Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Distributor: Summit Entertainment
Release Date: February 19, 2010
Genre: Thriller
Running Time: 128 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13

No matter what he did, which he definitely did it and it was definitely wrong, Roman Polanski is one of the most uniquely gifted filmmakers in the business. His more noted works include some of the most memorable films of all time, like “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Chinatown,” and “The Pianist,” for which he won an Oscar in 2002. A lot of scumbags are capable of creating great work, is all I’m saying.

This year he can add another film to his list of classics with “The Ghost Writer.” Pierce Brosnan stars as former British Prime Minster Adam Lang, a character with more than a passing similarity to real former PM Tony Blair. At the end of his career, Lang is in the process of having his memoirs written. His first ghost writer turns up dead under some fishy circumstances, which creates a golden opportunity for an unknown writer (Ewan McGregor), never named but simply credited as “The Ghost.”

It doesn’t take long for things to get weird around the Lang household. The Ghost immediately gets pulled from both sides, by Lang’s wife Ruth (Olivia Williams), and Lang’s aide Amelia Bly (Kim Cattrall). Their motivations are shrouded in mystery, and Polanski doesn’t rush any of the film’s revelations. Lang himself always seems cool and collected, but with something simmering just beneath the surface.

The performances are terrific across the board. McGregor is never named and looking back on it, not only do we not know his name, but we don’t really know anything about him at all. McGregor spends quite a bit of time by himself in the movie and carries it with a quiet charisma. Williams and Cattrall are terrific rivals in a passive aggressive manner. And I believe that if marketed and promoted correctly, Brosnan could score his first Oscar nomination, his performance is that good.

“The Ghost Writer” is a classic thriller reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s best work. Watching the film unfold is one of the great pleasures of the year in cinema thus far. Separating the man from the artist, Roman Polanski is one hell of a director.

Theater: The Ruth Sokolof Theater, Omaha, NE
Time: 700 pm
Date: March 31, 2010

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