The Ghost Writer (France/GermanyUK; 128 min.)

directed by: Roman Polanski
starring: Ewan McGregor; John Bernthal; Kim Cattral; Pierce Brosnan; James Belushi; Olivia Williams
The Ghost Writer
Thom says: "Polanski, perhaps because of his continuing legal problems, is not the most prolific of world-class directors, but I’ve still managed to see 17 of his films. I loved his early oeuvre of KNIFE IN THE WATER, REPULSION, & CUL-DE-SAC, as well as THE TENANT, ROSEMARY’S BABY, TESS, THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH, & CHINATOWN (maybe his best film). But since then, & I’ve seen nearly all of his later output, most of the films have been disappointing. I wasn’t even a big fan of THE PIANIST. But this new political thriller is pretty much a humdinger. In the spirit of non-spoiling I won’t discuss the many twists & turns that THE GHOST WRITER makes but you’ll be on the edge-of-your-seat. In the film The Ghost is played by more-than-capable Ewan McGregor and his character decides to take on the position of helping an ex-UK-Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan) write his memoirs after the mysterious death of the previous “Ghost”. While this is going on Brosnan is about to be brought up on war crime charges. Apparently, no one is what they seem to be. While the entire cast throws themselves into their parts standouts here are Brosnan as the less-than-brilliant PM, Olivia Williams as his long-suffering wife, & Tom Wilkinson (has anyone ever seen him give less than an outstanding performance) as a retired political science teacher that might not be telling the whole truth. Kim Cattrall, out of her 'sex' mode is fine. My one big complaint is a plot 'red herring' that doesn’t make any sense, but this different kind of film from Polanski is a winner. 4 1/2 cats"
Diane says: "Disappointed that I wasn't on the edge of my seat with Polanski's political thriller. Oh, there were moments!--but for much of the second half, I was wondering when it was going to get interesting. Can it be that the Empire has brainwashed me into thinking that our country's nefarious international dealings are hardly noteworthy?

"I think there's some subgenre of literature/film for which the appeal is this: the reader/viewer is given the satisfaction of figuring out the secret before the writer discloses it. At the end of GHOST WRITER, we guess the secret and then have to watch McGregor painstakingly puzzle it out. For me that's not satisfying, it's more 'I want my money back.' I prefer the surprise of, say, THE SIXTH SENSE where you are knocked off your seat and then want to see the movie again to figure it out yourself.

"But the acting was good, it was shot well, and one gets to ponder Polanski's feeling of martyrdom about his rape conviction, as he sets one character in a similar position. 3 cats."