Sunday, October 09, 2011

The Ghost Writer

The Ghost Writer (2010) ***

I realized while watching this that I really haven't seen many Roman Polanski movies--seems like a big name who hasn't actually done much, for perhaps obvious reasons. Though I did just note on imdb that he directed that Adrien Brody Pianist movie--did not know that.

Anyway, I'm not sure if I've seen Rosemary's Baby or not--pretty sure not. Didn't Octo just admit to the same thing? So this might be my first real Polanski thriller, and it was surprisingly good given that I had zero preconceptions going in. The atmosphere is probably the best thing about the movie (the story is a bit silly, but more on that later). For us New Engalnders, this movie is shot on location in Martha's Vineyard during the off-season. Empty colonial era inns and barren windswept beaches are the dominant images.

Ewan MacGregor plays a British writer who specializes in ghost writing famous people's autobiographies, and he gets hired to do it for the ex-Prime Minister of England, played by Pierce Brosnan. This turns into a sorta dumbed down Hitchcockian political thriller, as Ewan begins to uncover secrets about Brosnan's loyalties and background.

I'm on the fence about whether this is worth recommending or not. Kim Catrall is here, playing a British woman, and she completely sucks the joint up. Like Jar Jar bad. Her British accent comes and goes multiple times in mid sentence. Also, the story ends up a bit far-fetched and too "ripped from the headlines" to really be very memorable, and the big reveal at the end is somewhat predictable.

But at the same time, Polanski's sense of pacing and atmosphere had me pretty into this while I was watching it.


JPX said...

I've never heard of this but I would like to watch it if for no other reason than to see the Martha's Vineyard shots. Given that Polanski rarely makes films I'm surprised that this didn't get more press. I thought he would be arrested if he came to America? Perhaps I'm getting my facts wrong. This sounds more like a thriller than a horror movie but it sounds like it might be fun. Nice summary.

Catfreeek said...

Polanski isn't a bad director, this sounds pretty good even if it is predictable.

Octopunk said...

I just checked imdb; there are location shots in Massachusetts but Polanski had to deal with them remotely. Also, he was arrested and edited the movie from Swiss prison.

I have seen Rosemary's Baby a couple of times, so I'm not sure who you're thinking of (or what movie I said I haven't seen).

Johnny Sweatpants said...

"The atmosphere is probably the best thing about the movie (the story is a bit silly, but more on that later)."

That rings true for most Polanski movies. NIce review! Never heard of this movie and even though you were so-so about it I think I'd dig it.

DCD said...

I've never heard of this either. I'd watch it for the local scenes too, JPX!