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Film Review: Ghost

Updated on September 6, 2016

Background

In 1990, Jerry Zucker released Ghost, starred Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Goldwyn, Rick Aviles, Vincent Schiavelli, Gail Boggs Armelia McQueen, Phil Leeds and Augie Blunt. Grossing $505.7 million at the box office, the film was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score, the BAFTA Awards for Best Original Screenplay, and the Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor - Musical or Comedy, Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy, Winning the Academy Awards for Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay, The BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress, and the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture

Synopsis

Sam Wheat is an executive living with his artist girlfriend in New York and though they’re in love, Sam has difficulty being able to say it. However, one night, Sam is mugged and killed but his unfinished business of not telling Molly that he loves her causes him to become a ghost.

Review

A very odd film, Ghost seems to have quite a bit of very unsettling things that come up throughout the film, one of which is the mood whiplash that comes from the quick genre shift early on which makes it so the film isn't sure what it's trying to be. The opening makes it look like it’s going to be a surreal film before starting on with the drama and romance between Sam and Molly. But when he’s killed it turns into a dramatic investigation centering around Sam’s death and him trying to figure everything out. However that shifts with horror elements coming in, but staying dramatic until Oda Mae Brown appears and the movie becomes a comedy. Eventually the film comes into its own and it becomes a sort of dark dramedy with comedic scenes with Brown and Sam continuing to investigate his death and protect Molly. The ending returns to horror with some action and a tragic ending. It seems the film really wanted to be the dark dramedy at heart, but wasn’t sure how to begin or end. And the resulting effect seems to be a film that’s mostly forgotten except for the one scene everybody remembers that occurs before Sam even dies.

When it comes to the horror elements that make up the film, it really goes off into unsettling and disturbing territory, especially when it comes to the souls that are dragged to hell. The dark figures that do the dragging make creepy moans that barely resemble human voices expressing some mix between pain and anger. But there’s also the ghost found in the subway, where what happened to him is more frightening than the character himself. He wanders aimlessly through the subway, just causing various mischief to amuse himself the disturbing part is that he wants a cigarette, but can’t get it due to the fact that he’s incorporeal and can’t have one. It’s a daunting thought to think about being barred from any sort of eternal destination because the one thing that’s separating moving to it is something so simple it’s stupid.

Apart from all that though, the film does present ghosts in the usual manner that film portrays them: Namely that there’s something keeping them from moving beyond and they have to find a way to do so. Further, the ghosts are also able to move objects, but there is a twist to that trope as a ghost must learn how to do so. Usually there isn't one for the ability and the explanation that results from this ability is quite entertaining. The Subway Ghost tells Sam that he has to take all the emotion he has and push it down only to let it explode. In all this, there is one glaring inconsistency though. If Sam can possess Oda Mae so he and Molly can share a final dance, then the Subway Ghost can possess someone to smoke and even though there is that rule that someone needs to allow it, there’s bound to be at least one smoker in New York that would allow it.

3 stars for Ghost

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

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    • Happy Moment profile image

      James 22 months ago from The Eastern Bypass

      It must be a good movie. I will try and get a copy.