The Ghost Writer

User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 201 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 23 out of 201

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User Reviews

  1. StephenS
    Feb 27, 2010
    3
    Clearly the reviewers and I did not see the same movie. The writing was contrived and plot-driven. The audience was laughing out loud at scenes that were supposed to be tense. There was so much implausibility here. Then when the wife of the prime minister jumps into bed with MacGregor, the audience fell out of their chair. This is a weak movie. Could someone please tell me I'm not Clearly the reviewers and I did not see the same movie. The writing was contrived and plot-driven. The audience was laughing out loud at scenes that were supposed to be tense. There was so much implausibility here. Then when the wife of the prime minister jumps into bed with MacGregor, the audience fell out of their chair. This is a weak movie. Could someone please tell me I'm not crazy? thank you. Expand
  2. Sep 27, 2011
    8
    Roman Polanski uses "The Ghost Writer" to show that he's still not old, and he perfectly demonstrates his abilities to the audience. He leads the movie with smooth direction and even has the capacity to add humor in such tense situations. Man, I do like this guy...
  3. Jan 19, 2011
    10
    It's not the best Polanski I've seen (the most unsettling for me is still The Tenant) but it is still a Polanski, very political - smashing over plausibility to make a point - very critical, dark and thrilling. Loved it.
  4. PaulM.
    Mar 6, 2010
    1
    Contrived and boring. Not even DVD worthy. Comparing this to Hitchcock is akin to comparing Mannheim Steamroller to Mozart.
  5. maxwellf.
    Feb 28, 2010
    1
    Terrible boring movie. what is everyone so happy about? this movie does not work on so many levels. its like watching paint dry. these reviewers who loved it must be gettin paid off by the studio who released the movie.
  6. KaryK
    Mar 13, 2010
    3
    I can't believe critics liked this, maybe because Polanski directed it? Kim Cattrall with a fake British accent (sometimes American, sometimes fairly British, sometimes in between -- yes I know she was born in Liverpool). Olivia Williams' performance was completely uneven, and I normally like her in everything. Pierce Brosnan's character was totally 1 dimensional, a I can't believe critics liked this, maybe because Polanski directed it? Kim Cattrall with a fake British accent (sometimes American, sometimes fairly British, sometimes in between -- yes I know she was born in Liverpool). Olivia Williams' performance was completely uneven, and I normally like her in everything. Pierce Brosnan's character was totally 1 dimensional, a stereotypical politician as acted in any movie. And, Ewan McGregor's character was unbelievably stupid. I predicted in the beginning who the bad guy was (won't tell here) and what the likely outcome would be. There were no real plot twists at all. I just wanted the 2+ hours to be over so I could know my prediction was correct (it was). This was a waste of time and money. Collapse
  7. Pat
    Mar 3, 2010
    5
    Too long and too contrived, I did not like it. And the sex was gratuitous.
  8. Lyn
    Aug 22, 2010
    2
    I'm very surprised at the critics' adoration for this film, and can only assume it's because of their admiration for the director. Despite the excellent actors, there's virtually no suspense, and a twist at the end is one that you can see coming from 90 minutes away. And Kim Cattrall does perhaps the worst put-on British accent in film history!
  9. DavidY
    Mar 29, 2010
    4
    Rather predictable, and somewhat slow, the film failed to thrill or provide interesting suspense. The dialogue was well written, and the tone was spot on - helped in large part by Alexandre's Desplat's score, but in the end, I left the theater disappointed. I would have given the film a 5/10, but for the final shot - Polanski should be embarrassed by such a cliche ending.
  10. Sep 11, 2010
    9
    Roman Palanski, being himself, after his years of not being seen for what shall not be named, I think this is one of his very successful movies that, even with the ending, was a four- star winner and exciting within every minute of the whole movie. The perfect combination of excitement, frightement, and cliff- hangers, even with the ending. Endings like that have been dissappointing me forRoman Palanski, being himself, after his years of not being seen for what shall not be named, I think this is one of his very successful movies that, even with the ending, was a four- star winner and exciting within every minute of the whole movie. The perfect combination of excitement, frightement, and cliff- hangers, even with the ending. Endings like that have been dissappointing me for years, but that movie is for sure, no doubt, positively, in my top 20 favorite movies of all time. If you haven't seen this movei, I reccomend it to all those people who love long movies, and can pay attention, but if you can't last longer than Zombieland- length, don't bother. Expand
  11. Dec 30, 2010
    9
    I was mesmorized by this film - very similar to **** in style. Even when the film slows down a bit, the atmosphere and cinematography grips you. I was never bored. This is Ewan McGregor's best performance since the underrated comedy "Down With Love". The ending was a little perplexing for me, but I still enjoyed it.
  12. Mar 18, 2011
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I fell asleep several times during the movie, but so did the main character. What exactly was the plot ? I don't remember. If you have something to hide, why would you let someone into your house, and actually hire someone to sniff out your past ? Investigative journalism must have taken a turn for the worse when an amateur can simply use Google search to uncover the most secretive things of your past. Quite embarrassing, especially if you are the British Prime Minister. It's all right there, on the Internet.
    Things moved along, yes, but they moved along at the speed of sound in a vacuum. At one point, the main character shakes a tail, where did these guys learn to follow someone ?
    The ending was probably the most ridiculous one in movie history. I was in DC recently, and you can see the sniper on the roof of the White House from about 5 miles away. Security for the British PM must have forgotten that a guy in full camouflage, carrying a rifle and climbing onto the roof of the airport building might not be hunting for ducks.
