While Roman Polanski’s reputation as a successful director has been drowned out by the news of his September arrest in Switzerland, his talent in the film industry can’t be denied. And we are reminded of that in his newly released film “The Ghost Writer,” starring Ewan McGregor as The Ghost and Pierce Brosnan as former British Prime Minister Adam Lang
Based on the novel, “The Ghost” by Robert Harris, Polanski sprinkles this film with all the right ingredients – a suspenseful plotline, a wonderful score, goose bumps, and thrills that will leave you on the edge of your seat. After his predecessor’s mysterious death McGregor’s character steps in to complete the memoirs of Adam Lang after his agent Rick Riordian (Jon Berthnall) urges him on and advertises this as a chance of a lifetime. Ultimately ignoring that uneasy feeling that he can’t seem to shake off, and enticed by the pay, The Ghost picks up where former ghost Mike McAra left off only to be thrown into a political mess.
Lang, who’s been accused of turning over terrorist suspects to the CIA for torture, is bombarded with media and threats making the ghost’s job all the more trying, as he too becomes a target. From the moment the ghost is hired he’s mugged, followed by CIA agents, and threatened by Lang protestors. McGregor’s performance as a quiet but curious writer is believable. As he attempts to place the pieces of Lang’s life together he stumbles into an interesting piece of the puzzle that just doesn’t quite fit leading him to uncover the truth about his predecessor’s death.
Brosnan plays a quite moronic Prime Minister, whose scandalous political life is comparable to that of Tony Blair. A minister who seems to think only of himself and not his country, Brosnan’s character is pleasant but not trustworthy. While Lang is out concentrating on what his next morning run will be like, his political-savvy wife Ruth (Olivia Williams) makes the decisions for him. “Sex and the City’s” Kim Cattrall does a fine job as Lang’s political assistant and unspoken mistress, Amelia Bly. Although for fans of Samantha it’s hard to see Cattrall as anyone else but the 40-year-old sex-hungry cougar – and her character’s quiet affair with the Prime Minister only reinforces this image.
To add further real-life drama to the film: It is set on some American Island on the east coast and, based on a few clues, the audience can decipher that Lang’s beach getaway is supposed to be in Martha’s Vineyard. The London scene is quickly shown with just a few shots outside of a few buildings and blocks. With the inability to travel, Polanski’s shot the film in Germany and outsourced other scenes – and at times it’s quite obvious. This lack of a true London and American set is only a reminder of Polanski’s current circumstances and at times might overshadow how fantastic the film really is.
With its blood-racing drama this film will leave you on the edge of your seat, biting your nails and holding your breath all at the same time. “The Ghost Writer” is a must-see and audience members are encouraged to go in if only to appreciate “The Ghost Writer” for what it is – A thrilling experience.