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39 of 41 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 Amazon Customer

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4 of 5 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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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deftly crafted Polanski thriller., 4 April 2011
By 
Amazon Customer (Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Remember this is fiction..., 17 Mar 2011
By 
MisterHobgoblin (Melbourne) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "...Heart Sells Autobiographies..." - The Ghost on BLU RAY, 27 Jun 2014
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Ghost, The [Blu-ray] (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.

Once there our Writer meets up with Amelia - Lang's assistant of 8-years (Kim Cattrall) and an angry ever-so-slightly manipulative wife Ruth (Olivia Williams) who feels there may have been more than just politics between her handsome husband and his overly zealous secretary. Then when Adam Lang does come home from a book tour via his private jet - discussions begin about his past in Cambridge and his introduction to Labour Party politics in the Seventies. But Lang seems distracted, jumpy - even a little on edge. Our Ghost also finds the finished manuscript long and tedious. And worse - as the days go by and things happen - he gets the distinct impression that McAra's death by alcohol and drowning was way too neat.

But while talks inside the safety of Lang's luxurious seafront home go on - the Human Rights case against him begins to build momentum in the news - its flames being fuelled by a former Foreign Secretary Lang fired called Richard Rycart (Robert Pugh). And on it goes to our Writer taking a trip off-island to see a Professor Emmet (Tom Wilkinson) - an old acquaintance of Lang's back when he used to be a budding actor in Cambridge. But can he put all the pieces together? Is Adam Lang a man of principle and history - or is he someone's mouthpiece for freedom - a political puppet? And just what is written into his dull memoirs that are so dangerous?

The colour palette for this movie is clever. Polanski builds his political thriller slowly - giving scene after scene a cold detachment. The camera angles glimpse scared servants on the outside looking in - it's raining a lot - there are stainless steel work surfaces - curtains pulled - granite fireplaces and large tasteless modern art on the slate walls. It looks sumptuous - but is vacuous and brutal underneath. Even the island itself seems cut off from the real world.

There's tremendous work from a huge cast of talented support parts - with Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Eli Wallach and Tom Wilkinson upping the classy ensemble considerably. Pierce Brosnan is especially good as the besieged ex man of power surrounded by security guards and yes men with leather briefcases who ignore the shouting matches and leave silently. This is an intelligent slow-burning thriller adapted by author Robert Harris from his own book of the same name.

The BLU RAY picture quality is squeaky clean in keeping with the detached from reality theme (defaulted to 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio). There's a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and there's excellent extras - interviews with the cast, Author and Director Roman Polanski - even the World Premier in Berlin.

"Even ghosts must have feelings..." - Ruth says to our Writer by way of apology after a cutting remark on his literary ambitions.

"The Ghost" is a classy watch - and one that reveals itself slowly. Dip your toes in the murky waters of its paper trail...
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wicked bottle of Polanski, 3 Jun 2012
This review is from: Ghost, The [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.
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49 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stylish and tense adaptation, 14 Sep 2010
By 
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.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth watching, 25 Nov 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WORTH A WATCH, 27 Jun 2013
By 
The Movie Guy "Movies from A to Z" (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Ghost [DVD] (DVD)
I was sitting on the edge of my seat during the whole movie as the plot got thicker and thicker. Adam Lange (Brosnan) is a former British Prime Minister who hires Ewan McGregor to finish ghost writing his memoirs. As the movie opens we see the first ghost writer's body wash up on the beach. Ewan is selected because he is politically stupid. After his initial meeting with a hiring group,(Jim Belushi) he is handed a manuscript to look at. On his way home, he is mugged and the manuscript stolen. He suspects it is because the robbers thought it was Adam Lange's memoirs.

On his way to meet Lange, he sees on TV that Lange is being charged with war crimes for turning over suspected terrorists to the CIA for torture (Apparently only the US and Israel are allowed to do that under the UN charter). He finally meets Lange and his aides and wife (Ruth), only find out Ruth (Olivia Williams) dislikes Lange's aide (Kim Cattrall) and suspects they are having an affair. McGregor shifts gears from Ghostwriter to investigative journalist as he unravels a web of deceit and lies.

The movie is long, but it held my interest all the way through.
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68 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paranoia, 12 Jun 2010
By 
Frank Messely (Kortrijk, BELGIUM) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Ghost, The [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.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as good as the book!, 8 Mar 2011
By 
J. SANDERS "Crime lover" (BUCKS. UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow but worth watching, 1 Sep 2013
This review is from: The Ghost [DVD] (DVD)
The word "thriller" doesn't accurately describe this film; The Ghost is more of a drama film. Nonetheless it still worth seeing because of the superb storyline and acting. Ewan McGregor is brilliantly cast as the writer forced into an impossible position and Pierce Brosnan is equally good as the former PM of Great Britain who committed some... questionable acts whilst in office.
Obviously this is inspired by the events of the Iraq war and the character of Adam Lang is an obvious reflection of Tony Blair, however this manages to avoid being a personal attack towards Blair and remains a tense, if slightly dull, political drama. And with an unforgettable storyline it is easy to get through the boring parts because the rest of the film is just mesmerising. The Ghost is definitely worth seeing for those who can put up with slow, well crafted dramas.
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