The Ghost [aka The Ghost Writer]

"Excellent"

The Ghost [aka The Ghost Writer] Review


Tightly wound and told without much fuss, this political thriller is captivating and often quite tense even though it doesn't seem to have much visual panache. But Polanski's fiendishly clever and extremely subtle touch is in every frame.

When a successful British ghost-writer (McGregor) is hired to clean up the memoirs of former Prime Minister Adam Lang (Brosnan), he can't quite believe the large paycheque heading his way. He soon relocates to an isolated island home in America to work with Lang, his wife (Williams) and assistant (Cattrall), but it quickly becomes clear that something fishy's going on here.

And maybe the scandalous news reports, about Lang's approval of torture in the War on Terror, are missing the real story.

Yes, the film is eerily current, with a premise that feels torn straight from today's headlines, especially with the Blair-echoing central figure. On the other hand, this relevance is essentially mere subtext to a twisty tale of intrigue that feels just like the paperback potboiler it's based on. As the characters prowl around each other dropping hints that something sinister is going on, we are constantly forced to adjust our expectations.

In the end, the plot is a bit of a joke at the Blairs' expense, but it's still thoroughly engaging. McGregor and Brosnan are marvellously prickly characters who find an uneasy camaraderie when they're not raising each others' hackles.

And strong one-scene side roles for Wilkinson, Wallach and Pugh add loads of texture and interest. But the real star here is Williams, who delivers another remarkably subtle, layered performance that only gets better as the story continues.

All of this is expertly controlled by Polanski with a Hitchcockian grip on every detail, from the eye-catching production design to the swirling gloom of both the darkly clouded skies and Alexandre Desplat's suggestive score. Much of this will pass under the radar of general audiences who will see this as a fairly straightforward thriller without too much action. But Polanski is having a great time infusing the film with wit and innuendo that will keep more alert viewers smiling as he quietly plays with--and undermines--the tabloid-style plot.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:


Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Amy Movie Review

Amy Movie Review

As with his Formula One documentary Senna, filmmaker Asaf Kapadia cleverly uses archival footage to...

Terminator Genisys Movie Review

Terminator Genisys Movie Review

This declining franchise really needed a jolt to the head, but the producers disappointingly opt...

Magic Mike XXL Movie Review

Magic Mike XXL Movie Review

Resisting the temptation to capitalise on the camp value of these characters, Channing Tatum and...

She's Funny That Way Movie Review

She's Funny That Way Movie Review

Wacky enough to make us smile but never laugh out loud, this screwball comedy harks...

Advertisement
Everly Movie Review

Everly Movie Review

A relentless onslaught of violent action, this movie is notable mainly because there's a woman...

Slow West Movie Review

Slow West Movie Review

First-time feature filmmaker John Maclean takes a strikingly original approach to the Western, creating a...

Mr. Holmes Movie Review

Mr. Holmes Movie Review

Despite this being a film about Sherlock Holmes, the fact that it's not much of...

Entourage Movie Review

Entourage Movie Review

Both shameless and shamelessly entertaining, this relentlessly boyish movie carries on exactly as the TV...

Advertisement