An unremarkable ghost-writer has landed a lucrative contract to redact the memoirs of Adam Lang, the former UK Prime Minister. After dominating British politics for years, Lang has retired with his wife to the USA. He lives on an island, in luxurious, isolated premises complete with a security detail and a secretarial staff. Soon, Adam Lang gets embroiled in a major scandal with international ramifications that reveals how far he was ready to go in order to nurture UK's "special relationship" with the USA. But before this controversy has started, before even he has closed the deal with the publisher, the ghost-writer gets unmistakable signs that the turgid draft he is tasked to put into shape inexplicably constitutes highly sensitive material. Written by
Eduardo Casais <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Largely because Roman Polanski could not set foot in the United States, filming took place in Germany made to look like Massachusetts. See more »
When Lang is being shown on live TV addressing the media, the 'CNN' strapline at the bottom of the screen refers to him as 'Former BRISTISH Prime Minister". See more »
You realize I know nothing about politics.
You voted for him, didn't you?
Adam Lang? Of course I did, everyone voted for him. He wasn't a politician, he was a craze.
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The title appears as highlighted words on pages of the scattered manuscript. See more »
From Knife in the Water and Rosemary's Baby to Chinatown, Roman Polanski has shown a skill at the slowly distributed thriller, and especially with a dash of hard-core politics as in Chinatown's Los Angeles water intrigues. Now in The Ghost Writer, the acclaimed director recaptures that Hitchcock sense of inevitable evil slowly stalking the rich and famous while the little guy protagonist witnesses the underbelly of power.
Ex-Prime Minister Andrew Lang (Pierce Brosnan) hires a ghost writer (Ewan McGregor) to finish an autobiography by the previous ghost writer, who mysteriously drowned. As unnamed ghost begins his work in a Martha's Vineyard hideaway of Lang, mayhem breaks out, for Lang is accused of sanctioning water boarding in the Iraq theater.
While it is apparent Lang's personal life is deteriorating as well, the ghost pursues with the tenacity of Jake Gittes the mystery of how his predecessor died, gaining a few bruised bones but not a broken nose for being nosy.
While the film has some clichéd situations, almost as if Polanski is trying to evoke '70's thrillers in all their cheesiness, he has recruited an excellent cast. In addition to McGregor and Brosnan at their best, Tom Wilkinson as a suspicious Ivy League academic and a cameo by Eli Wallach as an old Vineyard denizen are so good that I wanted more of them. Polanski has always directed his actors well, but of course he is smart enough to hire them in the first place.
The stark; outdoor settings; the almost antiseptic interiors; the slowly suspenseful music; the car chases; the shower; and the suspicious ladies,especially the blond), are a few of the Hitchcock touches gracing the Ghost Writer. That Lang is unable to reside in only few countries of the world where he can't be extradited for crimes against humanity is a light reference to Polanski's own exile. For that allusion, I applaud him and wonder how he can keep a sense of humor amidst his possible imprisonment on charges of statutory rape.
However, he is after all a certifiable auteur whose legacy will outlive any prison time.
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