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Film Review: A Ghost Story

23 August 17 words: Daniel Turner

Ain't Them Bodies Saints Director David Lowery reunites with Casey Affleck in a tale of loss and love...

A Ghost Story is the fourth feature film from American filmmaker David Lowery, which reunites him with the cast of his 2013 film Ain't Them Bodies Saints.

A Ghost Story is a tremendously difficult film to write a short review about, not because it lacks depth, emotion or quality, but because it’s difficult to find words that can discernibly do justice to everything that this 92-minute film encompasses.

An ethereal and pensive film that loops and crosses through time as Casey Affleck’s ghost wanders through the rooms of his home.  It manages to be both emotional and intellectual in its exploration of life through the gaze of an individual but also excels as a wider exploration of time.

We watch life pass, we observe. like Casey Affleck does, as the woman he loves cries for him and he tries to reach out a hand to comfort her.  We watch as some scenes linger on the sadness and joy of the characters and, in other moments, years and decades pass by in the turn of a head or the walk between rooms.  It is in these contrasts between long takes played out in real time and the large time jumps that Lowery manages to create a unique and truly effective rhythm that elevates the film.

It is in the exploration of memory and of our relationship with time, both as individuals and collectively where cinema often reaches its greatest heights. The way in which cinema is created by the stitching together of small fragments of captured time, the manipulation and sculpting of time, often means that it lends itself to these explorations naturally.  Lowery follows in the footsteps of many great filmmakers past to evoke and capture the passing of time, as well as exploring the emotional responses it can provoke.

A Ghost Story captures those feelings that we relate to the passing of time and to memory, those feelings and thoughts we struggle to express.

It masterfully shows both the futility of our longing, of our striving and of our refusal to let go of both our personal and collective pasts.  At the same time it reminds us of the great power those thoughts, emotions and actions have and everything we lose when they are destroyed or allowed to disappear; how much of life and human existence can be encapsulated in the emotions we feel just wandering through the rooms of our home, or in watching sunlight flicker through a window or even in just sitting and listening to a song.

A Ghost Story captures those feelings that we relate to the passing of time and to memory, those feelings and thoughts we struggle to express.  It does so like no other art form can, which in turn makes this review largely superfluous because it can't do justice to the content of the film or the subject it is trying to explore.  All I can do is urge you to go to the cinema and see this film while you can as it is more than worth your money and time.

A Ghost Story is currently showing at Broadway Cinema until 24 August 2017


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