I had a productive weekend and took in two films. They were both entertaining and they were both empty. I’m not sure how a film can be both entertaining and empty but it happened twice in one weekend. My thanks to dbmoviesblog and moviebabblereviews for first drawing my attention to these films. First up: A Ghost Story.
While I was watching A Ghost Story I was having a good time. I was entertained. I believe this was due to anticipation of the future, as in, I thought the film would resolve itself satisfactorily. Actually, without spoiling the ending, the last scene was satisfying in a very sublime way. But the overall feeling was one of void (no relation to our next subject). I had to force myself to care about the few characters we had and their love for each other. It was on the screen, but in what felt like a very superficial way. In addition to having almost no characters of consequence save the main event, we had next to no dialog save for a few scenes at the beginning that failed for me to establish any significance of the characters. (I did laugh out loud at some of the subtitled dialog between the sheets.) There was one long monologue so tortured and pretentious it made me want to slay the actor delivering it and the writer who wrote it just to prove to them (the writer at least) how wrongheaded the idea was. Considering its weight in the film I couldn’t help think this was the message the writer wanted us to take home, but shame on anyone who would spit on someone’s grave with such smallminded tripe dressed as bigminded philosophy. But then again, maybe they wanted us to reject it. I certainly did.
Now, I’m being a little harsh on A Ghost Story, whereas in truth I did like it. It had a rawness to it at times, and at other times a surreal quality. Some scenes featured no movement and might as well have been paintings. But then some movement. As the poster tagline above reminds us, It’s All About Time. This makes sense after you’ve seen the film, not so much maybe before. So, in summary, I liked the slow, meditative quality of the film, and the metaphysical feeling it evoked for me. On the downside, whereas I have amassed a large collection of what can only be called depressing music, this film is one of the few films I’ve seen that I can honestly say should be catagorized as depressing. Not sad, in a tear jerker way. Not hopeless. Depressing.
Much of the same faults of A Ghost Story can be said of The Void. I had a great time while it was playing, but almost immediately afterwards felt that the whole thing was pointless. (Guess that fits in with a void…)
I did not feel that I ever got to know, or therefor care, about any of the characters. A story with no characters is not a story. It’s just a sequence of events. Reading up on the film, apparently there was a great influence by H.P. Lovecraft. I will just read his stories rather than searching in this film for any meaning. While I was watching it I kept thinking Alien meets The Thing meets Rosemary’s Baby. Except I was engaged watching those films with the characters and their fate. Here, not so much. I was interested in how the whole thing turned out, except when it happened it was so detached from everything else in the film that it failed to offer any satisfaction for me at all. I want to ask: who the hell were those cult folks, but then I’m thinking: who the hell was anybody in this film? Oh well. It was fun to watch anyway. Just don’t get your hopes up for any real satisfaction afterwards.