MOVIE: The Ghost Writer (2010)

It was kind of interesting finally seeing this film.  I had gone to the theater with my husband when it first came out in theaters (months ago) and we’d detoured into a cafe to kill some time first, where for some reason I promptly had a total meltdown.  After making a minor fool out of myself by boo-hooing for no discernible reason in public, we decided we weren’t really in the mood for a movie, bagged the plan, and headed for home.

Now that I’ve seen it, though, I think we made a mistake that night.  Because I’m pretty sure we both would’ve loved this picture and I definitely would’ve been distracted out of my funk by it immediately — sucked deeply into the story and characters, and inspired by the artistic elements of its scenes.  The end of this movie is among the best movie-endings I’ve ever seen (or not seen, more accurately, though this won’t make sense to you unless you’ve seen it yourself);  both my mom and I thought it was absolutely brilliant.  And for me to say that these days, considering who the filmmaker is, is saying quite a lot.  As you may or may not remember, I am no big fan of Roman Polanski The Man.  Roman Polanski The Artist, on the other hand, I cannot deny is a genius.  Whether or not I should let those two things interfere with each other is probably an argument for another time.

The Ghost Writer is about an ex-prime minister of England, Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan), a character clearly based at least in part on Tony Blair.  As the story opens, a writer (Ewan McGregor), known to us only as “The Ghost”  (he’s never given a name, as most ghost writers aren’t), is hired to finish Lang’s memoirs, the original drafter of which recently died in a car accident.

The Ghost ends up moving in with the family as a political scandal erupts involving Lang’s role in the kidnapping and torture of suspected terrorists overseas.  While at first, he bonds strongly with Lang’s wife, Ruth (Olivia Williams, lovely as ever), and seems to be coasting along with his work fairly smoothly, he soon begins to notice things around the Lang household don’t seem quite right.

For one thing, he begins to suspect the “accident” that killed the first ghost writer, a member of Lang’s staff and a close friend, was not actually an accident, and that suspicion only gains in traction once he finds a set of photos and notes hidden in the man’s old room.  Plus, the scandal that’s blown up all of a sudden carries with it the weight of something much greater than it seems:  the CIA, an old professor of Ruth’s, and a former minister who was fired by Lang way back when he was the PM all seem somehow involved in what’s going on.  But HOW?

I don’t want to say too much more than that because part of the thrill of this film is trying to put together the pieces of what is going on.  I will say, though, that I was surprised by how it all worked out, surprised even more by the powerful final scene, and overall extremely impressed.

I really enjoyed this one, despite the icky feeling I get whenever I think the words “Roman Polanski.”   I hate to say it, but I’m kind of looking forward to whatever he does next.

Though I also won’t mind too terribly much if whatever he does next is 5-15 in the slammer.


[Netflix it | Buy it at Amazon]

Genre:  Thriller, Drama
Cast:  Ewan McGregor, Jon Bernthal, Kim Cattrall, Pierce Brosnan,  James Belushi, Olivia Williams, Timothy Hutton, Tom Wilkinson

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3 Responses to “MOVIE: The Ghost Writer (2010)”

  1. Kerri Says:

    It is very true to the novel. I loved both!

  2. marni Says:

    I’ll have to get this one!!

  3. Lanai Says:

    I quite enjoyed this movie…up until the end. I thought that for someone who’d been so sensible and clever throughout the movie, he did a really, really stupid thing. If found the thing he did which led to the ending we’re not mentioning to be rather implausible, given his prior actions. Other than that, excellent!

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