After a brief foray into the world of commercial film making filming Disney’s remake of Pete’s Dragon, David Lowery returns to his style of possessing a strong meditative indie vibe like Terence Malik. He attracted attention with the film Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, in which the main roles were played by Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara. His latest project A Ghost Story brings an unusual and unique story, and the aforementioned actors also take part in this film.
Simply put, this is a story about a ghost who looks like a man in a cheap costume for Halloween. We meet a couple we know only by the letters C (Aflek) and M (Mara). They live together, but M insists on moving out of that house, even though C doesn’t want to. He dies in a car accident a few meters from the house, she goes to identify the body and after that the spirit gets up. The ghost wanders through the hospital, refuses to go through the mysterious door and instead chooses a long walk to the house. There he observes how M continues with his life, and after that how life continues in the house, in which there is no memory of the two of them…
The spirit in this film is not just an effect that shows an invisible presence. Covered with a sheet and with cut cutouts for the eyes, our spirit is free of every person, more precisely of everything that can be classified as human. Its shape is deformed by the cover, and one gets the impression that it does not have the ability of most emotions. Most of the time, the spirit rests and watches as it turns its head towards the person who is the center of its attention. As he moves, his movements are calm, as if he were sliding, and he also doesn’t have the power to speak, because certainly no one could even hear him. Even when he gets the opportunity to communicate with someone, that communication is without words.
It is this conversation between the two spirits that is a striking depiction of an existentially terrifying vision of life after death, in which the primary goal is to forget and be forgotten. In addition, the author deals with the notion of time – how life is spent and how it passes quickly, without too much attention to its transience. Without looking at the clock, there are rare moments when we feel time passing by us. That’s why we watch a five-minute scene in which M sits on the floor and eats a pie – it’s not enough to know that time passes without our control, we need to feel it.
And Ghost Story is a simple film in most segments, which is entirely in the service of the author’s intention. If he was richer, then they would pay attention to special effects, rules of what spirit we are or are not, and the like. This is how we got the most basic in terms of story, effects, costumes and rules, in favor of ideas related to existence, loneliness, memories, losses, cruelty of time and the fact that everything has an end. The ghost attends a party in the house where the philosopher expresses his nihilistic views and in that way thematically completes the film, which has a lot of melancholy and a general feeling of being trapped in a claustrophobic existence.