Roman Polanski hits the big screen with his new psychological thriller, The Ghost Writer starring Ewan McGregor. Despite all the recent drama in his life, Polanski manages to pull another rabbit out of his hat and surprise audiences in a whole new way with this film. From his comedic jabs and clever dialogue to his dramatic use of tone and music, The Ghost Writer had me curiously invested in the film from start to finish.
Let’s take a closer look…
- Director: Roman Polanski
- Writers: Robert Harris (novel “The Ghost”), Robert Harris (adaptation), Roman Polanski (writer)
- Cast: Ewan McGregor, Kim Cattrall, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Williams, Timothy Hutton, Tom Wilkinson, James Belushi, Jon Bernthal
- Score: Alexandre Desplat
- Cinematography: Pawel Edelman
The former British prime minister hires a second ghostwriter to help finish him memoirs after the first ghostwriter mysteriously washes up on shore. As “The Ghost” who is never named begins his work on the project, things begin to go wrong for the ex-prime minister and suddenly his job turns into a mystery that he has to solve before its too late…
- The Humor: There was something very smart and human about the humor in this film. All of the jokes seemed to roll out of the situations naturally and different jokes got different laughs from the audience, depending on how far you were willing to go. My favorite: “He can’t drown all of you, you’re not kittens!” There were a few obvious quips about English Vs. Americans, the ridiculousness of politics and media, and being exiled – all of which felt extremely personal to the director and for lack of a better word, adult. It felt like Polanksi confronted many of recent problems and decided to take the high road by adding a number of subtle and yet humorous jabs at the situation.
- The Story: Although you might be able to see where it’s going, it unfolds rather nicely and has a great pay-off at the end. Despite it’s long run-time, the film had a great old fashioned, detective story feel to it, that almost reminded be a bit of Vertigo in the way that things slowly unravel in an fascinating way.
- Dialogue: Finally some good writing and some good dialogue. Often times when movies are adapted from books, the dialogue and story suffer from the transition — but not in this film. There were a number of great lines delivered by great performances. It was so much fun to actually enjoy watching people talk to one another in a thriller instead of just waiting for the next event to take place.
- Ewan McGregor: He’s the lead of the film and rightly so. There is an ease about McGregor’s performance, which matched perfectly with the tone and humor of the film. The film needed subtlety in order to be pulled off and he does a great job of not only being the focus of the film, but also leading us through the story without ever being too obvious. As previously discussed the humor was quite natural and that’s mainly due to the wonderful performance given by McGregor.
- Run-Time: This is a common problem with films being released lately. It seems like film-makers, studios, whoever is in charge thinks that in order for audiences to get their moneys worth they have keep you in the theaters for over two hours. The film was 128 minutes and it could have easily been reduced to under 110. There’s nothing wrong with a film that gets to the point in 100 minutes!
- Accents: Although a number of them were quite good, it seemed like no one was allowed to use their real accents and yet they all wanted to. There were little slip ups here and there across the board, nothing major but it was noticeable at times.
I found myself enjoying this film much more than I expected. It’s not as in your face as it’s competitor this weekend Shutter Island, but it’s extremely well made and fun to watch unfold.
The Ghost Writer in theaters February 19th!