A meditation on what remains after sudden and unexpected tragedy. I was haunted by the idea of this lingering memory watching over the life you once thought you’d share. David Lowery often uses long shots that force the viewer to dwell on any potential parallels to their own life, and this is his best project to date. Even the 1.33:1 aspect ratio evokes a sense of being boxed in by physical space. Bravo.
On paper, this is the kind of film that If I proposed it as my final project as a film major, everybody would burst out laughing. So kudos to Lowery for 1) having the guts to make this, 2) making it anything but ridiculous, and 3) instead turning this weird concept to a film which might possibly become my favorite film of the year.
Movies may be the closest thing to ghosts that exist, and some of the most ghostly FX predate not only digital cinema, but talkies. So credit David Lowery for an analog spirit. Its philosophical insight is on par with the post-grad cosmic rap a character gives at a shindig—i.e., it's dinner party conversation. But the emotions work, with passages of slip-sliding time that mean as much for the living as the dead.
You see, in the first world it doesn't really matter that much if there's a lot of nonsense. In the third world it's a different matter, they really need serious intellectuals, and if they were to rant over-inflated postmodern absurdities like in Western Europe, USA and Japan then they would be gone. Movies like this exist only in places where MEANING can be overwritten by coffee breaks. People are bored, we get it.
Bonnie Prince Billy (Will Oldham) as the prognosticator just about stole the whole movie. I have a soft spot for film concepts like this and Lowery uses the extended metaphor with a stylistic grace reminiscent of the deliberate patience of Malick and 'slow cinema'. It leaves so many haunting enigmas on the questionable spirituality of existence.
As a purely audio-visual experience A GHOST STORY is pretty much beyond reproach, however, upon close inspection, and though it touches on weighty subject matter, it reveals itself as something facile; it is a hollow schematic, and the conceptual eddy it gets trapped in at the end exacerbates the problem. I will concede that I have certainly never seen this movie before, and that ain't no small thang.
One of the year's best. Contemplative and engrossing film that one will keep reflecting on long after watched. The passing of time and the futility of existence are weighed against the precious moments that make us human and connect us to something bigger than ourselves. Lowery's script might seem a simple conceit but its the undertone and muted emotion that makes this shine.
Even if you're like me, and don't fully understand all the sweeping existentialism behind A Ghost Story's premise, you feel it and that's what really counts. Largely silent but not bereft of the details embedded in mundane life, David Lowery's moving new film haunts deeper than any ghost story of recent time because, if you're not careful, even vulnerable, you might emerge more introspective and aware of yourself.