33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deftly crafted Polanski thriller.
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...
Published on 4 April 2011 by Ric03
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Watchable But Flawed Polanski Film
This is not a classic Polanski film but, despite its flaws, it is an OK one. Ewan McGregor's character is drafted in to ghost write the memoir of a former British Prime Minister after the previous ghost writer dies in suspicious circumstances. Whilst writing the memoir, McGregor uncovers a conspiracy of gigantic proportions that the previous ghost writer had also stumbled...
Published on 30 Dec 2010 by OMG! It's got a plug!
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deftly crafted Polanski thriller.,
This review is from: The Ghost [DVD] (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). It's nothing like Bourne (some people have mentioned it had the potential to be another Bourne) as it isn't supposed to be. It's about character and focuses on the increasing paranoia the Ghost Writer feels as his situation unfolds, on the psychological tension rather than the dramatic tension of being chased in different situations. Polanski doesn't achieve the heights of his own benchmark in paranoid isolation, Repulsion, but this is still a cut above your average thriller. It's a beautiful and haunting film with a strong plot and top notch acting and direction. How anyone could rate it less than three stars is simply astonishing.
46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stylish and tense adaptation,
This review is from: The Ghost [DVD] (DVD)Some of the other reviewers condemn this film as dull, but what it forgoes in high-octane drama it more than makes up for in slow-burning suspense. Excellent performances from all concerned, and a deeply controlled directorial style that is redolent of a time when film-makers were expert craftsmen. The rainswept landscape and chilly-looking interiors are metaphors for the bleakness of this story and its characters' nervy states of mind. I thought it was all very cleverly done, and proof that Polanski is still in possession of his powers.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth watching,
This review is from: The Ghost [DVD] (DVD)We read the book and enjoyed it very much. We bought the DVD not expecting it to follow the book as many movies condense the story ommitting many of the important details therefore changing, usually not for the better, the details. This followed the book closely and was equally enjoyable. We can fully recommend.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wicked bottle of Polanski,
This review is from: The Ghost [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)Understated shades purvey this involving coup of a film, so fans of 'The Ninth Gate' won't be disappointed. Only it's updated, with more hyper-real political themes that are the backdrop this time. People get carried away commenting upon the plausibility of the plot facts etc etc...and forget that Polanski makes art, focussed on an individual, carefully building in subtle camerawork that punctuates a gradual escalation of tension. This time the message is more potent: corruption, truth, the ghost that is lost between the lines in the lofty decisions made every day. Well done Richard Harris, a British Michael Crichton, who provided the original book. Two talents combined here. This is a thriller in its purest form. It's the individual that matters most to Polanski,caught in a seemingly simple, promising emotional landscape of reality until suddenly the deep waves come rolling. The pleasure for us is in sensing these waves with the director. Which is why we have such a terrific backdrop of water in this movie.
McGregor is superb, nowhere jarring in performance, as are all the others.
Essential addition. Leaves you just a little haunted by people, by the minefield of politics. The facts matter less, the emotion is there.
65 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paranoia,
This review is from: The Ghost [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)THE GHOST (WRITER) is a truly enjoyable thriller which has this reality feel to it, no superheroes, no spectacular action scenes, no gratuitous gore or murder, but an entertaining tale of political intrigue and corruption, somewhat Hitchcockian, not too complex, which allows you to enjoy every aspect of it. The characters are believable and vulnerable individuals all with their virtues and flaws, which makes you care. They really are the victims of the situations they've gotten themselves into. One thing, however, that made me love this film was its atmosphere. Simply amazing. Here we see the real genius Polanski at work (as with THE PIANIST). How he's able to create a universe of anxiety, suspicion, and mystery by using all visual and audio means at his disposal. There is Lang's house, of course, a magnificent setting, luxurious, but cold and sterile, blockhouse-like, concealing terrible secrets. There is the island, the weather, desolate, gray, where the constant wind and rain enhance the feeling of despair and imminent doom. Oh, yes, and the music. Just listen to track 16 `The Truth about Ruth' on the soundtrack and you get into the mood. The perfect musical accompaniment by Alexandre Desplat. The end of the film is a masterstroke, surprising and unexpected, yet leaving all possibilities open. THE GHOST WRITER is a story about real people committing REAL crimes. Roman Polanski, a well-deserved Silver Bear! Film lovers, don't miss it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Remember this is fiction...,
This review is from: Ghost Writer [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (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. Fundamentally, the central assumptions behind the conspiracy make no sense. Why would people have behaved as they apparently did in the past - and why are they taking things so seriously now? The evidence that the Ghost Writer finds consists of little more than an unfounded allegation by the previous Ghost Writer and a couple of photos suggesting that Lang's claim to have entered politics to win Ruth's heart were not strictly true. In reality, inconsistencies between Adam Lang's official story and actual facts could be brushed away as poetic licence; the allegations had no supporting evidence and Lang's subsequent political career was what it was - conducted in the public gaze and subject to public accountability. In other words, it is all a bit of a storm in a teacup. But if you can go along with the story line it does make for some genuinely suspenseful scenes and a memorable ending.
