A movie writers should watch
Dot Ramos Balasbas-Gancayco (The Philippine Star) - August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Film review: The Ghost Writer

 MANILA, Philippines - Early on in my life, as an elected teenaged barangay official, I already learned that politicians and public relations (PR) specialists are two professions whose worlds are very closely linked. Politicians need to maintain a good public image all the time. The PR practitioner, (who is usually a very good writer), provides this good public image. The politician basks in the limelight; the PR man, on the other hand, maintains a low profile. The PR specialist packages the politician in a good light, such as writing his speeches and arranging his press conferences. With the PR consultant’s help, the public gets to know about his admirable traits and wonderful deeds, maintaining his positive standing in the community. The PR specialist works silently with media people. This is the story of a British politician and his ghost writer.

Adam Lang, (performed outstandingly by Pierce Brosnan), a former British prime minister, (and a Tony Blair look-alike) retires in the US with his intelligent and very sad wife, Ruth Lang (who obviously is meant to be Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie Blair), and staff headed by his executive assistant, and mistress, Amelia Bly (Kim Cattral). Brosnan has written his memoirs and the memoirs are ready to be made into a book. A ghostwriter is hired but unfortunately is found dead by the beach. Brosnan hires a second ghost writer (the ever-sexy actor Ewan McGregor) with an offer of a whopping amount of money to finish the work. McGregor is asked to work in Brosnan’s secluded villa in Martha’s vineyard where the manuscript is, for inexplicable reasons, tightly kept in a safe.

Brosnan is accused by a former British cabinet member of involvement in the kidnapping and torture of terrorists (a war crime) allegedly in collusion with the US Defending himself, the former prime minister has to appear in media to explain his side. While left alone in the villa, McGregor uncovers some photographs hidden by the dead former ghostwriter. One photograph catches his curiosity and puts McGregor into some kind of investigation. He later concludes that the mysterious death of the initial ghostwriter was not by accident or suicide as was initially claimed but was to stop him from divulging secrets he unearthed from his own investigation. McGregor senses that his life is in danger but before anyone could hurt him, Brosnan is shot dead. The ghost writer finally gets to finish the memoirs and the book gets launched. It is during the book launching ceremony that McGregor ties the loose ends together.

The Ghost Writer is a movie where the viewer should pay attention to every detail from the beginning. The first part of the movie could be boring for some, but from the time McGregor sees the hidden pictures, it becomes riveting and suspenseful. McGregor’s acting was superb in a very understated and controlled way. With his earnest efforts at finding out the truth, you can play a detective with him. Brosnan, Kim Cattral and Williams are tried and tested actors who provide excellent acting support for the development of the story.

The anti-American slant of the movie is quite clear with the references on Iraq, the CIA and even the US President. “Why did he get mixed up with that damned fool in the White House” obviously meant President George Bush. The continuing exile of director Roman Polanski (the celebrated director of such unforgettable movies as Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown and The Pianist and who is a co-writer for this movie) for the crime of having sex with a 13-year-old girl way back in 1997 in the US can be viewed as the explanation for this. Of all Polanski movies I have seen though, this, I could say, is his best. A political thriller you would think as very real, it could also be the most brilliant movie for the year 2010.

Ghost Writer is highly-recommended to all writers. The movie will make you take a second look at ghost writing for somebody else’s memoirs.

(E-mail me at celebrationsdot@yahoo.com or text 0927-5000833.)

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