A Ghost Story ★★½

I like this film as a concept; in terms of execution not so much. This is the kind of film where the director's hand is impossible to ignore, and that often gets in the way of the viewer's integration with the story.

There are so many decisions that are gratuitous and self-indulgent, the sorts of things that probably make a director feel smart and cutting-edge but which detract from the actual presentation of the narrative. I especially noticed this in the many moments when shots were held for what felt like an eternity, up to the point where the viewer is essentially just waiting for the story to continue. Past a certain point it's not cutting-edge, it's functionally equivalent to "BUFFERING."

The decision to depict the ghost as a Halloween bedsheet ghost was a daring one. It easily could have ended up looking silly, and unfortunately, sometimes it does. Most of the time it worked fine for me, and occasionally it allowed for some interesting details (such as the increasing amount of grime on the sheet as the film goes on), but at times it did start to feel a little corny.

The photography was fine. Acting generally strong. I suppose in the end it's fairly typical of the high-profile American auteur film, an interesting concept with high production values that gets undone by its own pretensions.

Final note, check out Richard McGuire's graphic novel Here, which does some of the same things only with more subtlety.

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