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THE GHOST WRITER (2010)


Director: Roman Polanski

Writers: Robert Harris (screenplay), Roman Polanski (screenplay)
(Based on the novel THE GHOST by Robert Harris)

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan and Olivia Williams

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA): PG-13 (for language, brief nudity/sexuality, some violence and a drug reference)

Runtime: 128 min

Genres: Mystery, Thriller

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) is a former British prime minister whose memoirs are soon to be published. In fact, the publisher plans to print the book just as soon as it's written. The ghost writer, a personal friend of Lang's, was working on the book but died suddenly - a victim of an accident, suicide, or foul play, no one seems to care. A second ghost writer (Ewan McGregor) is tasked with whipping the book into proper shape (meaning "fix it" - make it interesting and sellable rather than boring and likely to end up on the remainder table in bookstores or stacked, unsold, in warehouses).

The task of preparing the manuscript quickly becomes more difficult and more dangerous when allegations surface that the former prime minister is being investigated for war crimes. The "Ghost" decides to do a little investigating on his own. He can't quite reconcile the facts with the previously written text. He keeps wondering what he's gotten himself into, and well he should.

I am not particularly a fan of political thrillers but THE GHOST WRITER held my attention and in the end, was quite an interesting tale. Good guys and bad guys blurred, as they sometimes do in real life. Facts aren't always true. They're open for interpretation. The on-going discovery of what seemed to be facts led the Ghost into dangerous territory, indeed.

Unlike some thrillers, there is not a lot of on-screen violence, but there is plenty of suspense. Conspiracy enthusiasts will love the notion that the former Prime Minister of Britain was merely a puppet manipulated by the White House to do its bidding, including involving both governments in illegal seizure and torture of suspected terrorists who were British citizens.

In the special features section on the DVD, the author Robert Harris talks about how the idea for his book THE GHOST (and subsequently the movie THE GHOST WRITER) came about. The insights were fascinating.

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