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A Ghost Story

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • A Ghost Story: visually striking but divisive; recommended with nuances.

    A Ghost Story Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • A Ghost Story's Blu-ray release offers a retro-inspired 1080p visual with intentional stylistic choices enhancing its dreamlike, somber mood through detailed yet softly presented imagery and a unique color palette.

  • Audio
  • A Ghost Story's DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio masterfully blends subtle dialogues, immersive ambient effects, and a moody score, creating a deeply atmospheric experience with sporadic, impactful jolts and elegant sound design.

  • Extra
  • Lionsgate's collection, with detailed commentary and features in 1080p, offers an insightful look into 'A Ghost Story,' including technical aspects, a ghostly roundtable, and an unfinished deleted scene.

  • Movie
  • A Ghost Story" blends melancholy with humor, exploring deep themes of love, loss, and time through the simple image of a ghost in a sheet; its minimalist style divides audiences.

    Video: 76

    A Ghost Story" is showcased on Blu-ray via Lionsgate Films and A24, featuring an AVC encoded 1080p transfer that preserves the film's original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. This aspect, along with its vintage rounded frame edges, reinforces the narrative's intimate confines. Paired with this retro framing is a nuanced approach to visual aesthetics, where the film's slightly desaturated, monochrome-like palette and soft-focused imagery contribute to its ethereal, dreamlike quality. Detail in close-up scenes, such as the intricacies of the ghost’s iconic bedsheet, is surprisingly sharp, allowing for an appreciation of texture and the subtle interplay of light and shadow, despite the overall gauzy impression and occasionally underwhelming contrast levels.

    The movie's visual presentation is understated yet effective, marked by a modest layer of digital grain thanks to its Arri Alexa shot source. This grain adds texture and a faint nod to a bygone era of filmmaking, fitting nicely within the nostalgic 1.33:1 framing. Despite a general softness in image clarity that limits the minutiae of finer details, this styling serves the mood well, supporting the narrative's somber and introspective themes. The color grading oscillates between cool and warm tones, effectively mirroring the emotional landscape of the film, with decent contrast despite some dark scenes tending towards muted blacks.

    Overall, this Blu-ray transfer maintains a careful balance between artistic intent and technical fidelity. Special effects and digital artifacts are minimal, ensuring that they do not distract from the viewing experience. The encode handles both the film's intentionally subdued visuals and its few bright, vivid scenes with competence, preserving the "delicately haunting cinematography" through a technically adept presentation. Though the image may occasionally seem too soft or dreamlike, these choices are clearly deliberate, enhancing the film's unique atmospheric qualities without compromising on visual integrity.

    Audio: 76

    A Ghost Story" is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that crafts a uniquely subtle yet immersive auditory experience, fascinatingly blending minimalistic sound design with Daniel Hart's emotionally resonant score. The film's deliberative pacing and long stretches of silence magnify the ambient sound, from the soft whispers of the wind to the eerier, ethereal alterations during pivotal moments, such as the ghost's eerie emergence. This intricacy is balanced with moments of sparse dialogue and potent, low-frequency bursts that punctuate the narrative's emotional peaks, offering a layered soundscape where every sonic element, no matter how subtle, contributes to the overarching atmosphere.

    Employing a less-is-more approach, the audio mix excels in creating a palpable sense of solitude and introspection. Directional audio cues are used masterfully, with sound moving fluidly between channels to give an extended dimension to the film's space—a technique that places viewers squarely within its hauntingly beautiful domain. The careful use of ambience—like gently clinking chimes or creaking doors—and specific sound design choices lend an immersive quality that enhances the visual story being told. Additionally, the fidelity and separation in the score and key music tracks such as "I Get Overwhelmed" by Dark Rooms evoke a strong emotional resonance, leveraging the Low-Frequency Effects (LFE) channel to deepen the impact where needed.

    Moreover, this subtle audio track underscores the film’s sparse dialogue and extended monologues effectively. Though whispers and conversations are occasionally soft, they never detract from the clarity and presence required to keep the audience engaged. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track manages the delicate balance between silence and sound, ensuring that even in its quietest moments, "A Ghost Story" maintains a captivating auditory atmosphere that complements its introspective narrative beautifully, demonstrating how strategic sound design can amplify storytelling without overwhelming it.

