“The Ghost Writer” – The Intelligent Person’s Thriller

March 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

If it’s open in your city, get yourself to the theater … today.  If it’s not yet made it to know your neck-of-the-woods, keep an eye open for its arrival.  The Ghost Writer is a smart and suspenseful thriller, with a political bent.

Roman Polanski directed this adaptation of Robert Harris’s novel The Ghost (prior to his incarceration in a Swiss jail). The screenplay was adapted by Polanski and Harris.   Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Williams, Kim Cattrall, and Jim Belushi star.  McGregor is “The Ghost” of the title.  Hired by the publisher of the memoirs of the former British Prime Minister (Brosnan) after the previous ghost writer is found dead, purportedly a suicide, The Ghost is whisked away to Martha’s Vineyard to access the memoir-in-progress, interview the Prime Minister, and complete the project.  He’s given thirty days to complete the task.  However, from the moment he arrives at the modern home on the gray, windswept beach (this movie is nothing if not visually stunning) it’s clear that things are not as they appear (actually there’s one clue prior to his departure, but I’ll leave that for you to discover).  The Prime Minister’s assistant (Cattrall) is controlling, intense, sexy.  His wife (Williams) is highly intelligent, opinionated, and put-upon.  And the Prime  Minister (Brosan) is … interesting.  McGregor is excellent at The Ghost, pulled along almost as though he can’t help himself (part of him wanting to dig deeper, part of him wanting to flee).

The result is a tight, twisting, brooding film.  You’re never really sure who is telling the truth (or any part of it) and, thus, what’s really going on.  The clues are revealed slowly, as Polanski ratchets up the tension right through to the last minutes.  You won’t want to leave your seat.

Pay attention.  This is a thinking person’s thriller.

Trust me.

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