    Wait, that was not really the end. The end was that the main character got hit by what, a car, a bus ? After surviving all sorts of dangerous situations, he simply gets run over in the middle of a big city ?
    In summary, this movie is just god awful. What is the purpose of making these films ?
    Expand
  13. Feb 4, 2011
    10
    The movie was nice and interesting. I enjoyed the filmThe movie was nice and interesting. I enjoyed the filmThe movie was nice and interesting. I enjoyed the filmThe movie was nice and interesting. I enjoyed the film
  14. JasonB
    Mar 5, 2010
    9
    Saw this in Poland, Polanski's home country. The audience loved it and I did too. Cinematically I thought it was perfect, at times I felt it could have moved a little faster but the acting and cinematography was top notch. I think the story was all a bit too familiar but the way it was transferred to the screen was superb. I thought the comment about writers not being kittens was hilarious.
  15. GilbertL
    Apr 5, 2010
    9
    Nice thriller from Polanski. Loved the shout outs to his previous films: Chinatown: caught in web of deceit; Rosemary's Baby: increasing paranoia; The Tenant: forces compelling protagonist to assume role of predecessor. Also liked the ghost conceit that hovers over the movie, besides that of the writer...brilliant! Using the weather to augment the movie's atmosphere was clever.
  16. MiloszP.
    Feb 26, 2010
    10
    No one does it like Roman - that's exactly the way a thriller should look like. Amazing.
  17. MatsC
    Mar 12, 2010
    7
    The movie per se is really great, with great performances by the actors. Unfortunately though,one of the important and interesting features of the book is gone.
  18. GeorgeH
    Mar 16, 2010
    9
    Only a true dullard would think that this movie is anything but exceptional, thoroughly engaging, suspenseful and masterfully crafted. One "User" complained that the the movie was "plot-driven"! What a laughable comment.
  19. ashogo
    Mar 22, 2010
    9
    An extremely suspenseful thriller with a perfectly eerie atmosphere and a nice mix of dry humor here and there. It's very deliberately paced, and the clues unfold slowly at first, then gather speed until all crashing together in the finale. Although I'm not a huge Polanski fan, I can say that he knows how to pull the right strings in an audience and that he is a great filmmaker. An extremely suspenseful thriller with a perfectly eerie atmosphere and a nice mix of dry humor here and there. It's very deliberately paced, and the clues unfold slowly at first, then gather speed until all crashing together in the finale. Although I'm not a huge Polanski fan, I can say that he knows how to pull the right strings in an audience and that he is a great filmmaker. The ending seems to be love/hate with a lot of people, but I thought it was brilliant. If not for the ending itself, but the actual way it was shot. Expand
  20. JamesH.
    Mar 22, 2010
    9
    I loved this film. Cleverly crafted and beautifully shot, with great performances all around. It reminded me of some of the good Hitchcock films. There were no boring moments and I couldn't wait to find out the outcome. Loved the ending as well, although I'm not sure why he "passed the note" at the end of the movie knowing how dangerous it would be. Highly recommended.
  21. BobK.
    Mar 7, 2010
    8
    I found the movie engaging. Some aspects may be contrived, it is true, but this is also true for most films. The scary thing is that plots not far from this one might actually occur.
  22. JaneS.
    Apr 3, 2010
    10
    Wonderful smart movie.
  23. KenG
    Apr 3, 2010
    7
    Seldom has a movie that does such a nice job avoiding cliches along the way, end up feeling so much like a cliche itself. The film does a very nice job of building up intrigue and tension as it goes along, but it is something of a let down when it is revealed what's really going on. Polanski does a very good job building up the story, but he never really figured out how to finish it off.
  24. PatG.
    Feb 26, 2010
    7
    I enjoyed most of this movie. BUT--one big problem with credibility re the big revelation at the end. The mode of revealing the secret is very Victorian. Would a 21st-century person really choose such an obscure, gimmicky way of setting up something that might never be noticed? Don't we have more effective modern ways of sharing secrets? Any comments on that?
  25. LornaS.
    Mar 11, 2010
    9
    A political thriller which leaves you involved in the story,wondering what's next as the suspense builds.
  26. DinoR.
    Mar 11, 2010
    1
    When did P-L-O-T get thrown out the window in film? "The Ghost Writer" doesn't have one, you don't care, and, frankly, if you do, you've lowered your standards to the point it doesn't matter. Polanski should be arrested and put in jail for THIS as well as victimizing a thirteen year old girl.
  27. TArkoB.
    Mar 10, 2010
    3
    You're joking--this is like a moderately well directed episode of Murder She Wrote. The performances are weak, especially in the day player roles, and the dialogue seems to have been written by Stephen J. Cannell. Manhola Dargis needs a new job.
  28. KenP
    Mar 12, 2010
    3
    The Ghost Writer has some decent performances and occasional good lines, but is just not believable as a political thriller. Ewan McGregor's character switched between cynic and naif. Many of his character's decisions are incredible, and exist solely to progress the plot. Roman Polanski's depiction of politics in the US seemed completely imagined, and is not believable. The The Ghost Writer has some decent performances and occasional good lines, but is just not believable as a political thriller. Ewan McGregor's character switched between cynic and naif. Many of his character's decisions are incredible, and exist solely to progress the plot. Roman Polanski's depiction of politics in the US seemed completely imagined, and is not believable. The plot borrows ideas from many other movies, and offers nothing new. The smoking gun revealed at the end is more like child's cap gun, without the caps. Very disappointing- I can't understand the rave reviews. Obviously, Polanski thought the conspiracy theories presented in The Ghost Writer would resonate with European audiences, but it's a very juvenile effort overall. P.S. It was funny how Belmont, MA. was depicted. There are no rural roads in this fully developed suburban community, much less pine forests like the ones shown in the film. FTR, this did not bother me at all- it was just humorous. Expand
  29. DougE
    Mar 14, 2010
    2
    The interesting aspect of the plot is that the dots are connected by a google search that only 4 billion people could have done rather than the protagonist of the movie. There are flashes of Hitchcock in this movie but the plotline that pivots on secret connections does not survive any reasonable scrutiny. A very poor conclusion to the film.
