The Ghost Writer (Roman Polanski, 2010)
Of the many films I’ve seen this year, few haven’t been reviewed on LMdC. With the LAMB’s upcoming Director’s Chair on Roman Polanski on July 22 it inspired me to finally put into words my impressions and appreciations of Polanski’s latest film.
Hired as a ghost writer to write the memoirs of the former Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan) of Great Britain The Ghost (Ewan McGregor), discovers that his predecessor has strangely died falling from the ferry that brings him to the island where the former Prime Minister and his entourage is staying. This death slowly puts a doubt into The Ghost's mind and he wants to know more about what happened because it seems like he is on the same path. He also wants to bring the light on some blank spots of the autobiography. He will try to meet people who helped the candidature and the rise to the power of the Prime Minister. Those people won’t tell much to the investigator. Slowly, as strong and as subtle as Polanski’s Chinatown the story will unpeel itself until its unexpected denouement.
Polanski’s direction is firm and sober, the dark tones and natural colors give to this thriller a realistic angle and the right mood for its strong script. This is also Polanski’s ability to tell a story with few artifices and just few camera angles. His visual language is clear sober and intelligent. This is clearly the work of a master. The influence of the famously recognized director is more palpable than many would consider. Sadly, the name of Roman Polanski has been thrown in the mud with the terrible death of his wife Sharon Tate but also by the case of pedophilia that planned over his head for many decades. In the first case this is the clear complex of North Americans where we see the victim as the one who covers the guilt. In the second case well I wouldn’t advance myself on it because I don’t know all the details and it’s been such a malaise that I don’t even know what to think about it.
All I know is that I love Roman Polanski’s films and I can clearly make a difference between the work of the man and his behaviour outside his oeuvre. While watching The Ghost Writer we finally see what is filmmaking. It doesn’t need CGI effects or implausible twists to entertain a public, you just need a strong script, a great director, and then the rest is printed on the film. A Polanski film is what Cinema is all about, like John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock.