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.
The Ghost Writer hasn’t the complexity or breadth of such stunners as "Chinatown" or "The Pianist," but it is nevertheless a solidly built little roundelay of intrigue with a veracity that seems torn from newspaper headlines.
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.
he was a craze..
The Ghost Writer
The chewed off intense sequences to build up the thrill is something that is obvious and expected while going in for such premise, but the makers in here keeps it smart and different to which they'll go to any extent and they took the longest way possible i.e. for more than 2 hours that can be easily exhausting. The adaptation by Roman Polanski and Robert Harris is dull and loosely edited that has no amount of crisp or tangent in it which makes the Roman's work harder on terms of execution which he pulls it off like a magic rabbit. On performance level there isn't much to look forward to although Ewan McGregor has done a decent work but isn't supported to that bar by either Pierce Brosnan or Olivia Williams. The Ghost Writer is a feature that you may think about while watching it and might even enjoy as the story enfolds in each phase but as soon as you are off the hook, it will cease to exist.
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 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.