It stands to reason that things will happen in a film: conflict, resolution, love, loss, etc. Apparently, however, this doesn't apply to writer/director David Lowery (Pete's Dragon) when it comes to his new film, A Ghost Story. Attempting to be the tale of a man who dies and then hangs around as a ghost—in an under-a-sheet kinda way—for basically the rest of eternity, what we're given instead are drawn-out scenes of utter silence, some baffling storytelling choices and 90-ish solid minutes of your brain screaming for something to happen.
Casey Affleck is C, a homey musician-type on the verge of moving from a house he loves with his wife M (Rooney Mara). They've got problems, but we never get into that before C dies in a car wreck right outside their home. M is left to grieve and eat entire pies by herself for some reason while C either stands or sits there, lurking, unable to do much of anything other than knock a few frames around and make lightbulbs get really bright.
One could assume A Ghost Story is meant to be a rumination on the dimensionless power of love or an examination of the metaphysical, but mostly we get the feeling that C is a little obsessed and wonder why he won't just move on already. This includes the millennia that pass before his cut-out eyes, and we'll give Lowery credit for somehow making the idea of time being an infinite loop (see True Detective season 1 for more on that) as boring as he has, but other than an enjoyably surprising appearance from Will Oldham (Bonnie "Prince" Billy himself) as the certifiably bleak Prognosticator, it's hard to swallow the main events of the film: long shots with nothing happening and the slow yet steady realizations that nothing we do matters, we're all going to die and when we do, we'll have to come to terms with having chosen to sit through A Ghost Story.
+ Beautifully shot, interesting music
- So much silence, we now feel empty
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A Ghost Story
Directed by Lowery
With Affleck, Mara and Oldham
Violet Crown, R, 92 min.