★★★★ Directed by: Garrick Lee Hamm Starring: Felix Jamieson, Emilia Fox Short Film Review by: Chris Olson
Biographical short film The Ghost is based on a novel by Julie Welch and Rob White which filmmaker Garrick Lee Hamm has brought to the screen with a loving touch.
The story centres around a young boy called Rob White (played by Felix Jamieson) whose father was a famous footballer but was killed by a lightning strike when Rob was just six months old. Having no connection or awareness of who his father was and what he meant to thousands of loyal Tottenham Hotspurs fans, Rob goes on a journey of discovery to find out more about his heritage.
Tender bordering on sentimental, The Ghost is a genre film whereby the viewer's enjoyment is most likely going to be directly linked to their passion for the subject matter. Football fans, in particular Spurs, are going to be in their element with this thoughtful portrayal of an iconic player's son and what he's missed out on. For all other viewers there is still an enjoyable and well-crafted movie here.
The narrative suffers from some messy storytelling, in particular in the first act. It felt as if there was too much of an assumption by the filmmakers about the knowledge viewers would have of what had happened to John White. Speaking as someone with no knowledge at all of the event, I felt lost for significant parts and therefore unable to really connect with the characters. That being said, the atmosphere that Hamm creates is enveloping and the emotion is palpable even without the context.
Above: the official movie trailer for The Ghost.
The performances are clunky at times but for the most part sensitive portrayals that engage the viewer through thoughtful dialogue and good chemistry. This is a believable family and Rob's friendship group is convincing in their kick-a-bout innocence. One of the best sequences is Jamieson singing alone in his bedroom, though, a delightful scene that was well executed. I also want to throw a shout out to the sound design and cinematography, both elements were really impressive and worth mentioning as aspects that audiences may enjoy, even without a penchant for football biographies.
Tasteful, heartfelt, and containing some fantastic cinematic moments, The Ghost puts in a great effort and scores where it matters. If you have an affinity for the era and subject matter, this could well be your favourite short film of the year.