The Subterranean: ‘A Ghost Story’ encourages you to think

A review of A Ghost Story

**** out of five stars

Currently available on video

by Walter G. Tarrow

WARNING! This film features no comic book superheroes.  There are no epic battles.  No one blowed up real good.  No one gets super drunk and does wildly funny things.  And no cartoon characters.

A Zen Haunting

A contemplative existential ghost story. It’s all about mood. And despite its deliberate slowness, it doesn’t drag. If you can just sit still, just meditate, just allow for the moments to come, to go, to hang, to leave. If you can be in the now, this will work for you. If you can’t, then go see Thor.

This movie is all about thoughts. Just like meditation, the thoughts come to the surface with the sheeted ghost silently watching, watching unseen, as life goes on by itself untouched by the thought, untouched by the ghost. It also turns out that the ghost, apparently all ghosts, experiences, not linear, but circular time. Something like the aliens in Arrival.

Though this movie is an unconventional tale of haunting, some standard ghost tropes are displayed from moving through walls, poltergeist activity, the white light, passing on. However, they are done in an almost revelatory way.  That this movie is showing us the truth about ghosts.

One question.  Is that really Casey Affleck under the sheet?
After this and Manchester By the Sea, I fear that Casey is in danger of being type cast in films about grief.
Rooney Mara is powerful in her agonizingly quiet role.  And her pie eating should remain always the gold standard of pie eating.

I thought about this film’s audience. This is a film that will divide. It will not have wide mainstream mass appeal. It will be seen as boring, painfully slow, pretentious and a waste of time to the no-longer-silent majority. It will be attacked as a product of the leftist liberal Hollywood elite. And that’s a shame because all it wants to do is encourage you to think.

So, please, at least think about seeing this movie.

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