Ghost Writer, The
So I’ve just finished The Ghost Writer, and I do wish there were more movies made like this one. It was a wonderful, well written, suspenseful thriller. There were moments of high tension, high drama, intrigue, danger, action and even humour. While the style of the film did not seem it, the story seemed to have many Hitchcock-esque overtones.
Everything clicks in this movie. The weather; which changes from the bright beginning, overcast introduction, slight chance of showers to a full out storm, and then back again; is expertly crafted with the narrative going on around it. The score works well, from the incidental music to the use of the ringing telephones. Polanski has chosen an excellent cast as well, and it was very nice to see Eli Wallach still working, and delivering a great, though small performance. Olivia Williams was excellent in her role as the former Prime Minister’s wife, though I find it a little curious that she was cast given the age difference between her and Brosnan. In fact one part of the film puts her at Cambridge in 1974 when Olivia herself would have only been six years old. This is a minor thing though, as her character was very intriguing.
The plot is rather simple in its complications. A former British Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan) hires a ghost writer to help finish his autobiography after the death of his last ghost writer. Was the death an accident? A suicide? A murder? The ghost writer (Ewan McGregor) comes in just as the PM is thrust back into the international spotlight with allegations of war crimes. From here on, clues are discovered, and you really don’t know who the “good guys” really are. I will admit that I did solve one main plot line on my own, probably a good half an hour or so before the reveal, as it was pretty obvious and the clues are all there for you. I must say I enjoyed this, not to toot my own horn, but because I do really dislike movies that purposely hold back the clues so you could never, ever guess an ending until they want you to. This being said, there are still plenty of shockers at the end of the film that will keep you entertained.
A nice touch is that you never learn the name of McGregor’s character. The “Ghost” is simply there, and never addressed or introduced by name by anyone or to anyone. Even the subtitles of the DVD introduce his off screen lines as “GHOST: xxxxx”.
There are many similarities to Brosnan’s Lang and Ex PM Tony Blair, but really, I found the story and directing to take a life of their own, and leave their real life comparisons and inspirations to their own ends. This film was a bit long at 2 Hours 8 Minutes, but really didn’t seen to drag or have any scenes that could have been cut out. All that was included was there for a reason, and a lot goes on in the background and even in the off camera dialogue, that is great if you pay attention to it.