Review: The Ghost Writer (2010)

| 22 August , 2010 | Reply

Keeva Stratton, Quip Creative

Directed by: Roman Polanski
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall

When the eponymous ghostwriter (McGregor) takes on the highly sensitive task of writing the memoirs of the former British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Brosnan), he soon finds himself entangled in a complicated political conspiracy that has consequences deeper than he could have expected. Tasked with shedding a positive light on Lang\’s time in office, that had been marred over a recent controversy surrounding the use of torture as an interrogation method and the suggestion of war crimes (sound familiar?), the ghostwriter faces more than one moral conundrum in his search for the truth.

When he discovers that his predecessor died under mysterious circumstances, he soon picks up the trails of his predecessor\’s research, only to find that the more he uncovers, the greater he begins to feel at risk. Is he going to make it out alive, or has he succumbed to an overactive sense of paranoia? Adding to this, while Lang appeared at first to be only a slightly controversial figure, the more the plot unfolds the more it becomes apparent that Lang may only be a puppet in a much larger, much darker story.

Set in the remote American beachside estate in the heart of winter, this intense thriller is equal parts dark and chilling, brimming with trademark Polanski suspense. The combination of McGregor, Brosnan and a refreshingly sharp Kim Cattrall (Sex and The City) as the Prime Minister\’s personal secretary make for a solid combination, and the subplots of sexual tension and political suspicion are deeply effective.

Political thrillers that pose thought-provoking hypotheticals are rare, and good ones, even rarer. The Ghost Writer succeeds in making you wonder about the capacity of these large political forces and larger-than-life personages to commit immoral crimes largely unnoticed and unaccounted for. It also begs the broader and perhaps more malevolent question: who is, in fact, pulling their strings? There are not so subtle suggestions of real world conspiracy laced throughout this fictional thriller, and, given Polanski\’s very public run-ins with authority, such pointed critique seems only natural – but it makes for truly brilliant cinema nonetheless.

Not to be missed, The Ghost Writer is in cinemas now.


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Category: Film & TV

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