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The Ghost Writer

A movie directed by Roman Polanski

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4 stars: Are you sure you want to know, what you want to know?

  • Jul 23, 2010

 Roman Polanski 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 Writer” Polanski proves to everyone that although he may be down but he is never out.




Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer" is a film that relies heavily on atmosphere the atmosphere is everything when it comes to a thriller of this caliber if you do not feel the tension then there truly will be no tension. You see in theses days  with high gloss action thrillers like "Mission: Impossible" series, The Bourne trilogy all the thrillers are turned into high octane action pictures with wall to wall action and inane dialogue, The Bourne  trilogy  being the exception in this case. "The Ghost Writer" is not an action thriller it is suspenseful but not in the conventional way. It does not have huge explosions tons of armed men shooting at the hero  chasing him through some small  jungle country  no, this film does one better it is a calm thriller, a steady thriller an intelligent and engrossing thriller that keeps you invested in what is going on with theses colorful and dark characters. What they are doing is extremely interesting how the unnamed hero goes upon solving the complex mystery he has found himself tangled up in this complex and ever-intriguing film that never lets you down even in the face of a less than riveting ending. What I like most about this film is the tense and present moody atmosphere that seems to possess every scene, this film is a conspiracy thriller but it is also part noir and the key elements of both are very visible throughout the film that makes this movie a deep and enveloping film. The dark cinematography, the electric direction and the sharp, highly intelligent script by Polanski and Robert Harris helps make this seemingly conventional conspiracy thriller a cut above the rest.




This is the kind of film  that keeps you guessing all the way  to the end  that is hard to come by theses day where almost every thriller ends with a huge fight between the hero/heroine and the villain, a bloody shootout  or the hero being killed in the end for what he/she knows. The thing with "The Ghost Writer" is that there is no villain. There is no hero, there are only real people a corrupt politician, his wife, his secretary, and the ghostwriter who is at the center of all the corruption, murder, and deceit is the focus of this tightly bound film a film that proves to be far more than it is appears.





Ewan McGregor is another actor I am a fan of sadly I have not seen many of his films besides the Star Wars prequel trilogy, "Angels and Demons" (2009), "The Island'(2005) and now Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer". McGregor's gives one  of, if not the best, performance  of his career  as the anonymous ghost writer who gets wrapped up in a dangerous web of deadly secrets and sinister truths. McGregor plays this role with a subtle yet fiery sense of duty he gives everything he got to this role and in the end it pays offs big time. Pierce Brosnan  has given some great performances and then some not so great performances in this film Brosnan gives one of the very best performances of his long career  as the seemingly corrupt former British Prime  Minister Adam Lang(who is a thinly disguised mock up of Tony Blair). Brosnan is not as subtle as McGregor  he  gives a fiery and powerful  performances that is steeped with anger and resentment  that  is neither  over the top or poorly acted  it is perfectly suited for this kind of film  the kind of film that needs actors that are  calm, cool, collected and totally in command of there said role. Brosnan is in top form in a thriller that is far superior to others. The rest of the cast including Olivia Williams, Kim Cattrall, Robert Pugh, Jim Belushi,  Eli Wallach and Timothy Hutton  all deliver  stellar supporting in this film that proves that Polanski still has what it takes to tango with the fat cats.





"The Ghost Writer” is not a film that everyone will agree with some will call it overly political and bland. Others will find it  an engaging and  absorbing political/conspiracy thriller  that just keeps throwing out twist after twist after twist and never lets you figure out who is lying to who, who is  behind what and what is going on with theses shady people until the shocker of a finale. "The Ghost Writer" is an inspired piece of work a brilliant and enticing thriller that is neither boring nor dull and puts to mind what really goes on with theses politicians when the camera is not on them.


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July 26, 2010
Great review, to be honest I don't even remember this coming out.
July 26, 2010
It was released in limited so it completely slipped under the radar the only way I knew about ti was the fact I use meta critic to check out the new releases. And thank you.
August 04, 2010
the dvd is out now, Alex.
July 23, 2010
I was curious about this when I heard about it in theaters but I think I'll hold off. Thanks for the review.
July 23, 2010
No problem.
More The Ghost Writer (2010) reviews
review by . August 04, 2010
THE GHOST WRITER begins in medias res - no credits, no lead in, just a dead body lying along the coast of either Cape Cod or Martha's Vineyard, and this creepy beginning remains the tenor throughout this very smart and very gripping drama based on the book 'The Ghost' by Robert Harris as adapted for the screen by the author and by the director Roman Polanski (the Cape Cod/Martha's Vineyard scenes were shot in Germany due to the political decisions about Polanski's being in the US). This is one of …
Quick Tip by . October 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I think I liked the book better, but the movie's certainly well worth watching and very nicely done.
Quick Tip by . September 28, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This film had real potential to be a great thriller and it benefits from a masterful director, a strong script, a good cast, and suspenseful music. Unfortunately, the "twist ending" was terribly predictable and the finale left a lot to be desired.
Quick Tip by . August 16, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Although at times a little slow & puzzling, it manages to stay captivating and entertaining till the very end. Reasonably good movie if you're into politics.
review by . June 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I wasn't sure about this movie initially, but it was one of the options on my trans-pacific flight and starred Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor so I thought I tried it. I typically don't like these sorts or mystery thrillers, but this one was pretty compelling. Aside from the fact that the Brosnan character (Prime Minister Adam Lang) sounds suspiciously like Tony Blair, the plot is both original and well-developed. It takes some great twists and turns. Definitely entertaining, Brosnan and McGregor …
Quick Tip by . July 23, 2010
An absorbing, highly intelligent and meticulously conspiracy/political thriller that defines the meaning of the conspiracy thriller by taking the sub-genre back to the days when theses types of movies were at the top of there game. The Ghost Writer" is a classic film with a modern twist.
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C.R. Lopez ()
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Member Since: Nov 6, 2009
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Oscar-winning director Roman Polanksi (The Pianist) teams up with author-screenwriter Robert Harris (Enigma) for this twisty political thriller. Ewan McGregor plays an unnamed ghostwriter who signs on to pen the memoirs of former British prime minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan). The money is good, but there's a catch: the ghost's predecessor perished under mysterious circumstances (his body washed up on the shore in an apparent suicide). Being the adventurous sort, the ghost puts that information aside and travels to Lang's austere compound on Martha's Vineyard, where he meets Lang's efficient personal secretary, Amelia (Kim Cattrall, good but for an inconsistent accent), and acerbic wife, Ruth (An Education's Olivia Williams). Just as he's wading through Lang's dull text, the PM's ex-cabinet minister accuses him of handing over suspected terrorists to the CIA, fully aware that torture would be on the agenda. The next thing the ghost knows, he's working for a possible war criminal, and the deeper he digs, the more convinced he becomes that Lang is lying about his past. After exchanging a few words with a sharp-eyed old man (Eli Wallach) and a tight-lipped professor (Tom Wilkinson), he realizes his life may also be at risk. Then, while Lang hits the road to proclaim his innocence, the ghost gets to know Ruth better--muchbetter. If the conclusion feels a little glib, Polanksi tightens the screws with skill, McGregor enjoys his best role ...
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Director: Roman Polanski
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Thriller
Release Date: February 19, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Robert Harris
DVD Release Date: August 3, 2010
Runtime: 128 minutes
Studio: Summit Entertainment
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