The one aspect that really did grate was the Richard Rycart/Robin Cook character. The real Robin Cook had not supported Tony Blair's decision to go to war in Iraq and resigned from the Government. He did so with sadness and dignity. He did not cause mayhem from the back benches; he did not seek to embarrass Tony Blair or the Labour Party. He took a principled position and stood by it. Rycart, however, is portrayed as a bitter and scheming man intent on pursuing a personal vendetta against Lang (who had sacked him). Robin Cook deserved better treatment than this.
So, as political fiction this does score reasonably well - but please don't mistake it for fact.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as good as the book!,
This review is from: The Ghost [DVD] (DVD)Having read the book I was expecting the film to be 'hyped' up too much!
It wasn't, it was a very good adaptation!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good mystery thriller,
This review is from: The Ghost [DVD] (DVD)I first watched this movie without any prior knowledge of what it was about, Ewan McGregor is one of my favourite actors, so it was for his leading role that made me buy the film on DVD.
'The Ghost' is an enjoyable thriller, following the untimely death of his ghost writer, Ex British prime minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) hires a journalist (McGregor) to finish off writing his memoirs. As things transpire, it seems likely that the ghost writer's death might not have been an accident after all. There is a sense that something sinister is about to take place at all times. The fact that it is very tense, meant that it managed to hold my interest from start to finish.
I thought that this was an excellent political thriller. The ending was fantastic and took me by surprise, it was one that I really didn't see coming at all. Reminiscent of a Alfred Hitchcock thriller, watching 'The Ghost' was a great way to spend the afternoon.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait.,
This review is from: The Ghost [DVD] (DVD)I understand from the font of all knowledge that is Wikipedia, that this film was delayed by 2 years in production because of the American Writers Strike a few years ago. As a result the film has to recast actors.
This was perfect because the actors they eventually used are sublime, as is the film.
This film is dramatically and cinematically shot. The cast shine and the plot is breathtakingly good... from beginning to end this film thrills,
This is the best film I have seen in a long while and I can't recommend it enough!
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't let this Ghost slip through the cracks..,
This review is from: The Ghost [DVD] (DVD)This is an excellent thriller that is small in scale, well acted and peppered with clever dialogue and paranoia throughout. As for what I say next, it is my description of the plot and my opinion. If you're not interested in reading that then take heed, anonymous film fan, this is one film best suited for a quiet nights rent. There's enough acting talent, creepily atmospheric direction, suspense and paranoid plot to sustain your interest for one viewing.
Now, adapted from Robert Harris best selling political thriller by no less a director than Roman Polanski (he of "Chinatown", "The Pianist" and "Rosemary's Baby" fame and off screen infamy worth checking out in the documentary "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired" if you're interested)"The Ghost" weaves the should-be-simple tale of a writer (Ewan McGregor), hired at the bequest of fictitious former British prime minister Adam Lang to ghost write his autobiography. On the surface this appears to be a straightforward task, until you consider the mysterious nature of the previous Ghost Writers death, that the British MP(clearly modeled after Tony Blair and played very well by Pierce Brosnan)is embroiled in charges against him relating to war crimes, namely the handing over of terrorists for torture to the US, and the general state of lockdown caused by protesters on the ex Prime Ministers front door calling him a murderer, then you have the scenario faced by the unfortunate writer who walks into a tangled web of political double crossing, intrigue and, in general matters grossly over his head.
After bland performances in last years "Angels and Demons" and "The Men Who Stare At Goats" Ewan McGregor gives a welcoming riveting turn as a man who's assignment brings him closer to peril than he could have possibly imagined. Equal parts bored and stressed over his work for the former PM he gradually uncovers considerably deadly information concerning his employer and his wife(played by Olivia Wilde who comfortably steals every scene she's in as Langs duplicite spouse), the CIA, and......well no fair telling, save that this research leads to encounters with shady characters particularly a dead cold CIA operative played with sharp wit and contained threat by the reliably excellent, Oscar-nominated actor Tom Wilkinson. While the cast in "The Ghost" is uniformly excellent the triumph here is the paranoid, shifty tone established by the director who generates tension with such remarkable ease that a shot of a lone car being emptied off a ferry is made suspenseful. Carefully composed shots, camera angles though meaning little to me consciously are masterfully executed along with a brilliantly effective, minimalist score by Alexandre Desplat, to engineer an almost constant sense of dread. So much of the film has little more than three of four actors in any given scene yet there is always a suspicious feeling that something is amiss or that danger is close at hand.
While it's regrettable that many who would've enjoyed "The Ghost" on the big screen well be watching it on DVD I strongly recommend this to any film fanatic who enjoys a good, suspenseful thriller. That's exactly what you'll get with "The Ghost" what it does not give in Jason Bourne style espionage thrillers-i.e. frantic car chases, gunplay, explosive action etc, it delivers in spades of suspense, intelligent dialogue and excellent acting marshaled by a genuine master director who knows how to make movies like this tick.
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The Ghost [DVD] by Herve De Luze (DVD - 2010)