‘The Ghost Writer’, Roman Polanski’s new film is a political thriller that is set up almost exactly like Hitchcock’s more campier classic suspense films such as ‘Dial M for Murder’ or ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’. It has twist and turns, along with some seldom silly dialogue with obvious winks for the audience. The acting is okay and the pacing is mixed. It begins well, drags through the middle and ends dynamically. Overall, a pleasing and modestly engaging film that is enjoyable. You’re money won’t be thrown away here.
The story, based on a book by Robert Harris, unfolds with a ghostwriter (Ewan McGregor) who is hired to complete the memoirs of a former British prime minister (Pierce Brosnan) who then later uncovers secrets that will put his own life in jeopardy.
This isn’t Polanski’s first stab at thrillers. He shot one 22 years ago called “Frantic” with Harrison Ford and that one went very well for him. I’m not sure why he would take so long to entertain us with another one? When you compare this movie to the great classic political thrillers in history such as ‘All The President’s Men,’ ‘The Manchurian Candidate,’ (1962) or ‘JFK,’ it is not as entertaining nor as intriguing as the those, but it also isn’t shameful by any stretch of the imagination.
It just happens that both Scorsese and Polanski have new movies out this Friday, February 19. Though they are vastly different directors, their latest films are thrillers. Shutter Island is the most absorbing and entertaining of the two. But if you can’t get tickets to that, The Ghost Writer is definitely a great option and it’s a bit easier to figure out.