Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Man on Film: The Ghost Writer

Having been a great director through the decade in which political paranoia films reigned supreme, I suppose it only makes sense that Roman Polanski's newest film The Ghost Writer embodies everything that was great about that genre. In ways reminiscent of Alan J. Pakula and Sydney Pollack at their finest, The Ghost Writer is a deliberately paced, slow burn of a film in which our protagonist (deftly played by Ewan McGregor) finds himself taking over the role of ghost-writing [auto-]biographer of a Tony Blair-like figure whose transgressions while in office are coming back to bite him.

His predecessor turned up dead on a beach mere days prior to his taking the assignment. As the circumstances surrounding the previous shadow-biographer's death begin to look more and more suspicious, The Ghost begins look into Prime Minister Adam Lang's (Pierce Brosnan) past. With conspiracy, misdirection, and subterfuge running rampant through the film, Polanski successfully keeps his audience on edge throughout the film, enthralling all from beginning to end.

In short, The Ghost Writer was a great political thriller harkening back its compelling 1970s cousins Three Days of the Condor, The Parallax View, and All the President's Men. To be in that company speaks to the quality of this film, and I assure you, it's top-notch.

So if you're looking for one of the best political thrillers in years, look no further than The Ghost Writer.

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