Review: The Ghost Writer
Well all the words are there, they’re just in the wrong order
The Ghost Writer is tepid rather than intriguing, shallow where there should have been more depth and the final denouement doesn’t work all that well. It’s a lacklustre and inert effort and the tension in this story just doesn’t appear to be there. Considering the heights od Polanski’s previous films, this has to rank as a disappointment.
The story concerns Ewan McGregor’s British journalist who is hired to write the memoirs of former Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan). Sent to a secluded hideaway to try and whip the memoirs into shape, he finds himself embroiled in a possible conspiracy involving Lang and an American intelligence agency.
This should provide enough of a dramatic undercurrent, as well as deliver suspense in spades, but The Ghost Writer’s biggest issue is its failure to engage the viewer in the machinations and skullduggery afoot. McGregor (who is listed on IMDB as The Ghost), delivers a limp central performance. His accent is as unconvincing as the character he plays. Its a character that’s just dis-interesting and bland and very hard to root for.
The more he digs into the conspiracy the worse his situation becomes, and perhaps the most interesting part of the film, something that separates it from other efforts, is its real world relevance. Brosnan’s Adam Lang has more than a bit of Tony Blair about him, a former Prime Minister that’s a lackey to the American government and at the centre of an investigation about the torture of prisoners.
He’s suffering in isolation, trying to combat the effects of decisions he’s made and the clamour by protesters who want to see him strung up. It’s down to Brosnan’s talent that he makes Lang sympathetic despite the claims held against him.
If only this film were more assertive then it could have been a great conspiracy thriller. The denouement turns things on its head, but, if there is a damming indictment of this film, it’s that this revelation is not surprising either.