  30. OgdenU
    Mar 19, 2010
    2
    I never comment on movies, but this one compelled me...this is a worthless waste of time and money. The story line (was there really actually one?) was absurd, the "who dunnit" entirely predictable, and the only suspense was wondering when the movie would finally captivate my attention.
  31. SteveM.
    Mar 21, 2010
    9
    Excellent film. Keeps your attention all the way through, and well acted.
  32. Enrique
    Mar 22, 2010
    10
    A perfectly well crafted thriller.
  33. lindas
    Mar 28, 2010
    2
    Such a draggy film. Lang was handled by his CIA wife and agent. Why would Lang ever want to write a book about his life - "setting his own pants on fire" - duh- And how would the ghost writer, ever have figured out a highly unbelievable code in the original manuscript about Lang's wife. It was not suspense at its' best, it was a nervewracking, unoriginal, and unbelievable plot Such a draggy film. Lang was handled by his CIA wife and agent. Why would Lang ever want to write a book about his life - "setting his own pants on fire" - duh- And how would the ghost writer, ever have figured out a highly unbelievable code in the original manuscript about Lang's wife. It was not suspense at its' best, it was a nervewracking, unoriginal, and unbelievable plot at its' worst. Expand
  34. RickA
    Mar 30, 2010
    10
    Hitchcock is back!! This was a thriller; suspenseful with the best. We're going back to see it again, in the same week!
  35. LindaM
    Apr 3, 2010
    8
    There is plenty of suspense as there is eye candy of MacGregor and Brosnan. When all is revealed at the end, you realize the plot points along the way were not entirely plausible.
  36. Gene
    Apr 3, 2010
    9
    The difference between a master and a hack: in just the last scene, a lesser director would have shown the whole mess in gory, shuddering detail to pander shamelessly to the groundlings. Like the LeCarre films, the violence, what there is of it, furthers the story, rather than becomes it. All-too-rare intelligence and wit in this genre.
  37. DennisL.
    Feb 25, 2010
    9
    Though not action-packed, the sinister mood --including the windswept beaches, make this an absorbing movie. Almost all the characters have something mysterious about them. It's vintage Polanski, with that quiet sense of dread. He doesn't need too many camera theatrics--just a little off center is enough.
  38. MatB.
    Mar 11, 2010
    9
    Great Direction. Nobody does paranoia like Polanski. Good preformances. Really entertaining. Not for those with short attention spans. Polanski does a great job of making every passing car, open window, or unconfortable silence meaningful.
  39. buffalo
    Mar 15, 2010
    2
    This is a textbook example of bad filmmaking. You have actors who can't pull off their lines or accents, a plot that is so contrived and silly that it would feel awkward on Columbo, a score that misses the tone and mise en scene by a hundred miles, and a twist that is so predictable and unremarkable that you can't help but leave the theatre feeling exhausted, disappointed and This is a textbook example of bad filmmaking. You have actors who can't pull off their lines or accents, a plot that is so contrived and silly that it would feel awkward on Columbo, a score that misses the tone and mise en scene by a hundred miles, and a twist that is so predictable and unremarkable that you can't help but leave the theatre feeling exhausted, disappointed and insulted. Really, the only intriguing mystery about the Ghost Writer is how in the hell it is getting such good reviews. A colossal failure of a movie. Polanski should be ashamed and mortified. Expand
  40. FranceL.
    Mar 19, 2010
    9
    Exquisite entertainment from first to final scene, quality performances by fine actors given the gift of fine dialog, fast paced editing, a terrific setting that echoes the tone and tension and offers a visual treat. ..what more could a moviegoer want? My only criticism is with the closing scene which seemed a bit too predictable. But in all, this film offers a first class ride for the Exquisite entertainment from first to final scene, quality performances by fine actors given the gift of fine dialog, fast paced editing, a terrific setting that echoes the tone and tension and offers a visual treat. ..what more could a moviegoer want? My only criticism is with the closing scene which seemed a bit too predictable. But in all, this film offers a first class ride for the discriminating viewer. Expand
  41. JadeD.
    Mar 21, 2010
    10
    Excellent, brooding film. I was drawn in immediately and loved the mood of this movie. The actors were excellent and I felt it was an excellent political thriller. It felt like Ewan McGregor's character entered a maze he could not get out of. I felt it showed the intense narcissism of politics and the reckless and violent acts politicians will commit to keep their power personally Excellent, brooding film. I was drawn in immediately and loved the mood of this movie. The actors were excellent and I felt it was an excellent political thriller. It felt like Ewan McGregor's character entered a maze he could not get out of. I felt it showed the intense narcissism of politics and the reckless and violent acts politicians will commit to keep their power personally and globally. I will definitely see it again! Expand
