These days you’re not supposed to even talk about Roman Polanski, never mind praise him. However, a great filmmaker is a great filmmaker and I won’t get dragged into discussing Polanski’s personal life. I am here to talk about Polanski’s 2010 release, The Ghost Writer (or The Ghost as it was known in the UK).
Ewan McGregor plays an unnamed ghost writer who is hired by the former British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) to complete his memoirs. However the writer begins to believe that his (now dead) predecessor uncovered a secret about Lang which is somehow revealed within the pages of his memoir.
With a screenplay from Polanski and Robert Harris (based on Harris’ 2007 novel), The Ghost Writer is a wonderfully constructed thriller with a beautifully bleak feeling. The grey and stormy coastline of Martha’s Vineyard (actually the North Sea) is perfectly realised by cinematographer Paweł Edelman, while the score from the great Alexandre Desplat is exceptional.
Ewan McGregor is wonderful as out of his depth Ghost Writer, while Pierce Brosnan delivers one of the best performances of his career as the former Prime Minister, which is clearly based on Tony Blair. It’s a small role for Brosnan, but he delivers with grit and gusto.
The supporting cast of The Ghost Writer is also incredibly well stacked with Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Tom Wilkinson, Jim Belushi, Timothy Hutton and Eli Wallach all having roles.
Budgeted at $45 million, The Ghost Writer grossed $15.5 million at the US box office and over $60 million globally.