Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Ghost Writer. A

The Ghost Writer is the best movie of the year so far. The film, a sophisticated mystery, plays like modern Hitchcock with a touch of the great paranoid thrillers of the 70's. Roman Polanski is not a great man but he is a great filmmaker and has made some astonishingly good movies in his long career. Here he comes close to matching his best work. Ewan McGregor plays the ghost writer, a smart man who's been assigned to complete the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan). He's taking over the job for a man who has mysteriously drowned and washed up along the shore (some revelations about this incident are revealed by an old man-played by the great Eli Wallach-in my favorite scene in the film). The story gets complicated when Lang is accused of a serious war crime, which then leads to an intense investigation by the ghost writer that brings out secrets from Lang's past. This is a top-notch thriller and one that doesn't rely action and movement to create suspense. Instead it takes advantage of an eerie island, bad weather, and the quiet determination of the protagonist. The Ghost Writer is a movie of many secrets, and by the end the loose ends don't all tie up for the audience. It gives us answers, but we have to figure out the why in all of them. This kind of quiet, peaceful, intelligent thriller is no longer made with regularity. The Ghost Writer is a rare movie and the best I've seen in 2010.

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