Reviews, Reports + Comments

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Review of film: “THE GHOST WRITER”

2010, 02-23:

Review of film:  THE GHOST WRITER


Roman Polanski


Robert Harris


Ewan McGregor
Jon Bernthal
Kim Cattrall
Pierce Brosnan
Tim Preece
James Belushi
Olivia Williams
Timothy Hutton
Anna Botting           
Tom Wilkinson
Yvonne Tomlinson
Eli Wallach
Milton Welch
Tim Faraday

Alister Mazzotti

Robert Pugh

MPAA Rating:

PG-13 for language, brief nudity / sexuality, some violence and a drug reference.


“You realize, I know NOTHING about politics.”
“It was the book that got him [killed]…”
“I don’t read political memoirs. Who does?!”
“There’s something not quite RIGHT about this project.”
“What have you gotten me into?!”
“It bleeds when I go through airport security.”
“All the words are there.  They’re just in the wrong order.”
“They always said I was a bloody actor!”
“This place is Shangri La in reverse.”
“Why don’t you SHARE a suitcase?--  It’s so much more ‘convenient’!”
“Didn’t you want to be a PROPER writer?!”
“You thought I’d be gone.”

MY Rating:

8 of 10 stars (based on an advance screening of the 128-minute film).

The Author Might BECOME A Phantom, if he’s not Careful!

Adam Lang (PIERCE BROSNAN) was once the Prime Minister of England.  Following a tradition of having memoirs written about such personages, he decides to have one penned with the help of a “ghost writer”, a friend named Mike…  But, that writer mysteriously DIES in “suspicious” circumstances…

…  The publisher uses an agent Rick Ricardelli (JON BERNTHAL) to bring in another possible “Ghost” in the form of EWAN MCGREGOR, who isn’t very eager for the job since he’s never been “into” politics.  But, the publisher John Maddox (JIM BELUSHI) likes the agent’s spiel about how Ewan can write quickly & well, & gives him the job

…  As Ewan is carrying a different manuscript given to him at the publisher’s London office, he’s suddenly followed & MUGGED--  with the thieves taking only the comparatively-unimportant papers he was carrying in a bag… 

…  Shortly after that, Ewan is sent to an island off Cape Cod where Pierce is ensconced at an isolated estate owned by an American friend, along with his wife Ruth (OLIVIA WILLIAMS), his loyal secretary / assistant Amelia Bly (KIM CATTRALL), and various hired help…

…  A good deal of TENSION arises, since Ewan sees there’s no “love lost” between Olivia & Kim, a fairly POORLY-DONE manuscript he’s expected to “improve” from the original writer Mike, & a lot of “superficial” concerns by Pierce about his “image” when Ewan interviews him for the book… Ewan keeps working hard to try to dig-up more “facts” for the memoirs…

…  Things “ratchet-up” media-wise when a British Minister once fired by Pierce, Robert Rycart (ROBERT PUGH), accuses him of having turned a suspected terrorist over to the CIA--  leading to mass protests by certain groups, high-level TV coverage--  & all the type of things that upset Ewan but thrill his publisher with thoughts of future profits from the book being worked on…

… Since the current British government doesn’t support Pierce & indicates they’d turn him over to the International Court of Justice in the Hague for a trial, Pierce and his associates have to find a country which DOESN’T RECOGNIZE the authority of the Court.  That means a place like Iran, North Korea--  or the good ol’ U.S.A. (where Pierce already is)…  Guess which they choose!...       

…  Typical of an effective thriller, there are all kinds of “TWISTS & TURNS”:  disagreements between those in the coterie around Pierce (especially from very bright but disillusioned wife Olivia), legal advice from his lawyer Sidney Kroll (TIMOTHY HUTTON), new information provided by a long-time island resident (ELI WALLACH), DIS-information provided by Pierce’s sneaky old associate Paul Emmett (TOM WILKINSON), etc…

…  Why were “facts” given to Ewan for the book actually IN-accurate?…  WHY was Pierce suddenly “targeted” by his onetime rival Rycart?…  Who was Pierce really working “FOR” when he was Prime Minister?… 

...  What was Olivia’s connection to the overall situation?…  Who has been following & physically threatening EWAN for his link to Pierce, & WHY were they doing that?…     

… I found the often-taut mystery quite INTRIGUING overall, & there was a bunch of GOOD ACTING by the major players… 

...  However, there are also various “red herrings” thrown into the mix which “draw-out” the movie a bit unnecessarily time-wise & info-wise, with a few sort of “pointless” facts & actions, etc.

…  To me, it’s an enjoyable film altogether…  But, as a friend commented, it --  especially at the very end – made you “THINK” almost “TOO much” at times, with a sort of un-satisfying conclusion (which pulled-down my overall rating by like a half point)…   

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