Posted on 8/09/10 01:36 PM
First, there was a drink. Then the drugs came. Lastly, the performance started. Unless if you?re a crying BP executive, everybody knows Roman Polanksi, possibly one of our versatlie filmmakers in modern day suck-up reels. But even a guy like that can get such scath. Rewinding all the way back to 1977, Roman disgustingly picked up a young girl ? late in her doll years, early in pre-teen duds and certainly not a prostitute ? drugged, raped and performed a nasty conclusion of oral sex on her. The case pitterpattered all over the place, puke and yeuk. What?s sickening is that Roman pleaded not guilty on banging that tortured kid. Slammed by a psychological mess-up syndrom, he?s begging others that he isn?t a crook, while others are just banging on him. She was just a little girl with a daisy on top of her head. She was 13.
Guilts also have their talents. Aside from being a child molestor and a wanted man in the US, Roman?s had his side of the bang. Embarking from great neo-noir genres to juicy gumpacks full of salty black humor and weirdo rapists, this lad?s been with us for more than 40 years. After Monroe and way before nifty laptops, there were Knife in the Water?s, Break up the Dance?s, The Lamp?s, A Taste for Women?s and other destined-for-Criterion progidies. In the late ?60?s, early ?70?s, he finally stamped his signature in Chinatown ? about a badass Jack Nicholson and some rape case gone mad. (Hmmm, sound familiar?) Earlier, later works include the darker, devilish sprawl in Rosemary?s Baby, infamous for a satanic rape scene, another zipper that should?ve flied right open that something?s a bit messed up about brilliant Roman.
The rest is history. After a wazoo full of five Oscar noms with a couple of wins (modernized kids and gadget freakazoids finally had the chance to meet the crazy gamble in 2001?s Best Director win for The Pianist), an older Roman has his share of trusting no one. You have to get sorta irked out when most of his films document surreal rape fights, warped horny fathers who want to beat up their daughters, and well, incest-titive barf bags who like to take over poor little girls. Sure, he knows how to creep up behind us ominously and use subtle tricks to scrap up a handsome piece of work into an ugly, horrific message. But a freak of nature is inside his FB life: personal but public; sweaty and controversial; zero friends, but a celeb. Yes, Roman can be in for the books and all. Thing is, when you have the ad and the advocate, you have some serious ad-lib amock.
Geniuses are naturally messed-up in minds. (Yeah, this is a lame excuse for Roman.) Long story short: he had his share with a checkered past, some edgy footwear, nasty cologne, dirty duvet sheets. Head over heels, this filmmaker trumps every other on pulling a Bate victim, mama?s boy and dangerous director, if there?s any such trend on Twitter. With glamorous medals on his chest, his left and right are soaked with then-wife Sharon Tate and her grosteque murder in ?69, before her husband?s disgusting crime. Killed by infamous bad guy, Charles Manson, the obligatory interrogation with Roman was cut short suspiciously. His films now range from bitter sad mess, yelling freaks or maybe a middling tsk-tsking of ? sigh, again rape and their bad influence. Shakling off forenic files and the how-to-win obvious court case, Roman woes as low as he can go.
Back gets broken agian. Back in the day, when Roman was at his fullest melancholy stress attacks, claustrophobia was an A for effort obsession. ?68?s Repulsion and other works shot in nippy B&W was that trademark horror he sprawled up in wet dreams. After moving to France to hide from US officials, Hollywood?d scripts and a $650,000+ fine he?s mostly been, er, under the weather. A bit too all-that for his age, he retrieved a lifetime award in Switzerland. He went over his tounge in front of Swiss police. Things like that would only happen to an ironic tragedy-of-the-week dung ? the other stuff arrests the zillionaire criminals who hang out with the behemoths near snail menus. Strings of his earlier works come about as Stone Age juice, but surprisingly, chase back his spine like psyhic?s oujia boards.
Humble is still here. Based on Robert Harris? bestselling scary politico tale, Polanski?s The Ghost Writer shows how mad a runaway?s nutjob really is. During his pricky plight in hiding, US extradiction, jail time, bigwig?s cash and yet still, a lingering ghost of Sharon, Roman powes an efect, leaves it for a take-5 hiatus, then fast-forwards a couple of tell-all 5 secs, and then resumes stealthy. So we don?t understand where we?re going. All the complicated chess masters around the corner get connected: who?s who, why the guy over there was fishy, why she?s suspicious and why those group of men were actually the good guys, etc. We can only guess what eerie plot holes can still be struck twice by the same ol? Roman. But, hey, doesn?t that title just remind you of sad men who have to impassivley pass mad spirits? Seeing the undead remind us a ton of cringy Romanesque sleaze.
Seriously, there?s nothing too happy about his ghost. Grainy and even wetter, this political shocker has every trace of a poor little innocent. Infamous and accused of bent war crimes, Ex-Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Broson) has that pizzazz and the ba-boom of a good-looking leader with slick coiff, thick eyebrows, and subtle eyes. Mad yuppies, happy voters, and angry soccer moms climb up his shoulders telling him that they hate (or love) his leadership. Like any other cocky dude, Lang wants to ?write? his own autobio about his wonderful, awesome historical journey that?s just too important and awesome and cool ? yeah, whatever. Of course, how could a guy who gets five calls per minute telling him he?s a murderer and have riots eating the guts outta his lims, write all that crap? He calls in The Ghost (Ewan McGregor), a wiser geek who can actually, uhm, write, instead of reciting buffoony one-liners.
