Saturday, March 20, 2010

"The Ghost Writer" (2010) - Movie Review

It does appear that best of the lot conspiracy thrillers have disappeared along with the 70s and 80s. Though I have not seen the trend in the frequency of such great films as “Three Days of Condor” and “The Marathon Man”, the rhythm and having that keen eye to identify the curiosity of the audience is missing in the so called wannabe films in that genre. “The Ghost Writer” by Roman Polanski brings those memories back and splashes with the modernity of the era, place and the similarity of his film’s people resembling or rather getting inspired from certain historical characters.

A British writer (Ewan McGregor) known for ghosting famous personalities on their autobiographies is offered to get his service for former British Prime Minister named Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan). Living in an island of US territories, Adam is hot from the oven for an alleging information by his fellow cabinet Minister of illegally doing renditions through CIA on suspects of terrorism. The writer arrives knowing the fact that his predecessor died and the completed manuscript needs major correction. Time is limited and the conspiracies are high. Polanski runs the clouds of suspicion through some very interesting characters. All speak a lot but with a concealment buttery and mildly condescending.

The location adds to the mystery of this informal investigation McGregor’s character begins to pursue. A young lad and blatant on what he wants to put forth, he is good rather best at ghosting. He gets the deal and we agree with the selection of Lang’s attorney played by Timothy Hutton. He comes to the island through ferry and is posted in an Inn which is rather too lonely and haunting. The time I did my lonely drive during the winter to the East coast islands of Cape Hatteras and Ocracoke Island, the cottages were empty and the hotels were desolated. The idea of human existence unavailable in the constructions they build especially on an island is unsettling and Polanski takes that attribute to “The Ghost Writer”.

The residence of Adam Lang is a partial glass house exposing left beaches and the waves going unattended. There is a glass wall on each of the room and becomes a symbolism of the exposure this new man for the job is going to find out. It is blatant but not fool proof. There is theory and speculation but no evidence. There is a link between the CIA and the government Lang conducted but is it him shouting the orders, moving the coins?

The writer unaware and uninterested in the politics is pulled into this scheme of things. Adam Lang’s wife Ruth (Olivia Williams) has much awareness of the politics than the Prime Minister himself but he cites her as the reason for his involvement in the game of people governing. Ruth is an unhappy wife reasonably upset on the level of intrusion and control Lang’s close aide Amelia (Kim Cattrall) has. In between these women the writer gets caught.

Polanski in adapting the novel “The Ghost” by Robert Harris as this film is a story teller. There are directors, the best ones in telling a story are more involved in their view than the customer for their films. That is quintessential for an art work. Polanski on the other hand knows his customers and brings them in to his passion of story telling. This could have been a brainless exercise for a film materializing on the commercial capability. It does not settle for that because of the director and the actors.

McGregor is the labelled second grade writer wanting to be more than this. He is also invited by the curiosity these allegations and the people he sees on this man. Pierce Brosnan borderlines on authority and puppetry with a control. And the women in this film, Olivia Williams and Kim Cattrall are perfect for this dangerous temptations yet sympathetic. These two always keep the men and audience on their toes. This gets even better when Tom Wilkinson arrives. “The Ghost Writer” is a professional and thrilling film by Roman Polanski.

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