Illustration titled "Hunting Leopard" by Samuel Hewitt from A companion to Mr. Bullock's London Museum and Pantherion, 1812
Roman Polanski's new political thriller The Ghost Writer reminds me quite a bit of Michael Clayton - something about the wintry tones, low-simmering tension, and static but affecting performances, I guess. Oh, and Tom Wilkinson pretending to be an American. And, even though it's not totally successful as a thriller, it's still an interesting movie. The plot is not the movie's best aspect - Ewan McGregor, a writer, takes on the assignment of finishing the memoirs of former British PM Pierce Brosnan after the previous writer dies under mysterious circumstances. The ghost writer's gradual unraveling of his predecessor's death is telegraphed at several points before coming to a conclusion that isn't 100% satisfactory.
Even though story isn't anything special, the performances in The Ghost Writer make the most of the material. Except for Kim Cattrall - she's terrible and can't do a British accent, but you probably could have guessed that. Brosnan and Olivia Williams are quite good, and McGregor does a really good job with a character who is really just an empty suit. The visuals in the movie are pretty nice as well, as long as you can forget that Polanski is doing his shooting-in-Europe-and-pretending-its-America routine.
One aspect of The Ghost Writer that makes it confusing is the whole Polanski-should-be-in-jail-for-pedophilia angle. And that's harder to ignore lately with his legal issues being in the news. I've seen the documentary on the case that's supposed to make you take his side, but he still creeps me out. The various plot-holes in the underwhelming story make me think that I'm going to like The Ghost Writer less and less if I think about it, but I enjoyed it while I was watching it, and it was the best thing in the local theaters this weekend. So that makes this a kind-of rave review, right?
"When I Write the Book" by Rockpile