  42. DomoR.
    Mar 21, 2010
    9
    Olivia Williams gives one of the best performances I've seen for a long time. Wickedly sly, droll, brittle and bitchy as hell, she gives this film an unexpected depth and intrigue that I didn't see coming. It's a great film that had me smiling out of sheer satisfaction that I derived from not being talked down to or overwhelmed by mind numbing special effects. I wish more Olivia Williams gives one of the best performances I've seen for a long time. Wickedly sly, droll, brittle and bitchy as hell, she gives this film an unexpected depth and intrigue that I didn't see coming. It's a great film that had me smiling out of sheer satisfaction that I derived from not being talked down to or overwhelmed by mind numbing special effects. I wish more films were as good as this. Expand
  43. BradleyP
    Mar 28, 2010
    9
    A witty, creeping, thriller filled with intelligent, cold, yet interesting characters. The starkness was beautiful, the ending somehow so bleakly personal.
  44. Aug 11, 2010
    10
    In his day Roman Polanski was and still is one of cinema's top directors directing such revered classics such as "Nó w wodzie"( Knife in the Water) Polanski's directorial debut, "Repulsion"(1965), the noir classic "Chinatown"(1974), "Tess"(1979), "Frantic"(1988)," Cul-De- Sac"(1966), "Le Locataire" (The Tenant), "The Pianist"(2002) and "Oliver Twist"(2005). Over the lastIn his day Roman Polanski was and still is one of cinema's top directors directing such revered classics such as "Nó w wodzie"( Knife in the Water) Polanski's directorial debut, "Repulsion"(1965), the noir classic "Chinatown"(1974), "Tess"(1979), "Frantic"(1988)," Cul-De- Sac"(1966), "Le Locataire" (The Tenant), "The Pianist"(2002) and "Oliver Twist"(2005). Over the last forty-eight years, Polanski has established himself as one of cinema's greatest and most controversial directors he has left an impression on Hollywood that will live on long after he has died and some will stand up and cheer when that day happens I might be one of them. There is no denying that Roman Polanski is a director of monumental skill he puts a certain flare and style to sometimes overused plot devices and stories making them viable daring pieces of filmmaking that surprisingly surpass anything Hollywood could possibly throw out of their shops. With his latest effort, "The Ghost Writerâ Expand
  45. Sep 16, 2010
    10
    El más reciente filme del veterano Polanski es una de sus cintas más accesibles al gran público que ha hecho en toda su carrera -siempre y y cuando ese gran público, aclaro, no padezca de síndrome de atención y se empiece a quejar de que "todo va muy lento". La trama, sobre el bestseller homónimo deEl más reciente filme del veterano Polanski es una de sus cintas más accesibles al gran público que ha hecho en toda su carrera -siempre y y cuando ese gran público, aclaro, no padezca de síndrome de atención y se empiece a quejar de que "todo va muy lento". La trama, sobre el bestseller homónimo de Robert Harris, es una pesimista extensión especular de la vida política del exPrimer Ministro británico Tony Blair aunque, para ser francos, las cuestiones políticas específicas es lo que menos le interesa a Polanski. Estamos ante un thriller profundamente desesperanzador con un memorable desenlace de guillotina y fuera de cuadro. Expand
  46. Aug 28, 2010
    10
    A well script base on the novel that selled and a direction mastered. The Ghost Writer is a thriller that will remind the audiences Hitchcock's films.
  47. Sep 2, 2010
    8
    You have to admire this movie for what it is - it's slick, well-acted and relevant. It is generally well-scripted, but I'm amazed that fewer people have commented on the bizarre, nonsensical ending. I won't go into details, but it's simply implausible and the Ghost's actions aren't at all in keeping with his character. It was a frustrating way to end an otherwise gripping story. I doYou have to admire this movie for what it is - it's slick, well-acted and relevant. It is generally well-scripted, but I'm amazed that fewer people have commented on the bizarre, nonsensical ending. I won't go into details, but it's simply implausible and the Ghost's actions aren't at all in keeping with his character. It was a frustrating way to end an otherwise gripping story. I do question the slightly glib and slanted politics, too, but to call it propaganda would be unfair, since it says more implicitly than explicitly about the modern world political climate. In terms of acting, Pierce is at his hilarious best as Adam Laing - his rant towards the end is near-perfect - while Ewan McGregor and Olivia Williams are perfectly competent. In short, very good but a big shame about the ending. Expand
  48. Sep 9, 2010
    9
    Smartly written, very good soundtrack, spectacular performance by Olivia Williams, great twists and suspense. And great ending, but a bit predictable. Maybe not Polanski's best, but again one great thriller.
