Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Ghost Writer

As I'll be seeing Ewan McGregor's latest and greatest film 'The Beginners' tomorrow for my second time, I decided to revisit another of his recent films that reminded me what a great actor he is when he's in the right role.  This is a tremendous suspense film that was released early in 2010, but because it came out so early in the year it was unjustly snubbed at both the Academy Awards and by my own Best of 2010 list.  (Shame on me.)  I plan to rectify the latter oversight when I re-issue my list in the near future.  It's clearly deserving.

Ewan McGregor plays a writer who reluctantly accepts the lucrative job of ghost writing the autobiography of the former British Prime Minister, played by the great Pierce Brosnan.  (And the fact that Brosnan has never received an Academy Award nomination is a mystery I'll never understand.)  But the job is complicated as Brosnan's character is being investigated for war crimes based on allegations of aiding the U.S. with torture in the investigation of terrorism suspects.

This atmospheric suspense film has a superb cast (except for Kim Cattrall who's conspicuously bad with an atrocious British accent, but fortunately not in it enough to ruin the film), an intricate story, and a wonderful moody ambiance helped by a great score by Alexandre Desplat.  And yet it's not without a clever wit at just the right times.  Most films that have been referred to as Hitchcockian don't deserve the comparison, but it's more than fair for this one.  I strongly believe Mr. Hitchcock would have enjoyed this one.  Director Roman Polanski, arguably more famous for his scandals than his films, is a true filmmaking genius and although he is recognized as such by other filmmakers, his personal issues may have also affected this film from being nominated by the Academy.  (Although he did win the Academy Award for 'The Pianist' in 2003, so perhaps not.)  Regardless, if you missed it you should see it.  And if you've already seen it you should see it again.  It was even better the second time around.

Grade: A

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