So I surprised myself when I went digging into my bag 3/4s of the way through David Lowery's new film A Ghost Story - which stars Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara as a couple who wander into the afterlife - to jot down a couple of words, but they got so to the core of what the movie was doing to me that I didn't want to forget them. This is a lot of build-up for what amounts to the Hollywood sales-pitch for the film, but what I wrote down was, "Lost Terrence Malick episode of The Twilight Zone."
That might sound snide or reductionist but one, who wouldn't want to watch the lost Terrence Malick episode of The Twilight Zone? I mean that's sounds amazing! And two, it's the truth, as I see it, and it's anything but those things. While I don't have the time for Malick anymore (I haven't seen one of his films since The Tree of Life grated my nerves into mush) I appreciate the "Heavenly Choir" aspect of his film-making - the search for transcendence through his marriage of sound and image - and what A Ghost Story gets right (well one of the things it gets right, because A Ghost Story gets a whole lot very right indeed) is in its marrying of a spiritual grandiosity - Life and Everything After - with an inherently goofy science-fiction parable.
It just aches with loss. There are these edits that allow for the immediate unyielding passage of time, that show the world disappearing in the blink of an eye, that moved me more than anything Malick's gotten at at in his similarly themed meditations on the same subjects, and it's because Lowery gives us a fixed point - a ridiculous ship in the middle of a ridiculous storm. A man in a sheet. And if that's not aimed straight at the heart of what living is then I haven't learned a goddamned thing in my forty years spent spinning on this planet.
If you're in NYC you should hit up A GHOST STORE at 51 Chrystie Street for your Ghost Portrait! It's transcendently delicious! #AGhostStory pic.twitter.com/DQCja7eHpQ— Jason Adams (@JAMNPP) June 24, 2017