The Ghost Writer (2010) Review

director: Roman Polanski

writers: Robert Harris & Roman Polanski

starring: Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall and Olivia Williams

genre: Thriller

released: March 19, 2010 (U.S.) 

The bad thing about great films is how difficult it is to talk about what makes them great without spoiling them in the process. Not that all great films are like this but "the Ghost Writer" is. And many films can be more easily analyzed and talked about when the said film has been seen by all. But no matter, Roman Polanski new film is a return to form and one of the best films of the year.


Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) is the ex-prime minister of England who is preparing his memoirs at his vacation home in Cape Cod. His ghost writer and close friend died and is need of a replacement ghost writer. Man/Ghost (Ewan McGregor) is hired for the job and is to start immediately on the book. With hesitance to take the job everything starts off without a hitch. But slowly things change as a very simple job of ghost writing turns into a investigation of the man himself. From the death of the previous writer to allegations for crimes on lang the new ghost writers job has become complicated as he try to write a book and uncover the mystery of the memoirs them-self.


The film in a way is like Alice in Wonderland. The mystery which the Ghost Writer is embarked is like Alice going down the rabbit hole. It seems endless and without answer but it is ever so interesting. I'm not going to say the answer or even mention if there is. To find out you need to see the film.

Seeing the film many will find similarities to real life events and people. The books writer Robert Harris had Adam Lang and his situation parallel former English Prime Minister Tony Blair with of course some obvious changes that have not been proven or made to be so. Many will see the parallels also with the involvement of the U.S. and a company called Haverton that is supposed to be Halliburton and so on. Harris with Polanski hit all the political commentary correctly and never mishandled the subtle conspiracy references and also never glorifying it or sugar coating them meaning not mentioning them. It's there to make the story more spicy and support it not take the attention away.

Also by watching this superbly made thriller its odd to me that Hollywood cant follow this tactic. Finding good books that are intelligent, thought provoking and then getting A-grade directors to bring them to the screen. Of course here it wasn't possible due to Polanski criminal past and this is a seldom tactic only done ever so slightly in some genres and of directors of grand stature. But these are films that can be done on the cheap and its sad because people will see a good movie with big names and good marketing. But usually people never even hear of the existence of some of these films and there left with only with the news of films like Golden Compass or Twilight.


After your done with the film most of you I hope, will have enjoyed one of the best films of the year. This a film that has to be seen by everyone. No matter if you don't like Polanski for his personal life decisions or even if you don't like his film work. Give him a second chance and you wont regret it.

Personal Rating:


review by Paul Katsaros

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