The Ghost Writer Reviews
I don't think we (thankfully) see a gun actually shot in anger during the whole movie which for a political thriller must be a sort of feat.
The Ghost Writer revolves around an unnamed writer who, after the mysterious death of the former British Prime Minister‚??s Adam Lang‚??s ghost writer, is recruited by a large publishing company to complete his memoirs in two weeks. As our protagonist travels a lengthy distance to the village of Old Haven in Massachusetts, he is checked into a small hotel and taken to Lang‚??s house to read the manuscript the former ghost writer had written, an item whose removal is forbidden. As our protagonist begins his work, he builds information on Lang, his student life and sleeps with his wife. As Lang is accused of war crimes, reporters and protestors swarm the island, yet our protagonist couldn‚??t be more isolated in his search for a dark secret stumbled upon by the previous ghost writer. With our protagonist building his case in secrecy, he finds himself in the deep end, just as the previous ghost writer was, but can he avoid the same fate?
The Ghost Writer is like fitting a puzzle together; a story that mysteriously unravels itself into one of lies, deceit and corruption. It features a gripping story at the heart of it that requires much attention be paid on what is said otherwise it will be quite difficult to capture on what is happening. Nevertheless, the politically orientated story is a remarkable story that spends half of its time emphasising the mysteries behind the story and the other half shrouding these mysteries in politics, but that by no means can be described as a turn-off because Polanski‚??s grace makes The Ghost Writer feel light on politics. Yet, we feel the gravitas of the consequences that come with overreaching and trespassing boundaries, especially those of one of the most politically powerful men on the planet who supposedly killed a man and cheated his way through government. Even more, it warns of the actual mysteries there are to be solved in the corrupted real-world politics. The mistake The Ghost Writer makes is that the final revelation is revealed in the most non-climactic way there is, ruining the intensity of the story that wasn‚??t given more time to thrive now we know the outcome.
Ewan McGregor stars as our protagonist, a ghost writer with no name. The fact that he is never named adds to the mystery of his job, yet to the futility, making his position untenable. He could die at any moment knowing the fate of the previous ghost writer, and McGregor evokes this futility by treading almost in the background of everything, only being our protagonist. Pierce Brosnan‚??s former British PM, Adam Lang, is a very pompous leader at the very start, but as the story unfolds, we hate him less, and this is down to the mastery of the story that allows us to think in a way where we are deceiving ourselves and not recognising that Lang is merely a pawn. And Olivia Williams‚?? Ruth Lang gives a stressful performance that can be summed up quite simply as a magic trick. Her melodramatic nature seems to cover up her true personality as quite a conniving person trying to divert us from the truth. We dislike her throughout the film, but Williams shows such stubbornness in her husband‚??s affairs how could we not guess she was much more important than a conjugal ploy.
The atmosphere The Ghost Writer generates is integral to the story and somewhat dictates our perspective of it. First off, McGregor must travel such a long distance to get to Lang‚??s home that isolation defines his character. From a long distance plane, to a smaller plane, then a ferry and finally a car, the atmosphere is quarantined even further by the weather, with its overcast skies, windy outlook and dark feeling to the isle‚??s location. Pawel Edelman‚??s cinematography is just spot on to not notice the fact that it is very much a story component. Adding this to the fact that McGregor isn‚??t meant to be there, we could simply be watching a dream of a ghost! This sense of hopelessness that something is not right in the air forces us to get the feeling that when this mystery is solved and everything put right, then the subdued atmosphere will lift, but till then the hopeless surroundings do amazing things in keeping this ambiance of danger afloat.
The Ghost Writer has all the features behind a typical political tale, which in turn lures us in to the roots of the story and heightens our distrust for typical political conventions. You can‚??t deny after watching this film your distrust and hatred for the corruption and secrecy of politics will have grown a bit more than what it already is, with our understanding of news reports, statements, accusations, memoirs and protestors challenged, and our respect for this film heightened. The story is told so well politically, and guided thrillingly by its director, that all the beneficial elements that come with such a tale ‚?? paranoia, mystery, puzzle-like unravelling of the story and the possible implications of its content ‚?? are achieved and heightened to the point where the film confidently glides to its conclusion.
Adam Lang is very much a criticism of one of the major political figures of the early 21st century: Tony Blair. The Ghost Writer is a thinly veiled critique of the former British PM who was as important to British politics as Thatcher was. Blair was a decent leader, but his time in charge is marred by Britain‚??s involvement in the Iraq war, and the inability to escape the war signalled Blair‚??s end as PM and the beginning of his life of tarnishing. But, who knows Blair could have been a pawn guided by his wife, Cherie Blair, the prime manipulator, just as Ruth Lang is in the film. Her sinister edge is scary, but the real-world political connotations raised in the film are terrifying. Considering author Harris was once a devout supporter of Blair and the Labour Party, his sudden decline of support is quite shocking, and the story potentially quite unrealistic considering his oppositional views. But then again, politics is a mirage for most of us and we will never understand the truth behind what we saw, so it‚??s down to us to mould our own opinion despite The Ghost Writer‚??s disparaging depictions.
Polanski knows what he is doing at all times with the thriller genre, and in The Ghost Writer, he seamlessly navigates the edges of this story with such control the film automatically becomes suffocating because we are barraged with thrilling filmmaking by a man who knows the genre inside out.
Guided by strong performances and interesting characters, not to mention a fascinating atmosphere and political story, The Ghost Writer merely confirms that Roman Polanski can still thrill.