- 21 Apr 10
The Ghost reminds us that nobody can do atmosphere and suspense quite like Roman Polanski.
On an unnamed island retreat off America’s Eastern seaboard, former British Prime Minister and smiling tabula rasa Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) – think Tony Blair ersatz - has retreated to his vacation home there to complete his memoirs. Unfortunately, they’re rubbish and the personal assistant who was helping him with the project has died in odd circumstances. Ghost writer Ewan McGregor is brought in to finish the job and soon realises that something is amiss. The press are already descending as news breaks of the ex-PM’s involvement in extraordinary rendition but something far more sinister is going on behind the scenes.
Based on a cheeky novel by Robert Harris (who also wrote the screenplay), The Ghost is a heap of fun as parallel histories go. Can Cherie Blair really be as calculating as Olivia Williams’ Ruth Lang? Do Lang’s interesting arrangements with his assistant (Kim Cattrall) have any corresponding points in reality?
Perhaps not, but isn’t it fun to make believe? Naughty, naughty, very naughty as we used to say in the trashier parts of the nineties.
Though clearly hindered by budgetary constraints and director’s custodial circumstances, The Ghost reminds us that nobody can do atmosphere and suspense quite like Roman Polanski. Never mind the headlines and the unsettling history, the man is a cinematic treasure.
It helps that his leading ladies – Ms. Cattrall and Ms. Williams – put in some of the best work of their respective careers.