Celebrated director Roman Polanski has bigger things to worry about it than the success of his latest offering. If you’re not already aware then essentially Polanski had sex with a thirteen year old girl in 1977 (he was 33 at the time), fled the USA for France, and the French sheltered him up until 2009. Unfortunately for him Uncle Sam has a long memory and Polanski was arrested in Switzerland and may or may not be extradited to the States to carry out his (as yet undetermined) sentence.
Back to The Ghost (titled The Ghost Writer in the USA) and we are offered a film adaptation of the Robert Harris novel The Ghost, starring Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor. Both actors put in fine performances in each of their previous films this year – Remember Me and I Love You Phillip Morris respectively. A thriller in which Tony Blair inspired character Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan), former British Prime Minister, meets the new ghost writer of his autobiography (Ewan McGregor). Bizarrely the ghost writer is never named in the film, and is as such an unnamed character, though I never noticed this until I check on the internet for the character’s name.
Following the apparent suicide of Adam Lang’s ghost writer, a new man with a record for success in short time is called up for the task by the publishers. Lang is in trouble, like Blair there is talk of him being tried as a war criminal for handing over terrorist suspects to be tortured by the CIA, unlike Blair there seems to be a good chance of such a trial by the International Criminal Court going ahead. Attempting to seize upon the publicity, the ghost writer is required to knock Lang’s manuscript into a sellable book in double quick time. As a thriller there is much intrigue and numerous twists. Not to give anything away here the first obvious question to be answered is what exactly happened to the previous ghost writer?
The tone of the film is perfect, as you might expect from Polanski. The acting is up to par, and the camera work is refreshing in that it is free from. THE latest!!! tR3nD in M0V135 to, chop – and change ~ with SUPER-fast editing *close up of television remote*. Instead the camera is pointed at the characters and the story is allowed to flow naturally. Numerous reviews have said this to be a Hitchcockian film. It is true that the tone of the movie leaves you constantly feeling as though something is hidden. Hitchcock’s films are godlike. This film is decidedly more average. However the more classical style of the film is much appreciated. Yet what thrillers live and die on is the plot. Is it believable? Does it work? Ermm, not really. It all starts off swimmingly and the intrigue builds. The twists are pretty darn thrilling. But as the film reconciles it’s slow and somewhat humble start with the somewhat silly ending you do come out feeling a little peeved.
Overall an enjoyable experience, it is one of the better offerings you’re local cinema will have for you this year. Polanski rarely throws up a dud, and this one certainly has hints of genius at the core. A good film, its flaws hold it back from greatness.