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The Ghost - 4/4/2010 4:42:28 PM   
Empire Admin


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I also think it is better than that! - 12/4/2010 1:40:27 AM   


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I agree with lukemurray. This is one of Brosnan's best...being dumped as Bond has done him wonders.
Robert Harris made no secret of his comparisons to Blair so spelling it out really undermines the film.
This should be seen and enjoyed. It is less clunky than Polanski has been in the past and aside from a couple of lines of cheesy dialogue, this is a satisfying and engaging thriller. Please see it!

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Post #: 2
I also think it is better than that! - 12/4/2010 2:43:24 AM   


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Joined: 28/6/2009
I agree with lukemurray. This is one of Brosnan's best...being dumped as Bond has done him wonders.
Robert Harris made no secret of his comparisons to Blair so spelling it out really undermines the film.
This should be seen and enjoyed. It is less clunky than Polanski has been in the past and aside from a couple of lines of cheesy dialogue, this is a satisfying and engaging thriller. Please see it!

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Post #: 3
Polanski +McGregor = wonderful match - 12/4/2010 3:36:54 PM   


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Ewan McGregor gets rid of every ounce of glamour and allows his Polankian character to emerge. I though, a few years ago, Polanski could have played him himself the way he played so beautifully in "The Tenant" Those two characters are not that far apart. Taking over an apartment or a job from someone who leaves the scene under very mysterious circumstances is practically the same thing. McGregor, however, is superb. In "The Ghost Writer" events play close to the knuckle. Who is Pierce Brosnan? Tony Blair? and Olivia Williams? Classic film-making at its best. Compelling and visually stunning. The score by Alexander Desplat reminded me of Bernard Herrman and the atmosphere is so thick that the film's 2 hours plus fly by at an amazing speed. Polanski at 77 doesn't show any signs of jadedness. He is in total control. Hurrah for that!

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Post #: 4
It's another example of good trailer bad film! - 17/4/2010 4:56:24 AM   


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Joined: 14/4/2010
From: London
Know I love political thrillers and after seeing the trailer really wanted to see this film. I watched it and was not impressed! First off it was a blodder, it didn't seem to go anywhere fast and was let down by a very dull script which to say had any depth would be a overstatement. Ok the film visually was appealing and very Polanski but was to washed out and trying to be something it wasn't "Gripping" The only saving grace was Ewan MacGregor who did a good job of a bad job. But then he made George Lucas's dire script in the Prequels of Star Wars sound like Shakespere so he has the practice. Olivia Williams was average and Pierce Brosnan was himself as always and hasn't really done anything of interest since Bond ( OK maybe Momma Mia! for pure comic value). The worst and quite frankly painful performance was from Kim Cattrell who just was awful, the hammy british accent and the wooden acting was in parts embarrassing to watch. She even did the Samatha faces from Sex in the City a few times to remind us that she is good at something but not I'm afraid in this film. The ending of the film was the best part of the whole movie when they finally tell us what its all about, but by then you dont really care.

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Post #: 5
A Tense Political Thriller - 17/4/2010 3:18:54 PM   


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I thought it was well shot but Ewan sounded like an American doing a cockney accent. It was tense but a slow and not very exciting but a good story. A friend of mine kept banging on about the book so I thought the film would be good but it wasnt as nearly as good as I expected a lot of talky talky and hitchcock tension.

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Post #: 6
The Ghost - 17/4/2010 9:50:48 PM   

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Joined: 3/10/2005
From: London
Its not a masterpiece by any shot, but I thought this was a decent little thriller, certainly Polanksi's best film in ages (personally I thought The Pianist was terribly over-rated, certainly not worthy of the praise it got at the Oscars).

The advertising of the film is a bit mis-leading, its not a McGregor/Brosnan double header by any shot, as Brosnan actually isn't the film that much, and yes, there are a few implausible bits (the reason why the writer ended up knocking on the door of Wallach's character is a bit hazy) and some ropy lines of dialogue (and who knows why McGregor was made to put on that accent, its not like his natural Scots accent is a Rab C. Nesbitt kind of voice), but I found it an enjoyable, well acted intelligent film (if perhaps a wee bit too long)


'Think about the future.'

