The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Ghost catches political interest

By Joshua Knopp/reporter

The Ghost Writer is one of those films that doesn’t seem to be as good as it really is.

The movie follows its main character, known only as The Ghost (Ewan McGregor), as he takes a quarter-million-dollar job to ghostwrite the memoirs of former Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan). The previous ghostwriter, Lang’s longtime personal aide, is found dead at the start of the film. The Ghost initially goes to his work quietly but soon begins to uncover secrets that bring him to fear a similar fate awaits him.

The script, acting and directing are all brilliant. A cheeky English humor follows the dialogue throughout the film. The audience is immersed in a torrent of words and meanings that could or could not match up. Almost every sentence is either heartfelt or barely covering a clever insult.

This verbal play combines with the excellent acting, particularly the on-screen dynamic between McGregor and Olivia Williams, to create scenes of dialogue that make the audience pay attention to many layers in the same conversation. The dynamic is difficult to describe but, at the same time, wholly remarkable.

While the dialogue is a credit to director Roman Polanski’s filmmaking skills, it is more a credit to the actors and writers. The suspenseful tone of the film, however, is all Polanski. His trademark has become paranoia movies, where main characters descend into madness because of their own insecurities and fears. While this movie doesn’t follow through to the same end result, it does create a tone of paranoia throughout.

This is remarkable because it is combined with everyday objects. A cell phone vibrating happily on a table becomes as gothic and shocking as a landline ringing after a peal of thunder.

In addition to the film’s tense moods and funny moments, it also bears political implications. Based on Robert Harris’ best seller The Ghost, the movie is obviously a reference to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Both Lang and Blair are accused of war crimes involved in America’s War on Terror, and both have their political alienation based in their seeming to care more for the States’ interests than Britain’s. While neither film nor book are based in historical fact about Blair, they both give the audience something to think about in terms of Britain’s administration.

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