What it’s about
When a successful ghostwriter agrees to finish the memoirs of a former prime minister after the previous writer suspiciously dies, his publisher assures him it’s the chance of a lifetime. Instead, he begins to uncover evidence that suggests his late predecessor knew a dark secret and may have been murdered to prevent it from coming to light.
This feels a very Roman Polanski -type film, which is inevitable as he directed it, but at the same time it is a very hit and miss sort of film. Ewan McGregor puts in a solid performance as the lead, the other big star name Pierce Brosnan also puts in a solid albeit reality fleeting performance.
And it is indisputable that there is much suspense and mystery in this film, also you definitely get the feeling that there is something sinister going on, and that McGregor’s character has well and truly found himself in the middle of it.
At the same time it is hard to avoid the fact that this feels like a bit of a dig at Tony Blair’s premiership and his close relationship with the US. In fact my first thought upon watching it was that this is a conspiracy film about Tony Blair. It is not but the parallels in the accusations directed at Pierce Brosnan’s Prime Minister and Tony Blair over his relationship with the US is pretty much impossible to miss.
But at the same time this is used to good effect with McGregor’s ghost writer coming to the conclusion that Adam Lang is not who he appears to be, and in fact may have some very troubling links to the CIA. This is of course where we step away from the parallels to Tony Blair and enter into the realms of fantasy, and it is when the film steps away from these apparent Tony Blair parallels that it really comes to life.
Obviously I won’t give away any spoilers but this is a very well done thriller, with McGregor’s character increasingly feeling in grave jeopardy as the film progresses.
The only real letdown is the ending, there is a brilliant twist which is a real aha moment, but that twist in a way is spoilt by what comes after. A little spoiler alert here so be warned, but McGregor’s character ends up getting killed but the lead up to how he gets killed and the way he gets killed just kind of feels unbefitting of how good the story was to this point.
It is not the fact that he dies that is the problem it is the way it happens, the filmmaking is clever but just feels totally illogical for the character. Really you just can’t help but be left feeling that the film deserved a better put together ending, or rather it feels like that the writers thought okay now we’ve revealed the big twist let’s just end things quick.
But I take nothing away from this film, it is an entertaining thriller and as the film progresses you really do feel that McGregor’s character is increasingly in grave jeopardy. For that reason all in all from me it gets a thumbs up.
Director: Roman Polanski
Writer: Robert Harris, Roman Polanski
Genre: thriller, drama, mystery
Runtime: 130 minutes