LIE ANOTHER DAY
Things get fishier. A wee older than a 20-something, The Ghost, a tweeb who can?t even snap a No. 2 pencil while drafting, discovers he?s a cheechako of a swallowing dirty buisness. He?s stuck in a haunted Minster?s yacht ? polluted shorelines come crashing in while winds go 90 mph against strong glass windows. Reports go flying berserk, helicopter secetaries (one like Kim Cattrall?s Amelia Bly) hover state after state. The Prime Minister?s murky mansion is like the White House gone hemlock. Lang?s leadership fries away from that ?crime? that took place ? no blackmaling crap anymore. This really did happen by the CIA; some mean bogy is under the political prank. And as if something really needed to get even less misty, his earlier Ghost, Mike McAra, was found washed up on shore by booze-driven doom. Drunk, drown, bye-bye. Or so they say. Ruth Lang (Olivia Williams) is sickened to the gut by her husband?s lady tramps, gov?t excuses, bitter and haterish. Seriously, the writer has more important duties than jotting down memories about Lang, his college years, his girlfreinds, etc. The poor writer gets mugged. A car quietly chases him down to a ferry. Someone tries to kill him. What?s a ghost writer suppoused to do?!
A gapped-tooth dork turned 007?d whodunit Holmes isn?t part of Roman?s hobgoblin. The clincher here is that while things go bleep off a bit on the wrong side, emergiencies are wayy too calm and murder guts come off slick and suavee as collar undershirts and white collars. It?s quiet near a pouring Birt?s place. The Ghost shelters in shady motels (only to be caught by some creeper who despises Lang), sleeps with cougar Ruth (only to find out that sneaky Amelia does more jobs than listed for Lang)? et al. There comes a mushy point where this unlucky writer could care freaking less about whistleblowing a politican?s second girlfreind or the grade they got on a big test and the rest of his stupid smart life. All he wants to find out is who murdered McAra, how Lang found himself in a dirty deck, and if he?ll end up in a beer-smellin? shoreline, unconscience or plain dead.
The Ghost needs to hide. Lang?s candid hiding spot in America is probably like Roman?s quaint France: haunted, fancy, huge and way too obvious that something is, ay, curropted. Not only is there a woed lost Ruth (Sharon anyone?!), and eager publishers who receive suspicious slaps in the face, even suspects lock the too naïve citizens, something that a Brit leader wouldn?t chew on. Professor Paul Emmett (Tom Wilkinson, the old guy whose always the suspect) slyly sneaks into every Lang photgraph, a creepy dude who?s on The Ghost?s wanted list, 24/7. ?Take a left, and you get back to the ferry. Take a right,? Emmett slows down, ?and you?ll get lost in the woods, and maybe, nowhere to be found.? Is Emmett behind all this whatever mess? Or is someone else teaming with the naughty CIA? Yikes. You haven?t seen the rest of the sketch bunch.
It?s classic mud. Sure, this Roman can make you sweat bullets with borin-looking convos about Prime Minsters and writers who document Cambridge years and college perfume. But it?s watersheding that chap dare-to-look feel: a dectective who rides on top of wet reflections, curbs that are too soily to ever recognize, things that go running behind him on a very rainy afternoon. While all Jakes and Humphreys are farewell, stuck in TCM attenas, Ewan brings in a classier adroit at guys who look like nobodys, but really are the hot playas. You see something on TV about cops, you get the yesteryear sugar and spice chemistry, the laughs and then right after, a censored sucker punch, and finally, some dinner sequence with flying Fettuchini and grounded gernades. Oh, please. 9/11 terriosm is the main entrée here, not who-hated-who. Conspiracies go afloat in a murky Sunday. Uptight nerds with brown wear vs. the old men with big glasses and gel hairdos, deft gazillion masterminds. Instead of toppling a loaded truck, snapping the evil sidekick?s fingers, or masterin? disguises in a blink, looking sexxxy is the last thng The Ghost wants to do. Yeah, he rides. But with a bike. Not even a motorcycle. Madoff?s skills are quick to microwave and effective: bank numbers, buisness with eggheads, blah blah meetings with the fantod VIPs. The Ethan Hunt flair gets old that quick.
That?s the blam and bullets, right there. With the surrender of a filmmaker who just doesn?t want to go to jail like a man, Lang can?t return to the UK. If he does take that retarded chance of being shot by some religio-kitsh, a memoir floats the boat, and conspiracies touch the chandelier. It?s a pity that some unknown writer has to do all the hard work, solving the drunk jigsaws, jinxed just and then the mayor won?t know a thing about the tweeb. ?Goddamn politics? can go up someone?s butt. But when you have a courtroom that?s too small for a serious no-no from a leader of dampy England, walls go all the way up to streets and you?re in trouble. You have the sense that Roman?s shouting, ?I?m not a crook!? all day long, throughout Lang?s white teeth. When the Ghost gets his ride on, he swaps his notepad and No. 2 pencil, and faces the men in suits and hefty Sperrys, tellin? them that he?s the ninja, and they?re the evil superspies. Less roided out military studs are the Wall Street saviors, and more intelligent gentlemen populate than the gruf guidos in a grainy Brit Friday night. In contrast, all Lang does is snap his fingers twice and a private jet comes all the way from the other side. That?s fine. Act like a good ol? chap as if nothing?s fucked up in your life.