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The Ghost [DVD]

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Product details

  • Actors: Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Williams, Robert Pugh, Eli Wallach
  • Directors: Roman Polanski, Herve De Luze
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Optimum Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 20 Sep 2010
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003L1509Q
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,372 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Following the tragic death of his ghost writer, British ex-prime minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) hires a journalist (Ewan McGregor) to complete his memoirs. No sooner has the new Ghost Writer arrived at the Lang’s isolated island retreat to begin the job, when Lang is accused of being involved in War Crimes during his time in office, and a huge political storm breaks. The scandal brings reporters and protesters swarming to the Martha’s Vineyard mansion where Lang is staying with his wife Ruth (Olivia Williams) and his media-handler turned mistress Amelia (Kim Cattrall) and, trapped within the confines of the estate, The Ghost is quickly drawn into the political and sexual affairs at play in the house. More disturbing still, as The Ghost researches his subject, he begins to uncover clues suggesting his predecessor had stumbled on a dark secret in Adam Lang’s past. Suddenly, it begins to seem likely that his untimely death might not have been an accident after all....

Based on the bestseller by Robert Harris (Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel) The Ghost is an edgy, atmospheric and enthralling thriller from Academy Award-winning director Roman Polanski.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 April 2011
Format: DVD
An unamed ghost-writer (McGregor) is given the task of rewriting the memoirs of a Blair-like ex-PM Adam Lang (Brosnan), after the previous ghost-writer committed suicide. He travels to a gloomy seaside hideaway in America (supposed to be Martha's Vineyard -- the location they filmed Jaws -- though, due to Polanksi's legal problems, it was actually filmed in Germany) to meet the politican (and his wife), and attempt to rewrite the manuscript. As he is there, though, the story breaks that Lang is to be tried for war crimes in Iraq, and as he also finds (in the effects of his predecessor) evidence that there might have been CIA involvement in Lang's ascendency to the top.

I thought this was actually excellent and can't believe the amount of 1 star reviews! (If you don't like slow films, watch something else!) The cinematography and atmosphere (lots of sombre, autumnul greys and browns, rainy beaches) and pacing were particularily impressive and reminded me somewhat of Wallander (the Branagh adaptations), but the film was also full of Polanksi's mischevious genius. I thought McGregor was compelling in the central role (it was through his characters admittance that he knew nothing about politics that helped draw me in more). Brosnan was uterlised to perfection (keeping him cleverly off camera for large portions of the film to retain an impersonal distance and power), as Adam Lang, hiding away in his designer bunker by the ocean, whilst his world fell apart. The rest of the cast were excellent too.

I suppose people will see this in different ways. I'm seeing it as someone who loves Polanski's work, but who hasn't read the book. I'd reccomend this to anyone who likes Polanksi (or also Wallander).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 Mar 2011
Format: DVD
The Ghost Writer is one of those political conspiracy films which is firmly rooted in fiction but makes enough references to real people and real events to create the illusion of something more sinister.

In The Ghost Writer, Ewan McGregor is hired to provide a final edit to former UK Prime Minister Adam Lang's memoirs. McGregor's predecessor had gone missing in action and ended up washed up on a beach in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Lang is a thinly veiled allusion to Tony Blair; his wife Ruth to Cherie Blair, and the disillusioned (and bearded) former Foreign Secretary, Richard Rycart, was clearly based on Robin Cook, albeit a version who had not died whilst walking in Scotland.

The basic premise is good. The Ghost Writer inadvertently uncovers more and more secrets as he goes along - never acting as an investigative journalist but merely satisfying his own curiosity. The level of menace is good. Right from the outset, the Martha's Vineyard setting is used to create claustrophobia. The Ghost Writer is surrounded by evil forces that lurk barely seen, right in the periphery of vision. The locations are terrific, the camera shots are stunning and the wilderness setting is slightly reminiscent of Wallender.

The actual plot seems plausible at first. Adam Lang is a man obsessed by legacy and having the final say. He is dogged by accusations of having colluded in war crimes and seeks the protection of a private and secure beach house whilst making the occasional foray out onto the US speaker circuit. He has a great sense of control freakery and a vicious temper. And, quite usefully, he has a man to run along behind him and pick up the things he breaks in fits of pique.

But as the levels of conspiracy grow, holes in the plot start to appear.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark Barry HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Jun 2014
Format: Blu-ray
A small car ferry pulls into the American seaport of Old Haven at night during a downpour. The front bow lifts, ramps fall and vehicles disembark. But a Silver Mercedes SUV remains stubbornly on deck with no one inside. Removed by police - it's later examined on the dock for suspect devices - but there's nothing. A distance away - a fully clothed man's body washes up on the island's shoreline in the dark - as the rain pours relentlessly down...

Meanwhile back in London - a British Journalist/Biography (we never do get his name) is being propositioned by his agent in a Soho bar. A lucrative opening has occurred that's worth $250,000 - all expenses paid - and for just one month's work. Mike McAra the biographer of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang has committed suicide in the USA - his body found washed up on the beach. And with a ten million dollar advance and deadlines looming - a 'ghost writer' is needed to complete the unfinished manuscript for Rhinehart, Inc. And as Adam Lang has recently been accused of being involved in ordering the secret kidnapping of four Pakistani terrorists five years back when he was PM (that included torture and one death) - interest in his 'memoirs' is both high and needs to be handled well. The Ghost (Ewan McGregor) convinces Lang's people (Timothy Hutton and James Belushi) that he'll ask the questions the public want answered - and 'honesty' will give them the blockbuster they need (dialogue above). Oddly - they agree - and soon our Ghost is on his way to meet the elusive former British PM (Pierce Brosnan as Adam Lang) in his barricaded and well guarded US home located on an island.
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