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A GHOST STORY

SYNOPSIS: Recently deceased C (Casey Affleck) returns to his suburban home as a white sheeted ghost to try and reconnect with his grieving wife, M (Rooney Mara).

Review by Louise Keller:
An interesting, if obtuse exploration of existentialism, David Lowery's A Ghost Story glowers in the face of reality as it transcends time and place. It's a film that is sure to divide audiences: some may marvel at the aesthetic notions while others may dismiss it as bunkum, weird stuff. While I lean towards the latter, there are some curious and thought-provoking ideas at play: namely Lowery's concept of contemplating echoes from the past and the effect they have.

It could be said that the film plays out in slow motion - many scenes rely on action off screen, while the onscreen image is motionless. Many scenes look as though they are shrouded in mist. I was open to Lowery's ideas and appreciated some of the execution but overall, I was bored at the tedium of what seemed to be an overblown concept stretched to its limits.

The film also marks the reuniting of Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, who teamed up under Lowery's direction in Ain't Them Bodies Saints (2013). Here, they play a couple in a jigsaw of fragmented sequences and scenes, until Mara's M is left alone and Affleck's C transforms into a ghost wearing symmetrically pleated sheet with neatly cut eyeholes.

It is clear from the outset that no one is able to see the ghostly figure, that initially stands in the home where he and his wife lived. There is a lengthy, unedited sequence in which the ghost stands and watches while his distraught wife sits on the kitchen floor and eats a pie. The camera focuses on her; we hear the sound of the fork on the base of the pie dish as she consumes mouthful after mouthful of pie, the sound of children playing in the background. The monotony of the scene stretches the patience. Then things get weirder as the ghost communicates (in subtitles) with another ghost in the house next door. Hello; hi; what are you doing? Hmmnn.

Time is transient and we are asked to take a leap of faith as Lowery takes us into another thought process. Other characters weave in and out of the exposition - namely a Spanish family, a pretentious philosopher and a 19th century stagecoach family. The circular aspect of the screenplay comes into effect to tie the various story strands together, although many will be left scratching their heads and wondering where those 90 minutes were lost.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

A GHOST STORY (M)
(US, 2017)

CAST: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, McColm Caphas, Kenneisha Thompson, Grover Coulson, Liz Franke, Barlow Jacobs

PRODUCER: Adam Donaghey, Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston

DIRECTOR: David Lowery

SCRIPT: David Lowery

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Andrew Droz Palermo

EDITOR: David Lowery

MUSIC: Daniel Hart

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jade Healy, Tom Walker

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Madman

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 13, 2017







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