  49. Nov 1, 2010
    0
    Yikes. Couldn't wait for this mess of a movie to end, to say nothing of my indifference as to how it would, after a great deal of tedium, end. The idea is paper (ha ha ha) thin, and certainly didn't warrant the 2+ hours worth of bad writing it took to complete this exercise in... I need a adjective for god awful crossed with paralytic boredom. Anyway, a hell of a lot of talent got wastedYikes. Couldn't wait for this mess of a movie to end, to say nothing of my indifference as to how it would, after a great deal of tedium, end. The idea is paper (ha ha ha) thin, and certainly didn't warrant the 2+ hours worth of bad writing it took to complete this exercise in... I need a adjective for god awful crossed with paralytic boredom. Anyway, a hell of a lot of talent got wasted on this film. If there was a conspiracy it was on the part of the script writer, editor, and Polanski, to create wooden characters who people a sterile 2 dimensional world it is impossible to care about. The twist, when it finally does come, is paltry, and irrelevant, precisely because so little effort was put into creating a background against which the revelation might matter. And then the very end, when the car speeds by, and the papers come floating past the camera. All I could think is, "are you fuc*ing serious?" I think it's safe to say Mr. Polanski's best work was finished long long ago. Expand
  50. Nov 15, 2010
    6
    The Ghost Writer is a film that sticks with you after a first viewing, and certainly encourages another viewing. I can think of few higher compliments than this. I'd forgotten how cool Ewan McGregor is, and Olivia Williams is smoldering in this film. However, the mysterious tension that makes this film great ultimately dissipates as the rather conventional plot is revealed. Basically,The Ghost Writer is a film that sticks with you after a first viewing, and certainly encourages another viewing. I can think of few higher compliments than this. I'd forgotten how cool Ewan McGregor is, and Olivia Williams is smoldering in this film. However, the mysterious tension that makes this film great ultimately dissipates as the rather conventional plot is revealed. Basically, The Ghost Writer goes from **** to Clancy in a matter of minutes. A shame really, because the final scene is rather brilliant. Expand
  51. Dec 20, 2011
    9
    I'm with Ebert on this one. A clever script with convincing acting on the whole, The Ghost Writer offers tension of the good and entertaining sort.

    Its moody locations (much of it was shot on location in Germany) is accompanied by a well-crafted soundtrack that befits the mystery encounters and places; this is one finely crafted suspense thriller with a surprise ending to boot.
  52. Dec 26, 2010
    9
    A great political thriller that will pull the rug out from under you in its final scenes. It's also a return to form for Polanski, an extremely talented filmmaker, regardless of how you feel about his personal actions.
  53. Oct 17, 2010
    10
    Very entertaining - perfect.
  54. Nov 19, 2010
    10
    While certainly not a masterpiece , this movie was very enjoyable for me . I knew nothing about it ahead of time so I had few expectations . A little more editing to pick up the pace would have been helpful but the cinematography was excellent . I quite enjoyed my afternoon with The Ghost Writer .
  55. Jan 8, 2011
    6
    No this is not academy award material. This is just a fun movie with twist and turns. It is suspenseful and entertaining as it builds to the climax.
  56. Jan 11, 2011
    6
    Good old, Roman Polanski. Known for his international film work and dark psychological tales, as well as some rather troubling personal issues, here he offers us a "Hitchcock-like" political thriller. The film follows a man hired to finish the auto-biography of a former Prime Minister after his predecessor mysteriously died. As he delves deeper into the past of the Prime Minister (PierceGood old, Roman Polanski. Known for his international film work and dark psychological tales, as well as some rather troubling personal issues, here he offers us a "Hitchcock-like" political thriller. The film follows a man hired to finish the auto-biography of a former Prime Minister after his predecessor mysteriously died. As he delves deeper into the past of the Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan in a totally underwhelming performance), he questions more and more regarding the current political drama surrounding his employer.

    The film uses slow, methodical suspense rather than shock and action tactics. I suppose it works for some, but frankly it began to put me to sleep. I was still curious to know how the story would unfold and though mostly predictable there were a few unexpected twists. However, it was not able to grasp my attention as it felt more like I was just waiting to be told an answer vice learning or discovering it for myself.

    The acting performances also left something to be desired. Kim Cattrall never uses the same accent twice. Brosnan, as mentioned earlier, is nothing special and one-dimensional. McGregor, as the main character and ghost writer, gives it his best shot and probably nails what Polanski was asking from him. And so I blame the director more than anyone else. When all is said and done, The Ghost Writer just didn't inspire me, or surprise me, or entertain me, or invoke any feelings at all much less the suspense it aims for. The story is interesting enough but the presentation method is just so slow and draining that by the time it reached a conclusion I just didn't care anymore. If you're a fan of Hitchcock you may enjoy this. I never really was, and I didn't.
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  57. Apr 9, 2011
    9
    Roman Polanski is one of the very best when it comes to directing a thriller. "The Ghost Writer" employs a simple yet wildly engaging plot that develops wonderfully around the main character. We see the ghost writer (McGregor) slowly unraveling the mystery of the film which ultimately puts him into a sheer state of paranoia that builds quite impressively thanks to the seamless direction ofRoman Polanski is one of the very best when it comes to directing a thriller. "The Ghost Writer" employs a simple yet wildly engaging plot that develops wonderfully around the main character. We see the ghost writer (McGregor) slowly unraveling the mystery of the film which ultimately puts him into a sheer state of paranoia that builds quite impressively thanks to the seamless direction of Polanski. Political thrillers often fail to engage their audience, but this one was downright mesmerizing. Solid performances from McGregor and Brosnan, but the real standout is Olivia Williams. This film earned a lot of attention in early 2010, but it seems to have faded as of late. It's sad because films like this don't come along all that often. One of the best of 2010. Expand
  58. May 10, 2011
    8
    Roman Polanski has proven time and time again that he's one of the world's finest directors. With film-greats such as Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, and the Pianist under his belt, how could anyone expect him - at the age of 78 - to crank out a movie that can stand up to many of the others in his filmography? That being said, The Ghost Writer really came out of left field; I hadn't even heardRoman Polanski has proven time and time again that he's one of the world's finest directors. With film-greats such as Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, and the Pianist under his belt, how could anyone expect him - at the age of 78 - to crank out a movie that can stand up to many of the others in his filmography? That being said, The Ghost Writer really came out of left field; I hadn't even heard of it until it came and left theaters. All I knew was that it was a thriller directed and co-written by Roman Polanski, starred Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan, and it had something to do with a political mystery. Ok, I was in. There are some really outstanding performances in this film, and that's extremely important in a movie like this: McGregor and Williams both do a terrific job, but it's Brosnan's performance that really stands out in this one. I'd have to say it's his best role yet. The writing is also very good, based on the "The Ghost" written by Robert Harris, you really feel like you're trying to uncover this mystery right along side The Ghost throughout the duration of this picture. But my favorite element in this movie has got to be the sets, which are often overlooked. The sets in this movie are simply incredible and they even become characters in their own right, most notably the film's primary location - Brosnan's rented beach house. When we first approach the house it looks like a fortress - guards pacing the building from the outside, grey concrete walls, secluded in the middle of nowhere. But once we see the inside it becomes a whole different thing; it's almost like a labyrinth bathed in a cold grey light from the outside where the weather is constantly either raining or on the verge of rain. These sets are subtle meaning and really help drive the points of this film home. I'm not saying that The Ghost Writer isn't without its flaws. The story does drag on a bit right around the middle of the second act, and it does leave you wishing there were a few more meaningful interactions between Brosnan and McGregor but all -in-all it's a pretty bullet-proof movie for those who can stomach a dialogue driven film with little to no action. Read the rest of the review on my film review site, rocketcrossing.com, and check out our facebook page at facebook.com/rocketcrossing Expand
  59. Jun 27, 2011
    9
    The script is smart and suspenseful and the story is well developed.It's certainly not Polanski's best film but it still proves that he's a great director.The movie remains tense throughout and McGreggor's performance is very strong.
