Academy Award winning director and international criminal Roman Polanski will likely have a higher interest in his new film as it hits DVD than its initial theatrical run. The news media certainly gave lots of coverage to Polanski who is now only safe in a handful of countries and can never return to the US. The Ghost Writer is Polanski’s first major film since his 2005 flop Oliver Twist. He is still very well regarded in the cinematic community but will for the rest of his life be very limited in how and where he can make films. This dramatic suspense film is interesting and very brooding, but never really captures the viewer’s imagination, and both the direction and McGregor’s stale performance appear at fault.

      A ghostwriter is someone who is paid to write for another person without getting any credit for their work. Adam Lang (Brosnan) a controversial political figure has hired a new ghostwriter (McGregor) after his last one turned up face down in the river. As accusations swirl around the death and Lang’s own political misdoings the new ghost finds it increasingly difficult to wade through the boring preexisting text for the memoirs. There are lots of secrets and two women Lang seems to be involved with, not to mention his under the table dealings and snarky grin every time he appears in front of the camera. If the new ghost can actually complete the writings he will have one heck of a story to tell.

      The Ghost Writer is a film that attempts to use the investigative part of the story as the meat and discard more of the typical violent or action sequences. Polanski who has been a hit or miss director for the last couple of decades presents the mood and ambience of the story very well. Brosnan (Mamma Mia, Remember Me) yet again steps away from his typical character stereotype. McGregor (Moulin Rouge, The Men Who Stare at Goats) as involved of an actor as he is just doesn’t have the leading star power to keep his character and the bulk of the movie interesting. As the script weaves in and out of controversy and scandal, the closer it gets to the truth the less interesting it becomes.

      For me the biggest problem was McGregor who never really brings his character to full light. Polanski who directed Adrian Brody to an Oscar for The Piano doesn’t inspire the same authenticity for this role. It isn’t a bad film just a slow onion being peeled back a layer at a time. The investigative part of the story reminds me of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but that film used a wild variety of elements to keep the viewer interested and guessing what comes next. Polanski’s tired routine just leaves the viewer half awake.

      Final Thought – A misguided dreary thriller.

Grade C+

By: Dustin Chase W.

Editor: Jennifer Gih