Blu-ray Review: A Ghost Story (2017) Lionsgate Films / 2017 / 92 min / Rated R / Oct 03, 2017

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A minimalistic story of love, loss, and our need to endure, A Ghost Story stars Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) and Rooney Mara (Carol) as a young couple, known only by the initials “C” and “M,” very much in love, but working through a rough patch in their marriage. During this time, When C is unexpectedly killed in a car accident (literally at the entrance to the couple’s driveway). At the morgue, C rises again, clad in a white sheet covering his entire frame with the exception of two crude eye holes. He quickly goes back to his home, and his wife, M.

The less you know about A Ghost Story going in, the better. That said, in truth, there’s not a whole lot of a plot to spoil. Most of A Ghost Story’s narrative is a bleak kind of voyeurism–C standing in the corner clad in a sheet, as his wife copes with her grief and tries to rebuild her life. Even after M decides to move away from their house, C remains, haunting the new families that move in, unable to just let go…

The fourth film for director David Lowery, A Ghost Story reunites him with Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, who starred in his acclaimed second feature Ain’t Them Bodies Saints released in 2013. Like Saints, Lowery employs a slow, almost painful pacing. Everything almost seems as if it’s moving in slow motion. This is one of those films that could easily be seen as a gimmick, but Lowery keeps things grounded in a reality that is hard to ignore. There are minimal flashbacks, but there’s one key moment–M listening to a new composition by her husband–that brings a whole new dimension to the emotional story.

Rooney Mara is in top form here. Her grief is obvious, yet low key. The camera captures her face in various close-ups, signs of grief in her eyes, pain in her facial movements. There’s one devastating four-minute shot where she eats an entire chocolate pie, wanting something, anything to take away the agony of her grief. Powerful stuff.

Presented in the odd framing choice of 1.33:1, it’s made even less conventional given the use of rounded corners around the image. That aside, this 1080p transfer is quite satisfactory. Sharpness is quite good, with only a few soft spots throughout. Most of the film has a nice level of clarity, and accuracy. Print flaws aren’t an issue. Colors are adequate throughout, providing the vivid appearance you would expect from a new title. Blacks are dialed in appropriately, and shadows looked fine.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack isn’t particularly ambitious, but does the job. Given the long stretches without dialogue, the music by Daniel Hart is used to great effect here, emphasizing the emotional rollercoaster of C, and M. Overall, audio quality satisfies, creating the necessary atmosphere, clean, concise, dialogue, and minimal punch on the rare occasion it’s called for.

English SDH, and Spanish subtitles are included.

The following extras are available:

  • Audio Commentary with Director David Lowery, Cinematographer Andrew Droz Palermo, Production Designer Jade Healey, and Composer Daniel Hart: All four sit together for this running, screen-specific commentary that covers the cast, production details, script, and more.
  • A Ghost Story and the Inevitable Passing of Time (HD, 30:20) Various cast, and crew discuss the development of the project, casting, costumes, production, etc. while some information from the commentary is repeated, there is a lot here for fans of the film.
  • A Composer’s Story (HD, 4:37) A brief interview with composer Daniel Hart about his music.
  • Deleted Scene (HD, 5:56) Comes with a disclaimer that it hasn’t been color corrected or had its sound mixed.
  • UltraViolet.

Movie title: A Ghost Story (2017)

Director(s): David Lowery

Actor(s): Sonia Acevedo , Casey Affleck , Grover Coulson , Liz Franke , Brea Grant , Barlow Jacobs

Genre: Drama, Romance, Fantasy

  • Movie
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
3.5

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