Writer: Lai Swee WeiWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects:
NACinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Public Enemies”, “The Ninth Gate”
From the man behind Oscar-winning film "The Pianist" (2002), London filmmaker Roman Polanski delivers a gripping drama about a writer (Ewan McGregor) hired to ghost-write the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) after the previous collaborator Michael McAra commits suicide, or so they say.
Based on the 2007 novel "The Ghost" written by English writer Robert Harries, the film heads straight to McAra's death, whose is body is suddenly washed up on the shores of Martha's Vineyard in New England while his car is left at the ferry. A very curious opening that will leave audiences to wonder on whether the man teleported wrongly to the sea ala "Jumper" (2008) or it was a time travel gone wrong like in "The Time Traveler's Wife" (2009).
In order to replace him, the publishers desperately recruit a successful British ghost writer (McGregor) - unnamed both here and in the novel - to jazz up the memoirs and complete it within less than a month, then soon two weeks. From what he finds to be a "cure of insomnia", inevitably turns into an engaging autobiography upon discovering some interesting bits and pieces about Lang's sudden interest to politics coupled with a few photographic evidence (that's clearly photoshopped).
The writer is invited to stay in the compound where Lang resides with his somewhat bitter wife Ruth (Olivia Williams), who suspects his assistant Amelia (Kim Cattrall) to be his mistress. Soon, McGregor's autobiographical work is interrupted when news breaks out that Lang has been accused of war crimes by a former minister and is being investigated by the World Court. Talk about political war-drama. Harris, who also co-wrote the movie screenplay with Polanski, based the characters of the Prime Minister and his wife very closely on his former friend Tony Blair and Blair's wife Cherie.
Viewers can enjoy a tad bit of British wit in midst of the exciting revelations as they slowly begin to unveil, leading up to a twisted ending. However, audiences might tend to wiggle in their seats as the movie suffers from pacing issues filled with many suspicious characters. But there's no need to worry as Polanski knows exactly how to wake you right up with a suspenseful chase scene at the ferry and when McGregor swiftly bears his naked body (just the side part, ladies).
McGregor delivers does justice as the reporter, exuding his charms where needed, while Brosnan is hardly convincing as a British ex-politician, seemingly there just to look the part. Even though Polanski had to complete the final editing of his film in a Swiss jail and under house arrest in Switzerland (due to a 32-year-old sex crime charge in 2009), this thriller still bears the mark of a genius that's worth watching for.Cinema Online, 24 May 2010