Review: The Ghost Writer

A smart thriller with a classic “they don’t make movies like this anymore” feeling,  you’ll follow every turn until the very last second of The Ghost Writer.

Leave your personal opinions about Roman Polanski at the door, the man can direct suspense. With an impressive cast, the gloomy backdrop of Martha’s Vineyard (really Germany), and bits of intrigue slowly fed to the audience, you’ve got a very well crafted, fun 2 hours ahead of you.


A successful ghost writer (Ewen McGregor) is tasked with completing the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan playing Tony Blair) when the former writer turns up dead. The writer is swept up in the ex-politician’s “scandal-avoiding, seclusion bubble”…gotta get one of those…of wife (Olivia Williams), assistant (Kim Cattrall) and bodyguards. When it’s discovered that the former writer may not have died by accident and the former PM may have a more sordid past than his autobiography dictates, the ghost puts on his investigator cap and starts digging. What he finds is not what you would expect.

I came into this movie with no expectations.  It didn’t have a lot of marketing behind it. No big explosions or A-List stars. What I did come out of this movie was impressed.

There are certainly slow moments…I don’t think we really needed to see McGregor bike pedal through rain as much as we did. However I was never taken out of the story aka looking at my watch. It was a well-paced thriller that really maintained a “what’s going to happen next” curiosity. The twists and turns were clever, the mood was pretty tense all the way through and the ending was…awesome. (I mean that in the “gnarly,” “kickass,” “tubular” way)

All the actors stepped up here. I’ve missed Olivia Williams.  She’s been resigned to TV (and not good TV) for the passed few years but really brings out the character of the PM’s wife…her frustration, her loneliness. Pierce Brosnan is usually great and this is no different. He’s actually not in the movie as much as you’d thing but when he is, his Adam Lang is chewing up the screen with ego and hubris. Basically an asshole James Bond. Ewan Mcgregor is great as a man in over his head but still wanting to do the right thing.  Kim Cattrall? She fills a role. Nothing more, nothing less.

The Ghost Writer doesn’t reinvent the wheel but it doesn’t have to. When the theatre is surrounded by 7ft. tall blue 3-D Avatars and Johnny Depp playing his fifth version of “charming yet crazy”, this movie sneaks up on you. I don’t see this movie making any Top 10 of the year lists but it will definitely entertain and thrill you.

 3 stars – good movie, take a friend.  If you’re going in expecting stunts and explosions with a few car chases sprinkled in, you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re watching for a great, tense thriller, well acted, well executed from one of the greatest directors of all time…then you might enjoy yourself.

Coming Attractions:
Predators (release date: July 7, 2010) – Please be good. Please be good. Presented by Robert Rodriguez (meaning he made sure it didn’t suck), this is the next chapter in the Predator movies…looking a lot more like the original than the last 3 movies appearances (Predator 2, Predator vs. Aliens, Predator vs. Aliens: Requiem). Please be good.


Randomly Recommended
Shallow Grave (1994) – Before Trainspotting and Obi-wan Kenobi, Ewan McGregor made people take notice in this creepy thriller. Three jerky flat mates rent a room out to a dead guy with lots of mob money. The focus here is the psychological breakdown of the friends and how greed can affect people. Believe me, there’s nothing typical that happens next.


The Matador (2005) – Pierce Brosnan is so much more than Remington Steele and James Bond. He gets to show that here as a hitman with friendship issues who ropes a businessman (Greg Kinnear) into his world. Well written, funny and builds to a stellar ending.


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  1. Oh goody goody goody. I was really hoping this was going to be good. Is it theatre worthy…maybe, but I’ll definitely be watching it.

    And yes…the Matador was surprisingly excellent.

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