Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Review - The Ghost Writer

Flying under the radar this year is Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer, a slow-burning political thriller with intrigue to spare.
Ewan McGregor plays an acerbic writer hired to ghost write the memoirs of a retired British PM (Pierce Brosnan) at his seaside home in America. After a few puzzling discoveries, he begins uncovering secrets that reveal an unsettling truth, naturally putting him in a position of peril.

The script cowritten by Polanski and the novelist Robert Harris is smart and ironic. Polanski's style is simple and unflourishy, calling basically on the fine performances (and occasionally Alexandre Desplat's stringy score) to ease tension out of this gradual film. McGregor and Brosnan are both strong, while Olivia Williams provides the best turn as the former PM's suspiciously icy wife. The setting and production design add nicely to the chilly atmosphere.

Unfortunately, having flown beneath the radar most of the year, I can't imagine The Ghost Writer will earn any Oscar recognition. Pity, as consideration for Best Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actress (Williams) would be most welcome.

*** out of ****

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