Fellow Movie Lovers
“THE GHOST WRITER”
This is a film that I can recommend for most audiences: actors, plot and intrigue are immensely satisfying; all beautifully filmed and directed by fugitive Roman Polanski. His travails have no prurient value and have not diminished the power of his direction; he is in top form in this tale of subterfuge, lies and obfuscation.
The original script based on the novel “The Ghost” by Robert Harris, focuses on the “ghost” writer of ex British Prime Minister Adam Lang, cunningly and forcefully depicted by Pierce Brosnan (gone are the halcyon days of Remington Steel and James Bond but the finely honed charm still thrives). After the demise of the first “ghost” his replacement is hired by Lang’s publisher and hence the intricate story evolves. Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge, Amelia) as the nameless “ghost” captures the selflessness and lack of ego that is necessary to climb into the mind of a known celebrity and create out of their mediocre ramblings a manuscript worthy of the subject’s status. McGregor, Scottish by birth, is outstanding in handling the manipulation visited upon him.
Olivia Williams (An Education) is Ruth Lang, a bitter, brilliant woman whose keen mind goes unnoticed and pales in comparison to her charismatic husband. Her countenance, which can vacillate from plain to beautiful in seconds commands the viewer’s riveting attention in her every scene. She is a formidable talent.
Kim Cattrall (The Bonfire of the Vanities, Sex & the City) as the devoted assistant and possible mistress of Lang is lovely in a stiff and stilted role.
The viewer will recognize certain vaguely disguised references to public personas: ex British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, ex President George W. Bush, ex Vice President Dick Cheney. Nice touch, coating the unfamiliar with the familiar.
How frequently have any of us given a moment’s thought about the ghost writer? After some research I discovered the primarily nameless have been a monumental force in literature.
All the Nancy Drew novels (1930- present, still a major commodity and read by millions) were written by Carolyn Keene, a pseudonym for countless low paid authors. John F. Kennedy and Ronald Regan used “ghost” writers. George Lucas wrote the script for Star Wars; the novel was written by Alan Dean Foster. The list is interminable.
In gratitude to “The Ghost Writer” the viewer will seek and acknowledge the name, in very small print, under the primary author; and give a skeleton, volume and substance to the vague and vanishing ghost.
FOUR STARS! (OUT OF FIVE)