Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Drama,Thrillers Rated: The Ghost Writer (2010)

Rated: The Ghost Writer (2010)

From veteran director Roman Polanski comes a very sophisticated and well constructed political thriller. It is an interesting look at a profession that many of us may not be too familiar with; albeit, a profession that is made more interesting in this case with a story involving conspiracy and accusation that fits perfectly in today’s media-driven world, even if it is a bit over-the-top to be taken seriously. But that is what makes this film great. Polanski has enough poise and polish to understand that the scenario he presents his audience with is ridiculous, so the film is spent building up to that accusation, rather than delivering it to the audience first without support. In this way, Polanski can use his trademark subtle hints to provide proof and motivation for his characters, and more importantly, to provide tantalizing carrots for the audience to follow as the tale progresses. This makes for a rare movie that maintains its entertainment value even after multiple viewings. Its what a thriller movie should be; driven by an intense story and not action.

Synopsis: Adam Lang is a former UK prime minister, with a past that is seemingly unfitting for a man in politics. As such, there is much controversy over his memoirs, so much, in fact, that his ghost writer ends up dead. A new ghost writer is hired, one that gradually begins to uncover the real story of Lang’s life as well as the reason his predecessor ended up dead. When a nemesis of Lang accuses him of using torture techniques during his run in office, Lang suddenly finds himself on the defensive. This throws new light on the ghost writer’s work, and leads him to a stunning conclusion about who Lang really is….

Acting: Ewan McGregor shines here in a role that fits him well as the ghost writer. He has struggled in the past trying to fit into roles that are not strong matches, but that is not the case here. Pierce Brosnan puts in a memorable performance as Adam Lang. His performance is such that even though you have doubts about the integrity of his character, you are drawn to him. The ego is played perfectly without dominating the real focus of the story, the ghost writer. The supporting cast is surprisingly good too, especially Olivia Williams who plays Lang’s dark, conflicted, and complicated wife perfectly. Good (22/25)

  • Ewan McGregor: Good
  • Pierce Brosnan: Great
  • Supporting Cast: Good

Script/Plot: While the plot is not really action driven, it is full of tense moments and interesting tid-bits to keep you engaged. The scenes with Adam Lang are especially well written, as his character is the focus of the plot without being the focus of the story, which is difficult to do. The twists and turns are not always what you’d expect, and there are a few dead ends, where the movie leads you in the wrong direction on purpose. These help to enhance the experience by making the audience feel like they are involved in the story rather than simply going along for the ride. But although this movie feels similar to The Manchurian Candidate, it lacks the high-octane drama and flair that made that movie easy to watch. Also, the ending may let you down, but I didn’t think it ruined the film. Good (21/25)

  • Dialogue: Good
  • Script: Good
  • Plot: Good
  • Themes/Messages: Okay

Direction: Polanski’s direction is the stand-out aspect of this movie. Everything he does, including his camera movements, weather effects, contrast of light and dark, and camera placement help to enhance the story and especially the tension. The entire movie Polanski is able to maintain an uneasy tone, not to mention that his style is perfectly suited for this type of movie. Great (25/25)

  • Professionalism: Great
  • Flow: Great
  • X-Factor: Great

Special Effects: While the movie isn’t really about the special effects, the cinematography is stellar. The music, while a bit bizarre, is fitting and memorable. Unfortunately in a time when movies are trying to out do eachother in one aspect or another, there is not really a whole lot in The Ghost Writer to make it an instant classic, although I would call it one of the best films of the year so far. Good (20/25)

  •  Special Effects: Good
  • Music: Good
  • X-Factor: Okay

The Verdict: (88/100) = B+ (highly recommended)

  • The Good: An old-fashioned political thriller with enough good acting, veteran direction, and an interesting enough story to make it worth your while.
  • The Bad: The movie is sparse in action, revolves mostly around accusation, and has a conclusion that doesn’t feel very plausible nor is it very satisfactory.
  • In Summary: Ghost writers have interesting, and sometimes dangerous jobs. 

My previous review: Rated: Salt (2010)

Remember to become a fan of GSP Movie Reviews on Facebook!

1 thought on “Rated: The Ghost Writer (2010)”

  1. I generally enjoy action packed movies. I enjoy the thrill ride they provide. While this movie, as you pointed out, “is driven by intense story and not action,” I found myself enjoying the ride regardless. I purchased the DVD and I will watch this movie again and again even though I too, found the ending to be unsatisfactory.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Post