The screenplay is a collaboration between Harris and Polanski, and is well constructed. Engulfing McGregor's character with controversy on all sides, it's early sequences are slow but purposeful. We are revealed to the protagonist's egoism and confidence in his abilities as a writer, but also his naivety in accepting such a troubled project. The first conversations between him and Lang work well to establish a professional bond and an unspoken trust between the men. While it seems that Lang is certainly hiding the truth behind his accusations, the outspokenness of his wife, her control over her husband and her possible role in his crimes is also intriguing. Throughout the second half of the film the pace and tension increases and it becomes a very absorbing thriller with some surprising twists. The chilling conclusion is a scathing assessment of political scandal, with all of the truths just blowing away to be forever forgotten.
McGregor is well cast in the title role. His performance is nothing spectacular but he successfully carries the narrative and is a likable protagonist. Brosnan, in an attempt to escape his image as 007, is also solid in a vulnerable role. I liked Olivia Williams' performance. I thought her maliciousness and deceitfulness were quite convincing. The films main weakness is Kim Cattrall, who i thought was awful. Her sultry, slutty qualities that are important to her character in Sex and the City continued to crack through her attempts to play a serious, professional woman. The Ghost Writer has all the conventions of a typical thriller, but blessed with the skilled wand of a man who really knows how to direct a thriller. It's far from chilling, but it is consistently suspenseful and intriguing. Alexandre Desplat's odd score is a mixture of ominous suspense-laden orchestral pieces with an undercurrent of electronic pop that i thought worked quite well. The shooting locations were also a character in themselves. The mansion, which in most cases appears as a ghostly, empty cell, is located on an island to signify McGregor's isolation amongst his shady employers. The climate was considerably overcast, often extremely windy and generally icy throughout the film complementing the scandals that drive the film. Again, this is one of the better releases so far in 2010 and while I don't see it challenging in the Oscar race this year, I think it is worth checking out.
My Rating: 4 Stars