A Ghost Writer (Ewan McGregor) is hired to help former British Prime Minister Adam Lang(Pierce Brosnan) finish his memoirs. The Ghost begins to realize that there is more to the story then what he originally is aware of. Adam Lang is accused of giving up suspected terrorists to the US so that they could be tortured. The Ghost also uncovers that there may be a few facts in Lang’s memoirs that may have not happened exactly the way he says it does. As the Ghost learns the secrets of Adam Lang he begins to see that his predecessor may not have committed suicide at all.
I had really high expectations from this film going in, these films are the ones that I usually really enjoy watching because of how in depth they go with the plot and how well the actors portray their characters. This film met all my expectations and even went further by adding the simplistic feel to the tense scenes. What was really enjoyable about this film was that as soon as you thought the film was going to go the route of action it quickly slowed itself down and went back to the pace which it set from the beginning. I appreciate that Roman Polanski dialled this film down from possibly being a film that tried to answer to many questions to a film that was engaging and character driven.
Perhaps the best part of the film came when a 94 year old Eli Wallach made a small but pivotal appearance in this film. Such a small but chilling performance and at 94 years old that is something. All these tiny characters like the part that Wallach played helped answer the questions of the Ghost. All though we knew there was more to it then what people were willing to tell the Ghost we still wanted to see how it played out and see all these interactions between the Ghost and those who hold the answers he is looking for.
The Character of Adam Lang draws many comparisons to real life former British PM Tony Blair. In the film Adam Lang had many affiliations with the American Government and basically did what they told him making him a puppet on a string. The title of the book “My Life” is the same as Bill Clintons in real life, and the book in the film which heavily criticizing some politicians draws many comparisons as well to the book that was published by Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. In the end Polanski is simply trying to say that all Politicians have skeletons in their closets, and they will go to any lengths to keep these secrets from reaching the news channels and blowing their reputation sky high. Lang being the puppet on the string was brilliantly noted in a scene where he is being scrutinized on national television and his workers think that making a statement would be the best idea, and they toss around ideas and ultimately Ruth looks at the Ghost Writer and says “Why doesn’t he do it, he is the writer” which means that over the years when Lang had to make these tough calls he never made them based on what he wanted to say.
The War crimes allegations were not the focal point of this film, they were the initial reason as to why the Ghost Writer thought Lang might have something to hide, but it is only once he begins to dig into the past of Adam Lang he begins to realize that the timeline of events that Lang said took place cannot in fact be what truly happened.
Easily one of the best films I have seen for far in 2010, because it keeps you engaged in the story as the secrets and the layers of hidden agendas begin to peel back and become exposed. The tension is in the story, how a cover-up can affect so many and how far people are willing to go to keep themselves covered up from the ugliness of a scandal that rips through the headlines. A film that relies on its actors to play simple parts, to appear as fake individuals while we know that is exactly what they are trying to do. This film is a film that relies on its message, its story and its characters to help us realize exactly what it is trying to say. Out of the 128 min runtime it builds itself up for about 120 and then finally reveals exactly what we have wanted to hear the whole time. I would say skip this film to most people, but to those of you who like a build up with no shocking edge of your seat action then this film is perfect for you. One of those films that says what needs to be said with no fluffy white happy resolution. This could easily make a top 10 films of the year list. Top notch effort from everyone involved.