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Post #: 7
RE: The Ghost - 18/4/2010 11:17:56 AM   

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Joined: 18/4/2010
From: London
I really enjoyed this movie. I disagree with Ian Nathan - I thought The Ghost really gripped viewers from the beginning. I don't think the lack of fast-paced action sequences is a bad thing - the film was constructed well enough that it didn't really need them. Polanski has made some brilliant films, and some disappointing ones, I think The Ghost falls into the former category. Read my full review here


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Post #: 8
RE: The Ghost - 19/4/2010 9:50:44 PM   
Dr Lenera


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Joined: 19/10/2005
The Ghost is one of those movies that is enjoyable and totally absorbing while it lasts, but always seems to be on the verge of becoming even better and never really does.  Much has been made of the fact that the prime minister in the film is based on Tony Blair and there are a few parallels in the movie relating to things Blair may/may not have been up to, but for the most part this is a conspiracy thriller centering on Ewan McGregor's ghost writer who is hired to write the PM's memoirs, aware of the fact that his predeccesor died of drowning....or maybe something else.  It reminded me of some great 70s films of the genre such as The Conversation and The Parallax View.   This  movie opens strong, setting a gloomy, grim atmosphere almost immediately ,but this element then all but disappears for a bit until about half way through where the tension returns and is quite skillfully racked up.  A brief car chase and an escape off a ferry may sound like meagre highlights but because of the build up are actually very exciting, and if the basic plot winds up with revelations that, frankly, may not be worth the elaborate lead up, the film has a simply perfect ending, a death which is shocking, moving and yet entirely off screen.  It's a shame that otherwise, the director just seems to be coasting, but then he is 76 and still shows himself to be in total control of the material.  Ewan Mcgregor gives his best performance in ages as the harassed writer and Pierce Brosnan is a great smarmy PM, not that much like Blair really but bringing in subtly some of his attributes.  With a very effective and also very Bernard Herrmann-like score from Alexander Desplait, this is a solid thriller that is extremely talky but should absorb those out for a bit of intelligent entertainment.  A shame that is just seems like it should have been a lot more. 


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Post #: 9
RE: The Ghost - 22/4/2010 7:07:43 PM   


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Director: Roman Polanski
Screenwriters: Robert Harris, Roman Polanski
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Tom Wilkinson

When a ghost writer (McGregor) is hired to complete the memoirs of former British prime minister Adam Lang (Brosnan), he uncovers secrets that put his own life in jeopardy.

When it comes to the works of Roman Polanski, most individuals will remember Chinatown, a conspiracy thriller he made before leaving America for good for the infamous crime he was accused of. Five years have passed since his last film and now he returns to the subgenre of the conspiracy thriller.

Based on the novel by Enigma author Robert Harris (who has also co-written this adaptation with Polanski), the directorís latest offering enters into the tradition of Hitchcock, in which this epic story is told in confined set-pieces. If you are familiar with the writings of Harris, you will know that like Enigma, The Ghost is a very talky drama in which all is told through performances rather than suspense (not to say that the film hasnít got any thrills).

As with the politics of the film, Harris has said the character of Adam Lang is a fictional representation of Tony Blair, who he once supported but no more. During the course of the ghostís time with the former prime minister, who has been accused of being a war criminal and having other politicians as enemies, the author explores the manís past which seems normal and yet remains a mystery.

There is something really clever going on here and while there are some nice twists and turns, there isnít enough characterisation to fully understand the mind or job of Adam Lang as the story is solely told though the eyes of his ghost. This film is done in a somewhat generic style and yet there is something here to be impressed with.

Polanski is at best a director with a Hitchcockian sensibility as well as a European edge as in the case of Chinatown. There is a simplicity to the way he constructs shots, in which the intensity of the sequences is told through the performers and their faces and that makes him an actorís director.

Ewan McGregor plays the unlikely hero, a man with no name. It is not a role that brings anything new to McGregorís acting ability, but the Scotsman is a charismatic individual that you canít bore of. In the case of former Bond actor Pierce Brosnan, different matter. The most notable film he was really great in was Goldeneye, which was his first outing as 007 and there werenít many others for him to stand out. However, he is really sinister as his charisma is peculiar and heís mad, heís creepy.