  60. Jun 7, 2011
    2
    I've always believed that movie reviewers are desperate to be seen as cultured, intelligent, "I'm more insightful than you" types. Therefore, when they come across a movie like this - a movie that SEEMS like it should be good, has the look of something that should grab your attention, and, most important, sounds intelligent - they rave about it because their hubris prevents them fromI've always believed that movie reviewers are desperate to be seen as cultured, intelligent, "I'm more insightful than you" types. Therefore, when they come across a movie like this - a movie that SEEMS like it should be good, has the look of something that should grab your attention, and, most important, sounds intelligent - they rave about it because their hubris prevents them from saying, "I don't get it!" This is not a great movie. I'll be honest in saying that I don't quite get the ending. I mean, I do, but was the "secret" really that significant? If you didn't figure this all out in the private jet scene, then perhaps you are a movie critic. It's sad too, because the cast should have been excellent. Pierce Brosnan generally has his moments, Ewan McGregor is often quite good, Olivia Williams has had a few brilliant roles, and Tom Wilkinson is, in my opinion, one of the great, under appreciated actors, ever. Conversely Kim Catrall may be one of the worst actors ever and this role only solidifies her in that position. But in this movie they were all as flat and dull as Catrall's "accent". IMO the only really good acting in this movie was that of Wilkinson and Eli Wallach. Regrettably, these two roles are little more than bit parts. The rest was so ho hum that I needed two nights to watch it. Expand
  61. Jun 16, 2011
    5
    The Ghost Writer was a mediocre film that I felt still managed to entertain to an extent. Being the Ewan McGregor fan that I am, I found his performance to be favourable as always. I don't believe the film would engage at all if it weren't for an actor like Ewan. Politics is not normally an interest of mine, but the film's speculative atmosphere kept me from falling asleep or walking awayThe Ghost Writer was a mediocre film that I felt still managed to entertain to an extent. Being the Ewan McGregor fan that I am, I found his performance to be favourable as always. I don't believe the film would engage at all if it weren't for an actor like Ewan. Politics is not normally an interest of mine, but the film's speculative atmosphere kept me from falling asleep or walking away as I may have otherwise. The sex scene was unwarranted and highly unrealistic in the situation it was portrayed in, so that would probably be one of the most notable of flaws. Otherwise, the film was a decent watch but not directly recommended. Expand
  62. Jun 7, 2012
    7
    Let me start off by stating simply that I cannot compare THE GHOST WRITER to any of Roman Polanskiâ
  63. Aug 7, 2011
    7
    You can't help but feel that Polanski is getting a raw deal here because of the past. Anyway, this was a decent thriller, but not the best, so ....7
    Also, gratuitous sex??? Go play with your dolly elsewhere. Leave the grownups be. American Pie, now THAT's gratuitous sex. Please take your sexual repression and your puritanical views somewhere else.
  64. Jul 17, 2012
    5
    Despite it trying to look professional, the plot felt like a complete muddle of sorts. I've seen so many films where the people making a film try masquerading them in clever disguises that are easily see through. There was barely any depth and when it got to a good, intense moment, it suddenly jumped to something else. My favourite character though was the nameless Ghost Writer, who we seeDespite it trying to look professional, the plot felt like a complete muddle of sorts. I've seen so many films where the people making a film try masquerading them in clever disguises that are easily see through. There was barely any depth and when it got to a good, intense moment, it suddenly jumped to something else. My favourite character though was the nameless Ghost Writer, who we see in possibly the most thrilling scene in the film. But, in the end, it was just pretty boring. Expand
  65. Feb 20, 2013
    10
    Roman Polanski delivers a film that creates a thrilling story arc, one which we are not quite sure who to believe or who to trust, hence the reason that the suspense is built to perfection in this book adaption of 'The Ghost" (which the film was titled in the UK).
    Ewan McGregor plays the unnamed ghost writer in the film, the fact he is unnamed only came to my attention after a second
    Roman Polanski delivers a film that creates a thrilling story arc, one which we are not quite sure who to believe or who to trust, hence the reason that the suspense is built to perfection in this book adaption of 'The Ghost" (which the film was titled in the UK).
    Ewan McGregor plays the unnamed ghost writer in the film, the fact he is unnamed only came to my attention after a second viewing, and this was a clever technique indeed, simply because it never crossed my mind, and there is so much going on that it wasn't even mind-crossing. He has been asked to ghost write the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan), after his previous writer was found dead of apparent suicide.
    As the new ghost land in the secluded island that Lang and his personnel are staying on, his hesitance to take on the job are apparent, as Lang and his unfinished memoirs are in lockdown, due to a 'threat of national security'. The ghost soon delves deeper as to what might be the cause of such security, but is under intense pressure as Lang is being accused of severe war crimes and must go for questioning. The characters created here are full of mystery and suspense, we are never quite sure of their motives and we are never quite sure who is in the wrong, the secluded setting perfectly captures the grim and deadly secrets that these people hold, only adding to the tension.
    Lang is a daring replica of former PM Tony Blair, and his air of smiles and "man" when he is around the ghost raises questions of is political prowess, which is later dug deeper.
    McGregor does an excellent job of portraying the sophisticated yet possibly cowardly ghost, I often asked myself throughout the film what exactly his character would do if he found anything incriminating. But his intelligence shines through as his dialogue is snappy and often sarcastic.
    Olivia Williams portrays Lang's wife Ruth, who he seemingly turns to in most of political endeavours for advice, she is a mixed bag of emotion, she's confrontational, bitter, but seems the upmost of loyal to her husband.
    Kim Cattrall also makes an appearance as Lang's personal assistant, but also her mistress by night, I'm not sure if she was trying a British accent in the film or a civilised American one, either way she played her part well.
    The Ghost Writer has all the makings of a classic thriller, especially with Polanski at the helm, it creates the perfect picture of thrill and suspense without relying on action and cheap tricks, which overall created a very pulsating, unforgettable, well acted and well written film.
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  66. Dec 31, 2011
    5
    Overwrought is the word that comes to mind about this movie. I wanted to like it. Heck, if Ebert gives it 100 out of 100 it better be good. There were times when the suspense was okay, but mostly it was just ... boring. For the first hour I thought that it might be a nice, minimalist thriller. Turns out, it was just a contrived, long, telegraphed snoozer.
  67. Jan 18, 2012
    7
    It wasnt that bad of a film. Plot is decent enough to keep you interested but it never really gets to that next level of great suspensful movies. The acting is good. Its worth the watch imo but I am sure a few people may get bored with it.
  68. Sep 30, 2012
    7
    A little slow paced at times but other then that it was a rather good film. Well acted, Suspensful, and definently worth watching imo. I liked it and would recommend it.
  69. Mar 10, 2012
    10
    Sorry I'm late but I've just watched this on DVD. My wife read the book and said it was excellent, we're also fans of some of Ewan's work. BUT, an interesting story was massacred by poor production.

    Did anybody else notice the appallingly photoshopped pictures from the 70s?

    Then there was the accents!

    I could go on. Lovely house though.
  70. Mar 11, 2013
    8
    Incredibly fine movie made by one of the few remaining Gods of contemporary film making. The Ghost Writer is a triumph of atmosphere.
  71. Jul 4, 2016
    8
    Slow burning and purposefully paced, The Ghost Writer is the kind of thriller that is certainly not for everyone. However, it was definitely up my alley. Smart and wisely crafted, The Ghost Writer is yet another impressive entry into Roman Polanski's filmography. Say what you want about the man, but the filmmaker is brilliant. The film is, again, slow but never boring. Instead, itSlow burning and purposefully paced, The Ghost Writer is the kind of thriller that is certainly not for everyone. However, it was definitely up my alley. Smart and wisely crafted, The Ghost Writer is yet another impressive entry into Roman Polanski's filmography. Say what you want about the man, but the filmmaker is brilliant. The film is, again, slow but never boring. Instead, it entertains and keeps you on edge waiting to see how the clues will all come together in this politically-based story. Ewan McGregor turns in a very good performance as the unwitting ghostwriter for a former British Prime Minister played by Pierce Brosnan. In that role, Brosnan is cool, calculating, and deeply mysterious, which expertly captures the very essence of this politician shrouded in controversy. Even better, The Ghost Writer is not your typical modern thriller and instead shows Polanski's trademark of despair and deeply unsatisfying conclusions which, to me, is far more realistic. Once more, Roman Polanski showcases why he is such a revered filmmaker inspite of his personal sins. The Ghost Writer is a smart, well crafted thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what twist and turn comes next. Expand
  72. Oct 16, 2014
    7
    Whether or not you may enjoy the film's ending, there's no denying that "The Ghost Writer" is still a tense, unpredictable thriller that acts as a testament to Roman Polanski's enduring ability to craft a good movie.
  73. Dec 8, 2012
    7
    The Ghost Writer is one of those films that when I saw it, I simply felt it was good. I saw it in early March, and as more great films have been released, this film has always remained in my mind. I think it's very good as opposed to just okay. It's not brilliant, but it's still is a strong film and one of the better movies of the year. Very intense and it had some good performances. TheThe Ghost Writer is one of those films that when I saw it, I simply felt it was good. I saw it in early March, and as more great films have been released, this film has always remained in my mind. I think it's very good as opposed to just okay. It's not brilliant, but it's still is a strong film and one of the better movies of the year. Very intense and it had some good performances. The ending really was a shocker to me....check this film out! Expand
  74. Aug 31, 2013
    10
    One of the best political thrillers ever made. I really enjoyed it and I want to watch it again. Brilliant!!! Excellent!!! Perfection!!! Do not miss it!
