A Hauntingly Lavish Thriller…

The Ghost Writer

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Director: Roman Polanski

Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall, Ewan McGregor, Timothy Hutton, Jim Belushi, Olivia Williams, Tom Wilkinson, Morgane Polanski

Polanski’s dark and almost claustrophobic thriller The Ghost Writer adapted from the novel by Robert Harris author of Enigma and Pompeii is an absolute gem reminiscent of his earlier classics like Bitter Moon, Chinatown and the Oscar winning film The Pianist.

Dark and claustrophobic

Balancing a great script with tight directing and creepy use of  stark isolated locations, Polanski keeps the viewer of the Ghost Writer on the edge of their seat.

Highly versatile and underrated Ewan McGregor is wonderfully human as the title character and Olivia Williams shines as the ousted Prime Minister‘s Adam Lang’s wife Ruth with a witty, dark and altogether complex performance which gives tremendous weight to the concept of behind every powerful man lies an equally powerful woman. Pierce Brosnan takes the part of Adam Lang, the Prime Minister with a combination of his charm, ego and slight menace which brought him acclaim in his recent more memorable films Matador and Remember Me.

What is truly thrilling is Polanski’s homage to Alfred Hitchcock making a political and social thriller without compromising on the story and the intricacies of the characters, whilst retaining the claustrophobic atmosphere of a once powerful leader being forced into a lavish exile. Sounds Familiar? As I returned from watching this stunning thriller, Polanski was released from house arrest in Gstaad, Switzerland which is an absolute relief, as it would be a tragedy to keep a filmmaker of this calibre under confinement.

Polanski’s distinctly European perspective on the collusion of Britain and America in foreign wars in the Middle East is his greatest asset  highlighting how a Prime Minister can fall from grace and become a virtual outcast is brilliant in his brittle and subversive vision of how corrupting power and influence can become.

Visually The Ghost Writer is sleek, dark and elegant whilst reminding the viewer that decisions of great international magnitude are often made in secluded locations like Cape Cod or St Andrews far away from the distant nations which will be affected by those choices. For to give the story, location or plot away would be ludicrous, suffice to say… see The Ghost Writer and relish in a masterful director’s return to form with a cinematic homage to the political thriller crackling with suspense, wit and utterly thought-provoking down to the shattering final sequence.

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