The Ghost Writer, Roman Polanski’s film based on the Robert Harris novel The Ghost, is a very enjoyable thriller. Harris is a master of the high concept thriller (I like Enigma best of his earlier books) and this story draws heavily on his interest in the lives and careers of his friends (but are they still friends, after this?) Tony and Cherie Blair.
Ewan McGregor plays a ghost writer who is hired for an enormous fee to do a rush job – sprucing up the memoirs of a recent Prime Minister. He is flown out to meet the great man (played by the ultra-charismatic Pierce Brosnan), his wife (Olivia Williams) and his sexy aide – and mistress – a role tailor-made for the stunning Kim Cattrall. But his predecessor has died in mysterious circumstances, and soon the plot thickens.
I was surprised that the story moved, for the most part, at a fairly slow pace, but it warms up steadily and develops into a quite gripping story, especially when our hero starts to discover clues to a sinister truth in the manuscript his predecessor was working on at the time of his death.
Tom Wilkinson, appearing late in the movie, plays a key part as a sinister professor with CIA connections, and does his usual impressive job. I was also very taken with Olivia Williams’ subtle portrayal of a wronged but manipulative wife. Overall, a very enjoyable movie which I can recommend.