  75. Apr 1, 2014
    9
    Criminally ignored on its release, this is Polanski's best film since The Ninth Gate. Brosnan is pitch perfect as the Blairesque character and McGregor puts in one of his better efforts as the Ghost Writer of the title, but it is Olivia Williams that steals the show as the cold and manipulative wife to the fallen Prime Minister. Directed with clinical style by Polanski, this is a wellCriminally ignored on its release, this is Polanski's best film since The Ninth Gate. Brosnan is pitch perfect as the Blairesque character and McGregor puts in one of his better efforts as the Ghost Writer of the title, but it is Olivia Williams that steals the show as the cold and manipulative wife to the fallen Prime Minister. Directed with clinical style by Polanski, this is a well thought out thriller and deserving of reappraisal. Expand
  76. Jun 18, 2014
    9
    The Ghost Writer is a Polanski film, so i immediately knew it would be good. I also immediately knew that none of the scenes would be in the U.S. So, the only part of the movie i didn't care for was the unconvincing British island that doubled for Long Island. However, the acting is brilliant, the screenplay amazing, and the atmosphere very tense. The movie reveals one piece at a timeThe Ghost Writer is a Polanski film, so i immediately knew it would be good. I also immediately knew that none of the scenes would be in the U.S. So, the only part of the movie i didn't care for was the unconvincing British island that doubled for Long Island. However, the acting is brilliant, the screenplay amazing, and the atmosphere very tense. The movie reveals one piece at a time until the climatic ending, and then a shocking twist that will stun you. See this movie. Expand
  77. Nov 29, 2013
    9
    this movie makes a moment mysterious and thrilling.So,after the movie ends it gives a great thought.In my way it"s a very exited movie and curious-tic.
  78. Dec 8, 2013
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I don't like these kinds of movies that leaves lots of questions unanswered but if you don't know this, then it's a good 2 hour movie that keeps you glued to your seat. Expand
  79. Jul 28, 2014
    8
    Consistently heard negative reviews of this one, but was pleasantly surprised when I finally gave it a chance. THE GHOST WRITER had me guessing the entire way through and was an exciting ride. Admittedly, the style of the film is at times inconsistent - specifically I am thinking of the ending - this was my one criticism. The Northeastern backdrops and stylish hotel interiors helped toConsistently heard negative reviews of this one, but was pleasantly surprised when I finally gave it a chance. THE GHOST WRITER had me guessing the entire way through and was an exciting ride. Admittedly, the style of the film is at times inconsistent - specifically I am thinking of the ending - this was my one criticism. The Northeastern backdrops and stylish hotel interiors helped to create a sophisticated, and, well, damn cool mood throughout. The production designer on this film deserved double whatever he was making. McGregor and Williams are especially great.

    Overall, Polanski's suspenseful THE GHOST WRITER is a solid 8/10.
    -a
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  80. Feb 27, 2015
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Roman Polanski’s political thriller drama is fully loyal to its dramatic elements. It narrates a lifelike story well with subtle strings of thrill revealing a political scandal, as mentioned in the beginning of the movie by Ruth.

    It is a proper movie for adults. It will please them since there are many tricky subtle strings of thrill in the movie which youngsters may just ignore.
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  81. Jul 6, 2016
    7
    Slow-moving suspense that is beautifully filmed and well-acted. Ewan MacGregor is really extraordinary in The Ghost Writer; he dominates the screen by being almost completely self-effacing. That's probably as much a testament to Polanski as it is to MacGregor. I've enjoyed Olivia Williams' acting since A Heart of Me (2002), and she is great again. And though his scenes are few, BrosnanSlow-moving suspense that is beautifully filmed and well-acted. Ewan MacGregor is really extraordinary in The Ghost Writer; he dominates the screen by being almost completely self-effacing. That's probably as much a testament to Polanski as it is to MacGregor. I've enjoyed Olivia Williams' acting since A Heart of Me (2002), and she is great again. And though his scenes are few, Brosnan really gets to chew the dramatic scenery. Speaking of scenery, the north coast of Germany subbed for the Massachusetts coast; it's bleak, sandy and wind-swept. Alexandre Desplat created an oddly unique score; it felt out of place in the beginning, but seemed to fit more and more as relationships were tested and bonds broken.

    So what kept me from giving The Ghost Writer a higher score? While possessed of a clever ending, I didn't find the suspense of the film to be very, well, suspenseful. Even when I didn't know what would happen next, I didn't find myself surprised by what did happen. Given that this is billed as a suspense thriller, it was a bit of a let-down. I still enjoyed the drama and the interplay of relationships, though, so The Ghost Writer is an easy recommendation from that point of view. And Polanski's skills are clearly as sharp as ever.
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Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. This is a slicker, shallower exercise. It's hypnotic as it unfolds, but once the credit roll frees you from its grip, it doesn't bear close scrutiny.
  2. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    50
    What the picture most needed was a complete cinematic rethink and, yes, even some action to move it along.
  3. 70
    If it is possible to watch this work as a movie rather than using it as a referendum on its maker’s guilt or innocence, the audience that craves mature, sophisticated and grown-up entertainment will find much to admire here.