The Ghost Writer Movie Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

The Ghost Writer
Reviewed by Felix Staica on August 14, 2010

Hoyts
presents a film directed by Roman Polanski
written by Robert Harris and Roman Polanski from Harris’ novel, “The Ghost”
Starring:  Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Williams, Kim Cattrall, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Hutton, Jim Belushi & Eli Wallach
Running Time: 128 mins
Rating: MA15+
Released: August 12, 2010

 


8/10

 


Placed in the steady hands of an old master, Robert Harris’ book The Ghost becomes a classically captivating thriller. Director Roman Polanski, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Harris, brings us simple, confident subtlety and successfully conjures memories of Hitchcock in both look and feel.

The Ghost (Ewan McGregor, looking remarkable in his late 30s) is a well-known writer of memoirs for well-known figures. He is asked to consider replacing a writer who died whilst working on the upcoming work of former UK PM Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan).

Whisked away to a remote island in the US, he is in a billionaire’s compound with his script, the PM’s wife (Olivia Williams is simply electric and I wish she had been on screen more!), the PM’s personal assistant and possibly paramour (Kim Cattrall with a more substantial persona than her Sex and the City alter-ego) and occasionally, even Lang.

The book was meant to be a sappy recounting of a beloved former national leader, but tension escalates when Lang comes under fire from former colleagues and embroiled in a war crimes trial. The CNN universe bursts across the compound and The Ghost is left in the wreck, attempting to work to a shortening deadline. During his investigations of dates, he finds a lot more than he ever expected or imagined...

The Ghost Writer is very enjoyable. The pace is great, the tension is well-placed and one feels your in the hands of a director with complete creative control. Watching the movie, I kept telling myself silly things like “Oh I remember now: movies are supposed to thrill and excite you.” I had the impression of being transported convincingly into the lives of people very unknown to me who have feelings and thoughts which are very known to me.

Despite my initial dislike of the bleak setting, its own type of beauty grew on me. I also liked the dialogue, which is very “grown up” and without the urge to over-explain things. This may arise from the fact that, though largely set in the US, the film is an Anglo-Franco-German co-production (with the chilly North Sea standing in for New England).

There is much speculation about the intended and unintended similarity of the Lang household to real-life former PM Tony Blair and his wife Cherie. With the context of Iraqi war crimes in the background of The Ghost Writer, this link cannot but be made. However, Harris claims that he conceived the idea for the story 15 years ago. At any rate, it makes little difference to the film as a top-notch thriller, and the link to real-life former politicians will only fade as time passes.

The long-standing legal case against Polanski (recently receiving news airtime thanks to his threatened extradition to the U.S.) prevents him from returning to U.S soil. He finished the film while under house-arrest in Switzerland, and manages to create an enthralling glimpse into the way those in power function, especially when their underlings get caught in the elite political system’s cogs.

Definitely not one to miss.






 
 



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