The Ghost Writer

The new ghost writer (Euan McGreggor) for the former British Prime Minister Adam Lang’s memoirs in Roman Polanski’s compelling thriller The Ghost Writer has good reason to be worried. His predecessor has died in a suspicious accident; his employer Lang (Pierce Brosnan) is facing charges that he sanctioned torture toward suspected terrorists; 


he is attacked soon after getting the assignment by someone who may kill to know what’s in those memoirs; he is harassed after being whisked away to a new England coast hideaway by people shouting for Lang’s arrest; and he has to deal with Lang’s relentlessly faithful assistant (Kim Cattrall) as well as Lang’s resolutely dour wife (an excellent Olivia Williams)—who may have some secrets of her own.


If the final revelations are a little conventional (to say the least) most of the fun is getting there—and in the well-staged final sequence (I’ll go no further in that regard) which provides a perfect ending. The screenplay (by Polanski and Robert Harris, from his novel) and direction quickly seize and hold our interest, as an intriguing cat and mouse game develops between Brosnan and McGreggor (one caveat—I wish there had been more scenes between the two as both are in good form as wary allies/opponents). Later, as McGreggor starts to do some digging into Brosnan’s past, as well as his own predecessor’s death (Did I say it was suspicious? Did I say Eli Wallach contributes an excellent cameo as a senior emeritus “Basil Exposition”?), there is some genuine suspense, especially in a chase sequence aboard a ferry. In addition, Alexandre Desplat’s evocative score makes the whole movie reminiscent of a superior 1970’s French thriller. Try to catch this Ghost before it vanishes into thin air.