Edinburgh Cinema

Edinburgh’s cinemas have their own, different feel. When I visit them, I’ll be writing about both the film and the place, giving you the organic experience. Film critics on the big scale can’t really cater for this, so I hope my reviews bring something extra in this respect.

A Ghost Story

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A Ghost Story 19.08.17

It's a meditation on death and what happens after, as the trailer suggests. The reviews too have come to this conclusion and I agree, David Lowery's A Ghost Story expresses something of what death means to us, the awful emptiness of it, if you really think about it without the gloss of religion.

Because the emotion I felt throughout A Ghost Story was loneliness, and even some irrelevance, concerning death. Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara strike a handsome, disconnected couple, Mara wishing to move somewhere else. Their minimal dialogue is in fragments, the most poignant passage Affleck's song sung to a ghostly, stop-start fading melody. He is a musician, lost at times in his work. She broods but we see little of her beyond postures and the suggestion of boredom.

Affleck's character without warning dies. He awakens in a morgue and returns home, a ghost under a sheet. He is doomed to exist in a loop at this single location, impassively watching tenants come and go. He cuts a wretched figure.

At one point, in a party, a bloke reflects on existence and how people endure while yearning to be remembered. He concludes with a melancholic confidence that whatever legacy we strive for will evaporate eventually, if only in a billion year or so when the Sun swallows up the Earth.

I can see I'm explaining the plot more than shining any light, but the plot of this movie is also the observation. We live, we die, we are forgotten, and even if we linger as ghosts, eventually that aspect of us too will disappear. It's hardly inspiring stuff, but may reflect what many of us silently suspect, the thought of our oblivion when it's over, of life continuing without us and we are nothing.

Was I underwhelmed with this message? I did not cry like I'd thought I might when I decided to watch this film. In the darkness of the screening room, I too felt impassive, like the ghost, to the film and also to my own fate in life. You will find little profundity in A Ghost Story beyond this bleak mirror, but in turn it may be a sign of honesty on the director's part: of how death is a simple, non-event to the one who gets it, and is there anything to reflect on beyond this sad but empty feeling? I wish I had something better to say, for the reader and for myself; some films fill me with the joy of life. This isn't one of them, but given the subject, perhaps that's the movie's quality.
Logan Lucky (29.08.17)
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
 

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