The Ghost Writer is the last movie by Polanski before he was arrested in Switzerland in September 2009, in relation with his rape crime on a minor in 1977 in California; crime to which he pleaded guilty. He fled the U.S. in 1978 before he was sentenced for his crime, which left his case pending trial. He has been wanted by the american justice since then. There's an interesting documentary on the topic, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired.
|Roman Polanski on the set of The Ghost Writer|
For those of you who are not familiar with the concept, a "ghost" is a writer who lends his/her writing services (some may say talent) to another person, usually a public figure or celebrity, to write in a better style, the memoirs or biography of that person.
Ewan McGregor is "The Ghost" in this story, and his character is never named during the movie, like "Ghosts" are never named in the books they literally write. The story starts in London, UK, where the agent of the "Ghost" gets him a deal to write the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister, Adam Lang, played by Pierce Brosnan. In fact, McGregor is playing a "Ghost" replacing another "Ghost" who died few weeks earlier from a suspicious drowning accident not far from Lang's residence on an Island in what seems to be New England.
|Pierce Brosnan & Ewan McGregor in The Ghost Writer|
The movie is about the discoveries that McGregor's character will make throughout the process and his improvised investigation of the death of his predecessor, that bring into the light very complex links between Lang, his wife Ruth (Olivia Williams), and Paul Emmett (Tom Wilkinson). All of this happening under the shadow of a potential indictment for war crimes of Lang, for allowing torture in Afghanistan.
|Ewan McGregor in The Ghost Writer|
|Olivia Williams & Tom Wilkinson in The Ghost Writer|
From a cinematic perspective, Polanski succeeds into building an amazing thriller atmosphere, with the perfect winter in Northern Sea visual, a slow pace allowing the story and mystery to build-up.
As equally interesting is the political dimension (intentional or not) that the movie has. One can't help but think of Tony Blair in this story, but I leave it up to you to discover the story when you watch the movie.
The cast is amazing, art direction serving the story, and a great story, what else to ask for? I highly recommend it.