The Ghost Writer – review
cast: Ewan McGregor (The ghost writer), Pierce Brosnan(Prime Minister Adam Lang), Olivia Williams(The PM’s wife, Ruth), Kim Katrall (The PM’s secretary, Amelia)
Director: Roman Polanski
Based on the Novel “The Ghost” by Robert Harris
Running time: 128 minutes (R)
A body washes up on the shores of Massachusetts. The body of a successful, former British Prime Minister, Adam Lang’s aide. When he was found dead and washed up in what was construed as an apparent accident, he was working the memoirs of the Prime Minister Adam Lang.
Due to his untimely death, he is replaced by the unnamed protagonist of the movie, the ghost writer, played by Ewan McGregor. As the ghost writer starts to redact the manuscript left by the now departed aide, he finds that Adam Lang has been treading in murky waters and seemed to have dark connections with the CIA when in power and had presumably commissioned the torture of suspect terrorists.
To expedite his work, as the ghost writer stays with the Prime Minister in his idyllic Massachusetts abode by the sea side along with the Prime Minister’s neglected wife, Ruth and his secretary (and mistress) Amelia, it transpires that the Prime Minister didn’t really have a political agenda during his formative years in college and nor did he identify himself with any political group or ideology. So why in the world would a happy go lucky Cambridge student without a care in the world go on to become the Prime Minister of a country?
Deeper digging reveals that there is certainly something sinister stewing between Ruth, Adam Lang and Amelia. As he gets closer to uncovering the truth about Adam Lang’s involvement with the CIA, Adam Lang is assassinated and the truth apparently dies with him.
However, the manuscript left by the previous ghost writer, the Prime Minister’s aide, reveals that it wasn’t Adam who was directly involved with the sanction of torture but surprisingly, his wife Ruth who was a CIA agent for much of her life. But before he announces this startling denouement to the world, the ghost writer is killed in a “freak” traffic collision.
The overall cold and gloomy atmosphere of the film lends to the overall murkiness of the characters involved. This is quite a good movie for a lazy sunday afternoon. Although not necessarily an Oscar contender by any means, this does throw some light, albeit fictional, on the unpleasant underbelly of world politics.