    Extra: 56

    Lionsgate's Blu-Ray extras for "A Ghost Story" provide an insightful and comprehensive look into the making of this unique film, featuring 1080p visuals and Dolby Digital 2.0 sound across all bonus features. The standout is the audio commentary with Director David Lowery, Cinematographer Andrew Droz Palermo, Production Designer Jade Healy, and Composer Daniel Hart, offering a deep dive into the film's creation, from the technical challenges of the 1.33:1 aspect ratio to the intricacies of sound design. "A Ghost Story and the Inevitable Passing of Time" presents a quirky roundtable-cum-ghost story swap that, despite its artsiness, reveals fascinating production details, including the ghost costume’s complex design. "A Composer's Story" provides a brief but enlightening look at Daniel Hart's process in crafting the film's evocative soundtrack. The included deleted scene, unpolished but poignant, gives a glimpse into a moment that might have further deepened the narrative's introspection.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary with Director David Lowery, Cinematographer Andrew Droz Palermo, Production Designer Jade Healy, and Composer Daniel Hart: An in-depth look into the collaborative effort behind the movie.
    • A Ghost Story and the Inevitable Passing of Time: A roundtable discussion with cast and crew on the story's origins and film's visuals.
    • A Composer's Story: Insight into Daniel Hart's creation of the film’s soundtrack.
    • Deleted Scene: An uncorrected scene showing Casey Affleck's character in a moment of reflection.

    Movie: 73

    A Ghost Story," directed by David Lowery, presents a unique cinematic exploration of love, loss, and the continuum of time, encapsulated by the haunting image of its protagonist, C (Casey Affleck), donned in a simplistic sheet ghost costume. Despite touching on familiar thematic elements of spectral persistence and the memento mori, the film distinguishes itself through a deliberate stylistic minimalism and an avoidance of conventional narrative structures in favor of an experiential, mood-driven storytelling approach. Utilizing long takes, static shots, and methodically slow pacing, Lowery crafts an atmospheric piece that requires viewers to immerse themselves fully into its introspective rhythm—a rhythm that is as much about the passage of time within the diegesis as it is about the experience of time in the act of viewing.

    The narrative, if one can call it that, centers around C and his wife M (Rooney Mara), focusing on the aftermath of C’s untimely death and his subsequent return to their shared home as a ghost. This premise allows the film to explore profound contemplations on memory, longing, and the essence of human connection across temporal bounds, all while employing a visual language that oscillates between the deeply intimate and the expansively cosmic. Interestingly, despite its potential for absurd comedy—underscored by the ghost’s visually simplistic representation—Lowery manages to maintain a tonal balance, veering away from unintended humor to preserve the film’s melancholic core.

    The Blu-ray presentation of "A Ghost Story" underscores this melancholic core while enhancing its ethereal aesthetic through high-definition clarity that accentuates its visual poetry. The minimalism of the mise-en-scène benefits greatly from this clarity, which allows each frame to communicate more effectively, deepening the emotional resonance of the narrative through its visual storytelling. As such, "A Ghost Story" emerges not just as a film but as an experience—a contemplative journey through grief, love, and timeless existential queries, anchored by innovative direction and compelling performances. While certainly not for all tastes, given its eschewal of mainstream pacing and plot-driven storytelling, those willing to embrace its distinctive rhythm might find themselves deeply moved by its unconventional beauty and haunting themes.

    Total: 68

    David Lowery's "A Ghost Story," as presented on Blu-ray, carves out a niche that might not cater to all, but definitely leaves an indelible mark on those it reaches. With its unique visual style, symbolized early on by the spectral rainbow, the film sets a distinct tone that teeters between profoundly poignant and inadvertently humorous. The choice to depict the ghost with a simplistic sheet, though initially jarring for some viewers, aims for a more visceral representation of loss and time's inexorable march. Nevertheless, the decision has a polarizing effect, distancing certain audience members with its incongruous blend of melancholy and unintended comedy. On the technical front, the Blu-ray delivers robust merits. The video and audio quality, though understated, intricately complement the film's ethereal narrative, providing an immersive sensory experience. This is further enriched by the supplementary material included, offering discerning insights into the film’s creative process.

    The technical excellence of the Blu-ray presentation augments the film’s quiet introspection. Viewers open to experimental cinema will find themselves wrapped in a lyrically haunting tale that navigates the complexities of love, loss, and eternal questions of existence. The disc's modest yet effective video and audio presentations serve to deepen the immersive feel of Lowery's concept, despite its narrative’s deliberate pace and unconventional storytelling choices. The breadth of themes explored, from the tangible manifestations of grief to the abstract perceptions of time and existence, promises a rich albeit niche viewing experience for those willing to engage with the film's artistic sensibilities.

    In conclusion, "A Ghost Story" on Blu-ray is a compelling package that transcends conventional cinema to deliver an evocative exploration of existential themes. Despite mixed reactions to its central visual metaphor and narrative execution, the film, supplemented by its well-crafted technical presentation and insightful bonus content, firmly stands as a recommended experience. It speaks volumes to viewers with an affinity for thought-provoking exercises in filmmaking, ultimately rewarding patient and open-minded engagement with its deeply woven tapestry of love, loss, and the essence of time itself.