Directed and Written by: #AnthonyZJames
Indie Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
After a decade of incarceration, former mob thug Tony (Streeter) has finally emerged a free man. But with nowhere to go and nothing to his name, he finds himself tasked not only with trying to reconnect with his estranged wife Val (Happisburgh) and now adult son Conor (Hamilton), but also with trying to keep his nose clean or face an even longer stretch back inside. And despite his well-intentioned efforts to make up for lost time and get his life back on track, the demons of his past are hot on his heels and gaining ground.
First and foremost, what must be stated is that Ghost is a film helmed by a #filmmaker with a clear and uncompromising vision. However, it is also a vision that also requires extreme nerves of steel and amazing self-belief. Because for a London based crime drama, Ghost is an incredibly reserved piece of work. This is a genre that normally saturates itself with hard-man clichés and graphic violence, but not here. No words are spoken until over nine minutes into the piece, and even for a good time after that they are few and far between, but what this achieves is an authentic sense of distance between its characters that only decade apart would provoke, as well as giving us a few moments to enjoy some accomplished camera-work.
It’s minimalist charm doesn’t always shine though; there are moments of silence between the characters which do at times hang uncomfortably. Originally a short film before being stretched into a full length feature, this stretching is somewhat evident, mainly in the first half and it is not until around the midway point that film finally decides to get the ball rolling, by which point some attention spans might be wearing a bit thin, but those who persevere will be rewarded in the end when the film reaches its well-earned finale.
As mentioned, Ghost initially came into being as a short film, but after witnessing a captivating performance by Streeter, James felt compelled to explore more about this character and decided to expand to feature length and it’s clear that James has a keen eye for talent. Streeter manages to tells us just about everything we need to know about Tony through a single saddened smile and fully embodies the role of a man with infinite regret desperate for a second chance.
“I still want to be his hero.”
There are other good performances too. Hamilton’s Conor gives us a complicated blend of a young man with the world at his feet, but also signs of youthful immaturity and the toxic masculinity that has seeped into him after bearing witness to his fathers various misdeeds, and Barnett’s head-honcho Dom does fantastically well not to resort to caricature, instead favouring a more measured but equally unnerving performance. The supporting cast however seem less able to keep the pace performance-wise, especially the real bit players who lack any punch in their line delivery, and are perhaps even guilty of looking straight down the barrel a couple of times.
Ghost is a film that keeps its cards flat against its chest for the longest while, occasionally throwing out the odd scrap for us to feed on, and James is happy to let the film float along at the start like a leaf on a river, before allowing the current to pick up so inconceivably that we never see the resulting waterfall coming.
Watch the trailer here: