a motorcycle. As he tries to get closer to the man, maybe to get to know him, his actions become more egregious until he finally breaks, and his actions become very much those of a wild man.
That’s it. No more plot. You can see the film and try delve deeper and deeper into the psyche of the young man, and you can analyze every frame of the film. However, every other piece of information you gather will be assumed and intuited. The film will not provide you with more information.
If you want to try to get more details from the film, you have to be willing to sit through the one hour and a half running time (something I have no problem with), and be hopeful that you will pick up on something others may have missed.
Films that give you images, with no objective form of storytelling (very much like this film), can seem boring to the average individual. Thus, those of us who can be considered cultured enough to be able to watch this film without feeling as though we have been victims of a complete and total waste of time, may not be willing to admit that we did not ‘get’ the film.
Most of the running time of the film is spent in silence – aside from the diegetic sound, of course – no dialogue. But worse, no actions that push the story forward. Is it a sign of a great filmmaker that he or she can shoot a film with no clear story story and still have it be compelling for the audience? Or is it merely intellectual masturbation of putting mundane action after mundane action, creating a film that is at the same time about nothing and about something? Obviously, the story is not concrete. What we see happen on the screen is what happens. Nothing more. But is this enough? Can this film be considered successful?
Given this, I liked the film. I have added meaning to the film. I have assumed and intuited and I now have (what I think is) a complete look at the character and his actions. But somehow I still feel as though it could have achieved more had it forced itself to have a story, and not just allow images to try and share a mood and a story.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.