Sunday, March 21, 2010

'Ghost Writer' Fully Adult, Fully Entertaining

"Ghost Writer" is an adult movie that makes you appreciate being an adult. It is complex, challenging, sophisticated and thoroughly enjoyable. Ewan McGregor, as a man hired to ghost write an antobiography for a disgraced former prime minister of England, is superb in the title role and he spends so much time on screen--in virtually every scene--that you wonder how he catches his breath.

McGregor gets solid support from Pierce Brosnan (as the ex-PM), Kim Cattrall (as the PM's mistress), Olivia Williams (the active PM's wife, who finds time for a little activity of her own) and Tom Wilkinson as a shadowy government spook.

Roman Polanski's movie revolves around McGregor's efforts to write the book, while running into some mysterious information about his predecessor's death. The PM is obviously loosely based--and this is very loosely based--on Tony Blair during the Bush Administration (with all that Chaney intrigue and the accusation that Blair was a Bush dupe). A Condoleezza Rice figure makes a brief--and somewhat amusing--appearance (you're not hiding anything from us, boys).

It is a serious movie, interrupted occasionally by some truly funny dialogue. Of course, the CIA the bad guy and my wife observed that it has been used in that role for so long that she's a little tired of hating the CIA and maybe a new bad guy would work better. Anyhow, that's what we got and I didn't have a problem with it. A Bush CIA working to advance a totalitarian regime is believable to me.

I liked the movie, especially a twisty end that bumps and grinds to an almost totally unexpected finish. (Let me add one little caveat to the enjoyment profile here: If you have trouble with the British version of our shared language (or the inevitable mumbling in some of these productions), you might want to take a translator. I wish to goodness the makers of these movies would understand that some of us don't speak fluent Brit and we need subtitles. This movie needs subtitles.)

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