Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Ghost Writer (2010)

Posted on 10:15 PM by Paolo

'The Ghost Writer' Review
By Paolo Sardinas

It would seem that Polanski is one of, if not the only, director alive who knows perfectly well how to create paranoia on the big screen. His classic films like Repulsion show perfectly well the capabilities of a paranoid person when under extreme situations. After spending most of his young life living in an intense fear of paranoia (running from the Nazis as a child, growing up in Communist era Poland), Polanski knows what it is. That's why his latest film, The Ghost Writer, plays out so perfectly well. Its hard to ignore the director's current "predicament" but its hard to ignore his art. 

The Ghost Writer, his first in four years, follows an author (played by Ewan McGregor who is tasked to write the memoir of an exiled and controversial British prime minister named Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan who is the best thing about this film). Yes, feel free to make the Tony Blair connections. McGregor is the replacement for Lang's former "ghost" writer, oh by the way McGregor is never given a name, he's just the "ghost", who was found dead in the water, ala Chinatown. Now of course no one just "falls" into a roaring body of water. Luckily that first "ghost writer" wrote a first draft of the new memoir.

Now of course that writer dies days before a controversial new scandal would arise claiming that Lang approved the act of torturing suspects in the Middle East. But of course a Polanski political thriller isn't like everyother political thriller. This one features an outstanding cast which also includes Olivia Williams playing Lang's strong and, quite frankly, powerful wife and Kim Catrall (yes from Sex and the City) playing his assistant. McGregor begins to investigate this political conspiracy and the death of his predecessor and unravels a rather twisty plot.

Unlike other political thrillers, Polanski takes the time to truly delve into a story. Lighting up the screen with an intense feeling of suspense. Is it a slow burn, yes, but its a good burn. The film, based off of a novel by Robert Harris, is engrossing. It follows one story and then, when least expect it, it turns around into something else.

The film's acting, like I already mentioned, is superb. Real performances which help bring the screen and characters to life. McGregore shines in his role, one which is fits him perfectly. I personally haven't been to satisfied by his latest performances; he returns to the screen with this role which is, arguably, one of his best. Pierce Brosnan plays that exiled prime minister to a T and delivers the most compelling performance on the screen. Also making an appearance is the always great Tom Wilkinson playing a rather shady character. Polanski leads all of these fine actors in a rather outstanding film which is not his best but is, for a film edited in a prison cell, rather extraordinary.


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