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April 3, 2010
Review - " The Ghost Writer "  -  (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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The Ghost Writer
Directed by: Roman Polanski
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Williams, Kim Cattrall

The ghost writer (Ewan McGregor) is hired to ghost the memoirs of
former British prime minister, Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) now living
in the U.S. Much like Tony Blair, Lang has been accused of being
nothing more than a puppet of the American regime. Ghost is
replacing another writer who died under unusual circumstances while
working on the project. The book is to be completed at Lang’s sleek
retreat in Martha’s Vineyard. As work on the memoir begins, Lang is
accused of sanctioning the torture of terrorist suspects and hustled off
by his handlers as the World Court in The Hague examines the

The ghost writer travels from London to Massachusetts, where Lang
keeps the only copy of his book under lock and key. These are some
particularly effective scenes, as McGregor's character is shunted and
shuffled from airplane to ferry to taxi to the guarded gates of Lang's
island residence, each transfer boxing him ever more securely into the
unknown. The island is a gloomy place, perpetually covered by
glowering clouds and wracked by winds that tax the groundskeepers,
who seem to be forever sweeping up the same bits of beach grass.

Not surprisingly, storm clouds are brewing inside as well. McGregor's
character picks up on some barely disguised tension between Lang's
wife (Olivia Williams) and his personal secretary (Kim Cattrall), with
whom he seems to be having an almost open affair.
As Lang's problems multiply, the ghost writer moves into the politician's compound, occupying the same room as the
previous ghost, now deceased. Now on his own, Ghost follows clues and hunches as he tried to discover the true story of
Lang and the truth about the death of his predecessor. The bleak atmosphere, Lang’s wife (Williams-enigmatic and
engrossing), his secretary (Cattrall-terribly miscast) and other characters mislead, seduce and abet him on his pursuit. The
C.I.A. and U.S. corporations come out looking callous and in cahoots once again.

This is an intelligent movie, but as a thriller, I found it exceptionally thrill-less until the last thirty minutes when Tom Wilkinson
and a few surprises breathed some life into it. There is far too much exposition at various points. Brosnan barely has time to
sketch out a character--so channel Tony Blair, I guess. I also found McGregor flat as the protagonist. We know little about
him—and frankly don’t care.