THE GHOST WRITER

Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer is perhaps the film that got away in 2010. Still reeling from the arrest and pending consequences over his past indiscretions with an underage girl, audiences certainly liked Polanski’s film – that is to say, those who bothered to see it – but, unfortunately, it’s not always easy to see the forest through the trees when it comes to art; an artist’s personal life can take over whatever merit their work might’ve had (just ask Woody Allen). In this case, it’s a shame because Polanski has made his best film since his heyday back in the early to mid-1970s. Working from Robert Harris’ novel The Ghost, the film stars Ewan McGregor as an unnamed ghost writer hired by a London publishing company (led by an unrecognizable Jim Belushi – sorry to any fans – are there fans? – of TV’s According to Jim, which remains unseen by me save for an unavoidable commercial here or there) to pour over the existing draft of the memoirs of one Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan), a career politician clearly meant to evoke echoes of Tony Blair and George W. Bush. War crimes charges levied against Lang, mysterious motorcyclists haunting McGregor at every turn, and the mysterious relationships between Lang and his undervalued, enigmatic wife (Olivia Williams) and his icy blonde secretary (Kim Cattrall) heighten the suspense to Hitchcockian levels, aided and abbetted by Pawel Edelman’s chilly cinematography and a delightfully haunted broken circus score by Alexandre Desplat. One of the great overlooked award-worthy films of the year.

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