Monday, March 22, 2010


“The GHOST WRITER” (Ewan McGregor & Pierce Brosnan)

A nicely made political thriller reminiscent of a typical Alfred Hitchcock film.
McGregor plays a writer hired to ‘ghost write’ the memoirs of ex-British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Brosnan)
The movie begins with the body of McGregor’s predecessor being washed up onto a beach after his abandoned automobile is found on a ferry. The police come to the conclusion that the drowned writer got drunk and fell off the boat.
As McGregor’s character lands the job off taking over as the ghost writer, Lang’s reputation is being grilled by the news media as his link to the U.S. and backing all of a recent administrations abominations has him labeled a ‘War Criminal’.
Residing in the U.S. at the time of these allegations, Lang’s advisor’s (Timothy Hutton as his American lawyer, among others) tell him a return to England would be unwise.
Olivia Williams plays the Prime Minister’s wife, Ruth. During their first interview, Lang tells the ghost writer that Ruth was responsible for his going into politics in the first place. Ruth seems to have reached the point where she’s tired of politics, except to protect her husband from this onslaught of bad publicity. The fact that he’s clearly having an affair with Amelia, his ‘secretary/PR person/assistant’ (played by Kim Cattrall, finally in a role where I can watch & enjoy her again!) just seems to add to Ruth’s boredom factor.
The secrecy surrounding the manuscript that the drowned writer created isn’t revealed until the final scene, though McGregor searches thru the book for clues every time he’s allowed to view it.
Tom Wilkinson graces the screen with his formidable acting prowess as a prominent businessman with a link to Adam’s pre-political past. As the replacement ghost writer discovers Wilkinson’s Paul Emmett was the last person the original ghost writer met with before his untimely demise, he realizes his life is in danger without having much of a clue as to why...
“The Ghost Writer” builds its momentum slowly (Ala Hitchcock) to the point where every suspicious car on the road & every knock on a door has you wondering if McGregor’s writer will ever get out of this assignment alive.
If I had one thing to complain about with this film, it would be McGregor himself; he’s a somewhat blasé actor in my opinion – he is overwhelmed by Brosnan in almost every scene they appear in together - & no, it isn’t because Brosnan’s playing a bigger than life Prime Minister & McGregor a lowly ghost writer; Brosnan clearly has an onscreen presence (when not singing Abba songs) that McGregor lacks. Fortunately, the storyline and the way it develops are intriguing enough so that a weak actor doesn’t spoil the show.
The Ghost Writer joins Shutter Island & Edge Of Darkness as the clear cut 3 best films of 2010 so far.

1 comment:

dbm said...

If you had to put on a screenwriting 101 class for up and coming screenwriting students, this would be the film to use as an example. It has everything. Forget that the acting is pretty good in it, the writing taps into everything that makes a story interesting in the first place, keeping your attention by not fully revealing it's plot too early, thus keeping your interest piqued.