22 February 2011

Movies: The Ghost Writer


A ghost writer lands a contract to rewrite the memoirs of a retired UK Prime Minister. The PM retired to an island off the east coast of the US.  The previous writer had fallen off a ferry between the island and the mainland. The new ghost writer has a month to complete the rewrite, and he gets suspicious about the previous ghost's death. Then a scandal involving the retired PM bursts into the media.

Stars Ewan McGregor as The Ghost (yes that's his character in the film, he has no other name but that reference), Pierce Brosnan as the PM, Olivia Williams (Adelle from Dollhouse) as the PM's wife. Holy crap I didn't know Williams is only 2 years younger than me. And what the hell why after 2 seasons of Dollhouse did I never realize that's her in Rushmore? I must be slipping.

AND the flick is directed by Roman Polanski.
Yes, the husband of Sharon Tate (killed by Chuck Manson's gang), director of Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby (and other great films), flee-er of American justice after being convicted of drugging a 13yr old girl and sexing her up in his hot tub. But I digress.

Straight-up procedural mystery drama with hints of thriller. And by straight-up I mean this thing steps you through the story from The Ghost's point of view, basically we as an audience learn things as The Ghost does. He is us.
It isn't very action packed, and for some folks might be considered a snoozer. But, in good ol' Hitchcockian tradition it drags you to the end then punches you in the gut with the story's resolution and you forget you sat through 90% of the flick watching it trudge toward the end.
Most times I can't stand a movie that slogs through to the end. However, if it is done correctly, it is worth the time. Sometimes the journey is what makes a movie worthwhile, other times it is the destination. For me this is one of those "destination made the journey worthwhile" movies.
But, if you just have no patience for flicks like that (as my wife does not have patience for them) then be secure in the fact that avoiding the movie won't leave you culturally inept.  I don't think it'll hit Chinatown or Rosemary's Baby classic status. Probably more along the lines of 'as culturally significant as The Ninth Gate'. Which is a decent and enjoyable movie worth watching but your life will be no less complete without it.  And it's really, really good.

(original post 20 Nov 2010)

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