Movie Review: The Ghost Writer

Today my sweetie-wife and I went to the movies and saw The Ghost Writer. This film is a political thriller directed by controversial director, Roman Polanski. (The link is to Mr. Polanski’s IMDB page, but if you want to do a Google search you’ll easily turn up the nature of the heated controversy surrounding Mr. Polanski  and he decades long flight from US law.)

Adapted by Roman Polanski and Robert Harris from a novel by Robert Harris, The Ghost Writer is about an author, The Ghost (Ewan McGregor) who has been brought on to complete an autobiography for a retired Prime Minister of England, Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) after the previous ghost writer has died in a accident at sea.

When the ghost arrives he finds that the political teams he is to work with is in a state of siege as a former member of Lang’s cabinet has leaked documents accusing Lang of war crimes while in office. (The plot here is very topical with the war crimes being handing terror suspects over to the Americas for torture.) Lang’s chief of staff, Amelia Bly (Kim Cattrall) run the operation with a ruthlessness that suggests her name should more properly be spelled Bligh. Lang’s wife, Ruth (Olivia Williams) is estranged and distant clearly in a contest against Bly for her husband time and possibly affections.

Naturally there are secrets afoot and perhaps the death of The Ghost’s predecessor was no accident. As I said this is a political thriller. (Ripped from today’s headlines as the cliche goes.)

Overall this film was well made and entertaining.  The casts delivered really sharp and tight performances and there was very good use of modern technology in this sort of search for clues thriller. However, that said this film in the end did not work for me.

At the heart of the story is a conspiracy simply to fantastic to be believed. I went in prepared to let a largish conspiracy go by my suspension of disbelief. When you are dealing with political thrillers, conspiracies are the rule of the day. For most of the film I was drawn into the plot and the characters and even the conspiracy itself.  Polanski had done a fine job of not sending me into eye-rolling, you-can’t-expect-me-to-buy-that land. Then in the last thirty minutes of the film, they reveal the big turn, the big surprise and it’s simply ridiculous. Governments, hell any organization, simply cannot perform to this sort of competence and long range planning.

To make matters worse in literally the last five minutes of the film they turn things around again with a series of clues that if you think about make no sense what so ever. I have no idea what the writers were thinking or smoking when they conceived this ending. IT simply makes no sense.

As such I must down check this movie. Going out with my sweetie-wife was pleasant, but the film was not.


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