As for the leading ladies, Kim Cattrall is trying her best to avoid that horrible role from the horrible Sex and the City as she plays Langís secretary who basically comes and goes. The best performance in the film is from Olivia Williams as Mrs Lang, who is suffering from the troubled politics and yet doesnít become a weak character as Williams just chews the scenery.

This interesting thriller of secrets and politics is a fine return for Polanski, but donít expect it to be up there with his earlier works.

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Post #: 10
POLANSKI'S SWANSONG? - 22/4/2010 8:30:58 PM   


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If this is his last movie - it wouldn't be a bad way to bow out. The plot kept me hooked and there was just enough incident and suggested menace to fill out the running time. Pierce Brosnan's Tony Blair impersonation was amusing - and was that Eli Wallach lurking in that beachside house right out in the arse end of nowhere? A film that will surprise and satisfy in equal measure in a sub Hitchcock kind of way........three and a half stars

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Post #: 11
Wonderful - 1/5/2010 7:53:46 PM   


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"The Ghost" kept me hooked from the very beginning. While it wasn't that suspensful it was hugely intriguing and kept the audience guessing on where the movie was going. All of the actors performances were just wonderful. Ewan McGregor gives a solid performance as the overly curious Ghost Writer of Ex-Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan). Brosnan gives a great performance as Lang (he is very creepy, in a subtle way) and despite what you may have read, does NOT simply impersonate Tony Blair. In fact, this must be the first time in a while I've watched Brosnan and not thought: "...that's James Bond.". The style of this movie is almost a character in itself. Only Polanski could craft such a beautifully cold, dangerous, wet movie. Yet all these add to the film. The scene in which a note is passed through a crowd is one of the best Hitchcock homages ever. This movie truly deserves more respect. Perhaps it will be considered a classic in 15 years...

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Post #: 12
RE: Wonderful - 6/5/2010 4:57:59 PM   

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It seemed only apt that I watch this on election day!
Excellent thriller, 4 stars

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Post #: 13
Engaging, Tense and Thoroughly Enjoyable Mystery Thriller - 4/9/2010 9:49:43 PM   

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Joined: 5/11/2008
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
'The Ghost'(aka The Ghost Writer) is one of those films, for me, that really impresses and I find extremely intriguing and engaging, but often struggle to explain why to others, as, on the surface, it doesn't seem particularly ground breaking or different. And in fact I suppose it isn't, it's just a solid and well structured story that is acted, and directed, very, very well. I think the same can be said of 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' (although I don't The Ghost was quite as good as that one).

It has an intresting and well written story behind it, although having never read the book I'm not sure how much the film deviates from the novel, or if it's been a case of just transferring the story into a screen adaptation. Inevitably, due to running time constraints, a film will generally be forced to lose some parts of the original, but this film certainly has more than enough depth to its characters and plot to provide a fantastic motion picture.

The plot is gripping, and eery right from the off. I think it is slow enough to make sure the viewer never loses their way with what is going on, but at the same time has enough pace to prevent it from getting boring. I'm not a McGregor fan AT ALL, and although this film still doesn't have me convinced over his acting abilities, his bright eyed, naive, theatre-esque style seems to quite suit his role in this movie. I like Brosnan, and he is as reliable as ever, with Olivia Williams putting in an excellent shift, and Tom Wilkinson his ever impressive self.

Wonderful cinematography and location choice, a good soundtrack to accopmany it. A very enjoyable film from a controversial, but still clearly very talented, director.

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Post #: 14
RE: Engaging, Tense and Thoroughly Enjoyable Mystery Th... - 6/9/2010 7:55:21 PM   
evil bill

