The Ghost Writer
The Ghost Writer (2010)
Dir. Roman Polanski
Let’s get this out of the way, so we can move on; there’s no way you can distance the controversy from the film. Nor should you. Polanski seems to craft this thriller with a poison tip aimed at the U.S. (not to mention Britain of course), but does so with pure wit and gusto, so as to seemingly one-up any of his detractors. His jabs at U.S. and Britain politics are not exactly subtle, but they attain a sort of childish exuberance, an ear-to-ear grin that can only be seen as a prankster’s revenge. This is not to mention the set-piece involving Pierce Brosnan’s shamed Prime Minister Lang, one where he is exiled in an ultra-modern mansion on neutral soil. Yeah, it’s a real stretch to make that correlation.
However, Polanski was always destined to craft thrillers, and he hasn’t made a film this deliriously entertaining since The Ninth Gate. He infuses the classicism that define his contemporary films with some of the more diabolical tendencies of his 70s films, always letting humor mix evenly with the slow-building tension his films are renowned for. This is not to say that The Ghost Writer is of the same ilk as Repulsion or even The Tenant, but it’s a delight to see his devious side back a bit, one that seems all the more fitting given the man’s resurgence in the world press. Plus, he makes both Kim Cattrall and Jim (I’m sorry… “James”) Belushi watchable. Kudos, Roman. Kudos.