The Ghost Writer (2010)

The one good thing that people may recently actually like from Roman Polanski.

A writer (Ewan McGregor) stumbles upon a long-hidden secret when he agrees to help former British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) complete his memoirs on a remote island after the politician’s assistant drowns in a mysterious accident. In director Roman Polanski’s tense drama, the author realizes that his discovery threatens some very powerful people who will do anything to ensure that certain episodes from Lang’s past remain buried.

This is a film directed by every little boys, and girls favorite director……..Roman Polanski!! I feel bad for the guy, I mean his whole family was basically killed in the Holocaust, and his wife, along with soon to be child, were both murdered by those crazy-ass Manson followers. However, I’m not sticking up for the guy. I still do think what he has done in the past was wrong, and should not be praised for.

But away from his personal life, Polanski is a very good director. Mainly at suspense. I haven’t seen many of his films, but the ones I have seen from him (The Pianist, Chinatown) have all kept me on the edge of my seat. And while this one, isn’t as great as them too, it’s still tensely directed by Polanski. He really does know how to slowly build-up suspense within a film, and sometimes in the most depressing places. I don’t think once during this whole film, the sun came out.

Still, despite this film actually doing a pretty good job of keeping me suspended, the script could have done so much better. There were too many points in this film where the script just seemed too average for this type of subject. I liked how it kind of felt like an old school, hard-boiled, detective story, but it never goes anywhere beyond that, and just sticks to its certain limitations. I was also wondering too whether or not this was one of Polanski’s ways of saying a big old “f**k you” to the U.S., but whatever it was, he’s trying to say something, which I’m still kind of confused by.

I also did like Polanski’s direction, but I think he uses way too much of the suspenseful score, when it really wasn’t needed. There were plenty of moments that were terribly suspenseful, and it didn’t need some sort of music to get me like that. I think if he used no score, this film would have still been as equally as suspenseful.

Ewan McGregor does a pretty strong job here as our ghost, and although he isn’t the underdog we can stand behind, and cheer for while he’s trying to show all these corrupt assholes for what they really are, you can’t stop watching him, and does a good job. Pierce Brosnon is good here also, providing a lot of surprisingly tense scenes every time he’s on screen. It almost kind of brings us away from the fact that it’s James Bond playing the Prime Minister. Olivia Williams does an effective job as the broken-down Prime Minister’s wife, having plenty of emotional scenes. Kim Cattrall is also in this, and I almost for a second, forget she was Samantha Jones, cause she was actually very good. You’ll also notice other familiar faces in this film like Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Hutton, and a very bald James Belushi. Never thought I’d see him in anything again.

Consensus: Certainly not one of Polanski’s best, but not his worst, The Ghost Writer is still very tense, suspenseful, and well acted, even though it may not keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time.



  1. I still haven’t seen this. Marshall gave it a great review a while back but I keep forgetting to pick it up. What did you think of Polanski’s “Oliver Twist”?

  2. I really liked this movie, I am working on my top ten of the year and think this will make the cut. You have already seen Polanski’s masterpiece Chinatown , I don’t think anything else he has done compares to that but most of his movies are worth seeing. If I can make a few recommendations:

    Frantic: There are lots of very similar themed movies to this one, but this is the best.

    Death and the Maiden: Sigourney Weaver is amazing, one of her best performances in a tense and
    claustrophobic thriller.

    The Ninth Gate: Bizarre little film but good fun.

    And finally two of his early classics: Rosemary’s Baby and Repulsion .

  3. Despite Polanski’s exile, he still gets artistic license and thus, indulgences. The shorter his films are, the better e.g. Repulsion.

    Also, I totally forgot that Jim Belushi out of all people was in this movie. I respect everyone who works with Polanski just because of the wonders he does with stars down to bit players.

  4. I’d probably give about the same rating if not slightly lower. It didn’t keep me at the edge of my seat at all though I had expected that. In fact, I found it rather tedious and uneventful. McGregor is good and like you, I was surprised by Cattral’s understated performance, but Brosnan doesn’t really add much to the film. Oh, I thought Wilkinson’s performance is pretty strong, too. The ending is one of those ‘whoa’ kind of quality though, I just wish there are more interesting stuff happening in the middle.

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