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Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
When a successful British ghost writer (Ewan McGregor), THE GHOST, agrees to complete the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang(Pierce Brosnan), his agent assures him itís the opportunity of a lifetime. But the project seems doomed from the start ó not least because his predecessor on the project, Langís long-term aide, died in an unfortunate accident.Add to the mix a former British cabinet minister accuses Lang of authorizing the illegal seizure of suspected terrorists and handing them over for torture to the CIA ,IE a war crime.As The Ghost works, he begins to uncover clues suggesting his predecessor may have stumbled on a dark secret linking Lang to the CIA ó and that somehow this information is hidden in the manuscript he left behind. Was Lang in the service of the American intelligence agency while he was prime minister??? The Ghost quickly discovers that the past can be deadly,and that history is decided by whoever stays alive to write it.
While it may not be one of Polanski's finest films,his stylish direction still shines through,with a tense screenplay,full of topical themes and a strong central performance from Ewan McGregor. Released on DVD and Blu Ray just as Ex Prime minster Blair's book hit's the shelves,i wounder who timed this release???This atmospheric and suspenseful political thriller based ??? on recent world events in an imaginary scenario that is not so fanciful as some might think.It's a story of deceit and betrayal on every level,and cut's very close to the bone about what has already happened in real life on this side of the pond.Polanski does an excellent job of skillful storytelling evoking an increasing sense of paranoia and danger,while also poking fun at politics.There's a real excellent mix of intrigue, action,drama,and some dark comedy,all in one of this directors best movie's in a while,and a joy to watch as it holds you in it's grasp from start to finish.It's was a pleasure to see an intelligent thriller that is as extremely well acted as this,by all the cast,includeing the supporting cast.In fact this maybe Pierce Brosnan,Ewan McGregor and Olivia Williams( British Prime Minister's caustic wife)best roles ever,that may never be topped,they are simply outstanding in every way.It's up there with Shutter Island as one of the best thrillers of this year.9/10


"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

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Slow And Hardly Exciting. - 12/9/2010 10:03:51 AM   
joanna likes films


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From: Bexhill
I was looking forward to seeing The Ghost only to be bitterly disappointed that this was a slow, boring and hardly exicting film. Sure the pefomances from Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan and Olivia Williams were good enough but it's not enough to save a dud of a movie. While others may enjoy it, I found it to be a poor and terrible viewing on a Saturday night.

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Slow And Hardly Exciting. - 12/9/2010 10:03:51 AM   
joanna likes films


Posts: 972
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I was looking forward to seeing The Ghost only to be bitterly disappointed that this was a slow, boring and hardly exicting film. Sure the pefomances from Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan and Olivia Williams were good enough but it's not enough to save a dud of a movie. While others may enjoy it, I found it to be a poor and terrible viewing on a Saturday night.

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Post #: 17
RE: Slow And Hardly Exciting. - 24/10/2010 12:17:08 AM   

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Watched this earlier tonight. It's a shame that Polanksi's private life overshadowed this film because it really is a cracking, slow-burning mystery. Whilst I'd agree with the Empire review that 'nothing feels risky', there is a lot to this film that boosts it above the average Hollywood whodunnit.

The rather lovely Olivia Black is in my mind the real star of the show, holding her own alongside Brosnan and McGregor.

Snail paced, but it rewards patience with a steady build.

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- 3/11/2010 11:46:52 AM   


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Post #: 19
The Ghost - 8/2/2012 8:39:21 PM   
Fluke Skywalker

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From: the dark side of the sun
Having come into this reading no reviews and having no preconceptions I felt this film was absolutely superb - the island setting was really unsettling with the windswept overclouded beaches providing a great backdrop for the unfolding drama.

I didn't really buy Ewan McGregor's London accent but the rest of the cast were excellent especially Olivia Williams as Pierce Brosnan's calculating wife with Kim Cattrall offering up a suprisingly understated turn as his aide.

It really felt like Cold War thriller set in a modern backdrop to me and worked perfectly in terms of building the tension and I thought some of the revelations were pretty shattering


The twist was fantastic, initially you are led to believe that the shocking truth is that a British PM had been recruited by the CIA but ultimately you find it's Brosnan's wife. Quality stuff as far as I was concerned.  I don't know why McGregor's character decided to pass her the note at the end though - he effectively signed his own death warrant. Surely he should have gone straight to Richard Rycart with the information?


All in all a great thriller - I'd give it 4 stars easily.

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Post #: 20
The Ghost Review - 4/3/2012 11:40:58 PM   
the film man


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While it may lack the revelatory punch of Polanski's finest films, The Ghost benefits from stylish direction, a tense screenplay, and a strong central performance from Ewan McGregor.

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