The Ghost [aka The Ghost Writer]

"Excellent"

The Ghost [aka The Ghost Writer] Review


Tightly wound and told without much fuss, this political thriller is captivating and often quite tense even though it doesn't seem to have much visual panache. But Polanski's fiendishly clever and extremely subtle touch is in every frame.

When a successful British ghost-writer (McGregor) is hired to clean up the memoirs of former Prime Minister Adam Lang (Brosnan), he can't quite believe the large paycheque heading his way. He soon relocates to an isolated island home in America to work with Lang, his wife (Williams) and assistant (Cattrall), but it quickly becomes clear that something fishy's going on here.

And maybe the scandalous news reports, about Lang's approval of torture in the War on Terror, are missing the real story.

Yes, the film is eerily current, with a premise that feels torn straight from today's headlines, especially with the Blair-echoing central figure. On the other hand, this relevance is essentially mere subtext to a twisty tale of intrigue that feels just like the paperback potboiler it's based on. As the characters prowl around each other dropping hints that something sinister is going on, we are constantly forced to adjust our expectations.

In the end, the plot is a bit of a joke at the Blairs' expense, but it's still thoroughly engaging. McGregor and Brosnan are marvellously prickly characters who find an uneasy camaraderie when they're not raising each others' hackles.

And strong one-scene side roles for Wilkinson, Wallach and Pugh add loads of texture and interest. But the real star here is Williams, who delivers another remarkably subtle, layered performance that only gets better as the story continues.

All of this is expertly controlled by Polanski with a Hitchcockian grip on every detail, from the eye-catching production design to the swirling gloom of both the darkly clouded skies and Alexandre Desplat's suggestive score. Much of this will pass under the radar of general audiences who will see this as a fairly straightforward thriller without too much action. But Polanski is having a great time infusing the film with wit and innuendo that will keep more alert viewers smiling as he quietly plays with--and undermines--the tabloid-style plot.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.