Posted April 28, 2010 by William Dunmyer in Uncategorized

Ghost Writer: Smart, Stylish Thriller for Grown-Ups

“Ghost Writer” is a skillfully directed, Hitchcockian political thriller. It follows a very standard formula, but Roman Polanski lifts everything to a higher level through his extraordinarily assured and beautiful direction.

The editing is often languid, draining some of the life out of the film. I also object to the scurrilous insinuations about Britain’s former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and especially about his wife. Polanski appears to have gotten seduced in recent years by a particularly paranoid faction of the loony left, which at times makes the film laughable.

But there’s no denying the filmmaking skill here. And it’s a pleasure to see a reasonably intelligent film made exclusively for well-educated adults. Someone is still making movies for grown-ups!

While watching the film, I was often reminded of Polanski’s 1974 masterpiece, “Chinatown.” Though the films are very different (and “Chinatown” is vastly better), there are numerous parallels that offer interesting food for thought. As an example, both movies depict an ordinary man (in this case a hard-working ghost writer played by Ewan McGregor) caught up in a world of intrigue and danger that he barely understands.

William Dunmyer

William Dunmyer is a lifelong cinephile who fell in love with movies at about the age of 5. He lives in New York City.