Film review – The Ghost Writer (2010)

27 August 2010
The Ghost Writer: Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) and The Ghost (Ewan McGregor)

Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) and The Ghost (Ewan McGregor)

Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) is a controversial former British Prime Minister who in order to complete his autobiography requires the assistance of a skilled ghost writer, especially since his last one died mysteriously. Enter the unnamed writer (Ewan McGregor) who is flown to Lang’s remote, wind-swept, compound-like island home. As the writer attempts to learn about Lang, some very disturbing secrets start to surface, forcing the writer to reassess his loyalties as choosing the wrong side may jeopardise his life.

This political thriller is a return to the more straightforward genre filmmaking that director Roman Polanski has previously indulged in with successful films like Frantic and less successful films such as The Ninth Gate. For the most part it is an atmospheric and intriguing film but it does suffer from a slightly naff ending and some very stodgy dialogue. Also, the acting at times comes dangerous close to being wooden. Nevertheless, mystery fans will find plenty to enjoy about The Ghost Writer and Polanski does an excellent job evoking an increasing sense of paranoia and danger. The very final shot is certainly as skilfully composed as anything he has done before.

Originally appeared in The Big Issue, No. 361, 2010

© Thomas Caldwell, 2010

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Film review – Mamma Mia! (2008)

29 July 2008

The massively successful stage musical Mamma Mia! uses the much-loved songs by 70s mega pop group ABBA to underpin a breezy comedy of manners about a young bride who, unbeknownst to her mother, invites the three men who could be her father to her wedding. As the wedding ceremony approaches misunderstandings, confusions and general wackiness ensue.

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