The Ghost Writer (2010)

Directed by Roman Polanski
Written by Robert Harris & Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski is a name that is important in film history. He is known as one of the best directors in history, helming such films as Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby and The Pianist. While being a famous director, he is also an infamous figure. Polanski has been in exile from America for almost 40 years, after fleeing from charges of sex crimes. Needless to say, Polanski is an interesting figure. He still makes films and, obviously with his Best Picture nominated effort The Pianist, still makes very good films.

The Ghost Writer is based on the best selling novel by screenwriter Robert Harris. His book was simply called The Ghost, perhaps a more eerie title than the film. The story follows ‘The Ghost’, played by Ewan McGregor, who has been hired to finish the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan). But suspicion arises when The Ghost learns the fate of his predecessor, a mysterious death. Adding to the intrigue are the recent charges against Lang from the International Criminal Court (ICC), who accuses Lang of being a war criminal and committing crimes against humanity. ‘The Ghost’ must sift through the past to see that he has a future ahead of him. The intrigue and mystery are unbearable.

Everything about this film is fine. There is nothing wrong with this film. It has an interesting story, told by an interesting director with interesting actors. It was a fine, well made film. I guess I didn’t have a problem with the film, it just didn’t connect with me in any way or leave any kind of impression on me. There is a good score to go along with the empty, coldness of the art direction that make it a very nice mood piece. Adding to that effect is the seemingly quietness of the delivery and of the story itself. Despite being a thriller, the film is quite quiet and lets the mood do the talking, which it succeeds at doing.

Polanski is a director I, admittedly, had not seen a film of before. His craft is very good and The Ghost Writer certainly shows his abilities in the director’s chair. I am just hoping that it does not rank with his best work because while being a solid product, the film fails to make itself stand apart from other thrillers, at least narratively. I have my eyes set on Chinatown and The Pianist now that my first Polanski is under my belt.

Adam Kuhn

Adam Kuhn was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he attended Saint Charles Preparatory School. He studied History at the University of Cincinnati, where he was a contributor of The News Record, the twice-weekly, independent student news organization. He has been writing film reviews and blogging since 2009.

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