DATELINE: Haunted and Haunting
One of the most original and singular movies we have seen in recent years is A Ghost Story.
Using the trite metaphor of a ghost in a white sheet, the main character gives his perspective as a ghost over time in the cosmos. He’s a ghost because he is tethered to the spot where he must haunt.
Along for the ride are Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara as a married couple who live in the haunted ranch until tragedy splits them.
If you ever wondered whether a great performance could come from a white sheet with a couple of slits for black eye holes, you will have your answer in this film. The main ghost haunts you in ways you never expected: which means you can forget about the usual scare tactics. This is a serious commentary on death and the lingering presence of the departed among us.
The film is short and compelling as the ghost suffers mostly from being unable to affect human affairs of the living—and how time passes without any discernable force.
There is some heartbreak in what the ghost must endure for eternity—as well as the people who invade his space, driving him to try to scare them away.
Eerie, lyrical, melancholy, the film by David Lowery likely will “bore” your typical boorish audience who will want the usual chills and clichés associated with haunted house movies. You will not find those here.
Instead, you have a masterful, touching look at the agony of Death, faceless and ignored by most people around him.
If we could put this movie on a scale, it rises to one of the most powerful and affecting works of film art we have seen in a few years. We do not make such statements rashly. Such movie events are rare and deserve your full attention.